By Felicity Morse
A mocked up video released by the English Defence League which inaccurately shows Stephen Hawking supporting their right wing cause has been criticised as “inappropriate and incredibly disrespectful” by the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
The footage, posted on the official EDL Bournemouth’s Facebook Page and shared across several other divisions, takes advantage of Hawking‘s characteristic synthesised voice to put out a bogus message.
The world-renowned cosmologist and author suffers from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a type of Motor Neurone Disease, and uses a computer that detects cheek movement to type out what he wants to say, before it is sent to a voice synthesizer.
The video produced by the EDL appears to show the physicist saying: “In England politicians are lying, useless c**ts. Thankfully groups like the EDL are helping the English media wake up to the threat posed by the Islamification of England. ”
The video goes on to rally against Muslims, calling for no mosques and no Muslim schools in the UK.
The University of Cambridge did not want to comment on the video, but confirmed it was bogus.
Sally Light, chief executive of the Motor Neurone Disease Association commented on the video, telling the Huffington Post UK: “It is inappropriate and incredibly disrespectful to people living with motor neurone disease (MND).
“Losing your ability to speak is frequently one of the symptoms of what is a terrible and often a rapidly progressive disease; half of the people diagnosed with MND die within 14 months of diagnosis.
“Communication aids provide people who have lost their own speech due to MND with a vital way of expressing themselves as they become trapped in a failing body.”
The video has also come under fire on Twitter with many criticising the EDL and calling for its removal.
Stephen Hawking was also subject to vile abuse targeting his disability after it was announced he was planning to boycott a conference in Israel, hosted by the country’s president Shimon Peres.
The move outraged organisers of the conference and Israeli academics, but delighted Palestinian human rights campaigners.
Some of the ugliest responses to the boycott came on social media, with several accusing Hawking’s singling out of Israel for boycott as “anti-Semitism” and making distasteful comments about his disability.
Hawking’s condition worsened recently, causing him to struggle to communicate. The 71-year-old was diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 21. He is an exceptional case, having survived for more than 40 years, despite doctors giving him just two years to live when first diagnosed.