UK rabbi-politician sparks outrage after burning Christian Bible

A mayoral candidate under UKIP who is at the same time an Orthodox Jewish rabbi has sparked anger after he posted photos on social media of a Christian Bible that he burned.

(REUTERS /Edgeurged)Bible, 14 Dec 2008.

On Sunday, UK Independence Party mayoral candidate Shneur Odze got angry after finding a Christian Bible in his synagogue during the Jewish Passover. The rabbi believed that a religious sect had placed it there, so he went out on the street and set it on fire, the Daily Mail details.

"Grateful to whoever put a missionary bible amongst our synagogue's books," said Odze on Twitter. "Was wondering what I'd burn my Chametz [food forbidden at Passover] with."

Odze has since taken down the photos of the burning Bible and has apologized for what he did. He explained that his actions only followed the Orthodox tradition because the item purported to be a Jewish bible but was actually from "an extreme proselytising Christian sect of former Jews trying to convert practising Jews to a belief in Christ as the prophesied Messiah."

In addition, Odze said giving the book away would only "compound the fraud." Throwing it, on the other hand, would be disrespectful because it was, after all, a religious tract. However, he admitted that posting the pictures on social media was wrong.

In February 2014, Odze made headlines after refusing to shake women's hands while he was still a candidate for the European Parliament. He told UKIP members that his religious beliefs prohibit him from making any physical contact with other women except for his wife, The Times of London relays.

Despite his explanation, some party activists took offense at Odze's refusal to shake women's hands, saying it will only turn away half of the electorate. However, senior party officials shot down the activists' criticism, calling them rude for not respecting the rabbi's religious beliefs.