BBC Censors Munich Murderer’s Name

The Munich massacre was carried out by 18-year-old Ali Sonboly. While the murder spree had no apparent connection to Muslim ideology, the BBC didn’t take any chances. As Raheem Kassam of Breitbart News documents, the BBC doggedly referred to the killer as “David Sonboly,” David being his middle name:

The BBC has unilaterally chosen not to report the Munich attacker’s full name, in what appears to be an attempt to scrub any Muslim or Islamic heritage link to its coverage of the incident. …

At 3pm UK time on Saturday, the BBC made reference to the killer as Ali Sonboly. Within one hour however, the BBC had changed its references to the now dead culprit to “David Sonboly”. At 6:31pm, the news bulletin on the BBC News Channel referred to him as “David Sonboly” though at 6:32pm their correspondent in Germany referred to him as “David Ali Sonboly”.

The BBC’s online coverage says, at the time of publication [emphasis added]:

…His name has not been officially released but he is being named locally as David Sonboly.

Kassam reached out the BBC with a series of questions:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Could the BBC please explain the decision to only refer to Munich killer Ali David Sonboly as “David Sonboly”?

This is a pattern across online, broadcast, and social media and therefore leads me to believe this decision was taken at a very high level.

Could you please let me know who took this decision and when, and why?

I will be publishing on this shortly.

Kind regards,

Raheem Kassam
Editor in Chief
Breitbart London

The BBC did not respond to Kassam’s inquiry, but it quietly changed its coverage. Without explanation, it began referring to Sonboly as “Ali David Sonboly” online, although on-air he remained “David Sonboly.”

We know from statements made by Sonboly’s classmates that they knew him as “Ali Sonboly.”

The post read: “I know this f****** guy, his name is ali sonboly. he was in my class back than (sic). we always mobbed him in school. and he always told us that he would kill us.”


Haupbuam said Sonboly had few friends at school and never attempted to mix.

“I know his brother very well but we never went around with Ali. He was just not interested.

So there is no reason to think that the BBC was trying to refer to Ali Sonboly by the name by which he was generally known. Rather, it seems obvious that the network was trying to de-Islamize him by calling him “David.” This is a relatively minor, but still revealing, example of the ways in which the liberal media have their thumbs on the scale every day, trying to make sure that you don’t get the wrong idea.