Stephen Sizer
Rev Stephen Sizer said the article 'raised many questions' about the 9/11 attacksRev Stephen Sizer

The Church of England has launched an investigation into a vicar who appeared to blame the 9/11 terror attacks on Israel.

Rev Stephen Sizer, pastor of Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey, posted an article on Facebook entitled "9/11 Israel did it" from the conspiracy website Wikispook, while asking: "Is this anti-Semitic? It raises so many questions."

The Diocese of Guildford, where Sizer practises, said it is taking "immediate steps" to investigate the incident.

The Church of England added it feels "deep sorrow and shame" that Sizer posted the article in the same week as the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

A spokesperson added: "Our attention has been drawn to comments by the Rev Stephen Sizer made earlier today on social media. In those comments Rev Sizer linked to an article entitled '9/11 Israel did it'.

"These comments would rightly be seen as unacceptable whenever they were posted. It is a matter of deep sorrow and shame that they have been posted in this week of all weeks.

"The Diocese of Guildford, where the Rev Sizer is licensed, is taking immediate steps to investigate. The diocese is aware of the seriousness of the matter and are also in touch with the Board of Deputies of British Jews."

Sizer has since removed the article, but has not yet formally apologised for asking the question regarding Israel.

He told the Jewish News: "I would welcome articles you can recommend refuting the allegations."

He added: "Encouraging research and debate on all aspects of [9/11] is not anti-Semitic.

"Suppressing discussion on such grounds will fuel suspicion, not remove it."

Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews added: "Posting, and giving approval to, an article which in effect accuses Jews of responsibility for the 9/11 atrocity is unquestionably anti-Semitic, just as it is beyond absurd."

Sizer has had a history of making comments seen as anti-Semitic by Jewish groups, including posts on his personal blog that concern Israel and Palestine.