The British media plays a pivotal role in our society, informing the masses, protecting public interest against malpractice, creating public awareness and creating and shaping public opinion. It is for these reasons that the need for facts and accuracy weigh heavy on journalists who need to ensure they carry out thorough research and present facts accurately.
It is a sad reality that there are many instances where stories aren’t always accurate or represented fairly, and there is a lot of negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims in the British media. A free media is vital, but for people to retain trust and confidence in the media, they must respect and adhere to reporting objectively, fairly and accurately. For Muslims, negative portrayal directly feeds into the growing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred we so often hear about. Misrepresentation of Muslims and Islam in the media therefore has real security costs for citizens of our country.
The Muslim Council of Britain has been challenging the media and taking them to account for misrepresentations of Muslims and Islam. Below is a collection of successful challenges that we have made.
In an article on hijab and female dress, the BBC inaccurately wrote “One of the main pillars of the religion of Islam is female modesty”. After Miqdaad Versi, Assistant Secretary general of the MCB contacted the BBC to clarify that female modesty is not actually a pillar of Islam, they acknowledged the mistake in an email response and corrected the … Read More
The Mail on Sunday updated a sensationalist article that claimed Mr Arif Qawi, Chair of Governors at St Stephens school in Newham, resigned “because staff were frightened to come into school” due to the uproar following their hijab ban. After Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, Miqdaad Versi complained to the paper, they have now updated their article following revelations … Read More
In July 2017, a number of British tabloids, namely, the Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mirror published articles claiming Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku was unable to pick up a Man of the Match award on the basis he was a “devout Muslim” and therefore “unable to pose with alcoholic gifts”. He is in fact, a devout Christian, … Read More
On 28 June 2017, the BBC reported on Muslim school girls being racially abused on a trip to visit Holocaust Memorials in Eastern Poland, and included an inflammatory statement where they wrote ‘the Holocaust is a sensitive topic for Muslims…’. After this was challenged, the BBC removed the inflammatory claim. Read More
After the Finsbury Park Terror Attack, the Mail Online appeared to victim blame Finsbury Park Mosque (2 minutes away from the terror attack outside Muslim Welfare House) linking it to Abu Hamza, an ex hate cleric from 10 years ago who was banned from the Mosque. The headline was on the front page of the Mail Online website initially and … Read More
On 30th January 2017, on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme brought on extremist conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney without providing the audience information about his background, breaching BBC Editorial Guideline 4.4.14. After a complaint was sent by the MCB Assistant Secretary General, Miqdaad Versi, the BBC acknowledged its error on 12th June 2017, although there was no apology or correction with … Read More
In an article attacking Gary Linekar in October 2016, Trevor Kavanagh wrote a piece in the Sun newspaper falsely claiming that ‘2 in 3 migrants are lying about their age’. After Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, Miqdaad Versi, complained to IPSO, the complaint was upheld, and the Sun had to correct Kavanagh’s words and publish a correction online. See … Read More
After the Express published an inaccurate article about ISIS propaganda being published in Spain to ‘influence radicals in the country’, the Sun also published a piece on this inaccurate piece of news. Miqdaad Versi, raised this up with the papers, and the Sun later retracted its article, thought the Express is still yet to take any action.
On 20 December 2016, the Mail Online published a misleading headline with an unproven story about navity scenes apparently ‘being banned’ in case it ‘offends 1 in 4 Muslims’ living in a Belgian town. However, according to fact checkers, Snopes, they found no evidence that this was the case. After this was raised with IPSO, it was ruled that it … Read More
In December 2016, the Daily Star falsely slurred Muslims against a Policy Exchange poll which misrepresented facts. The headline read, ‘Almost half Brit Muslims want Sharia Law and Wouldnt report relative in ISIS: shock study’. After a complaint by Miqdaad Versi, Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, the Daily Star amended the inaccurate headline online and issued a detailed correction … Read More
On 30th January 2017, whilst reporting on at attack at a Mosque in Quebec, the Sun newspaper inaccurately focussed on the gunman shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’, a phrase used by millions of Muslims across the world every day during prayers, and called it an ‘Islamist phrase’. The phrase used was in fact unverified and after a discussion with Assistant Secretary General … Read More
On 9th November 2016, in an article headline, the Times slurred a Muslim school by calling it ‘Islamist’ without any justification. After this was raised with The Times, they corrected the inaccurate headline online, and published a correction in print with an apology on Monday 16th January 2017 (pg 28).
On 11th January 2017, The Sun published an article falsely claiming a terror attack by a gunman shouting Allahu Akbar in a Spanish Supermarket, with the headline, ‘SUPERMARKET TERROR Gunman ‘screaming Allahu Akbar’ opens fire in Spanish supermarket while ‘carrying bag filled with petrol and gunpowder’’. In actual fact, the robbery was by a man called Stefan, reported to be … Read More
On 20th December 2016, Malia Bouattia, NUS President, was vindicated after the Daily Mail was forced to apologise in a huge correction for 4 seperate errors where they slurred the NUS President. The MCB complained to the daily Mail, and the corrections following the complaint can be seen below.
On 19th November 2016, the Sun was forced to retract its bogus claim that fasting in Ramadan was the reason for a train crash after the Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, Miqdaad Versi, complained to Ipso. The ruling can be found here.
On 4 December 2016, the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday published a bogus and sensationalist headline about ‘Isolated British Muslims and their perception of UK’. After this was challenged by the Muslim Council of Britain’s Assistant Secretary General, Miqdaad Versi, both papers corrected their headlines and articles. The Sunday Times published a correction in Print on 1st January 2017. … Read More
On 11th December 2016, the Sun on Sunday mixed up two black people in an article where they wrote about an ‘Isis supporting’ acolyte of Anjem Choudry, Abdul Haqq Small and included a picture of Dr Abdul Haqq Baker, a respected counter radicalisation activist, speaker and author. After a complaint by the MCB, the Sun published an apology about the … Read More
On 2nd December 2016, the Express published an article with an outrageous and wholly inaccurate headline after Hindu leaders were outraged by the revelation that the new£5 note contains Tallow. The Express, though it doesn’t refer to Muslims in the article, published a sensationalist headline, ‘New £5 notes could be BANNED by religious groups as Bank CAN’T promise they’re Halal’. … Read More
On 22nd December 2016, after a complaint by the Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, Miqdaad Versi, on the inaccuracy of the headline, the Express completely retracted its article after finding no way of amending the fundamentally flawed piece on the Casey Review. See also, Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday, as well as The Sun, making corrections after similar … Read More
On 4th December 2016, the Sun published an article following the Casey Review on Integration where it inaccurately wrote as a headline, ‘British Muslims are so cut-off from society they think 75 per cent of the UK is Islamic, report reveals’. Where in fact, the report was talking about only one school whose reference was to the ‘Asian’ population, and … Read More
On 2nd December 2016, the ITN published an article based on the findings of small fry think tank, Policy Exchange, which misinterpreted findings of a poll it had commissioned in order to suit their own narrative. The MCB took ITN to account for their article, which they since have taken down after the true facts were presented to them.
On 11th December 2016, the LBC had tweeted a picture of ordinary Muslims praying and linked it to a programme about an extremist featuring on a Muslim reality show. When questioned on Twitter by Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, Miqdaad Versi, the LBC deleted their tweet. No Longer Exists..
On 18th November 2016, the Express had published a headline where they falsely insinuated that a Top British official had ‘slammed’ at some Muslim Nations for signing up to a coalition against ISIS. The original headline read, ‘Anger as less than A THIRD of Muslim nations sign up to coalition against ISIS’. There was in fact no ‘anger’ at Muslim … Read More
On 9th November 2016, The Times newspaper published an article with a headline, ‘Islamist school can segregate boys and girls’ because of a book that was found in the school library. After a complaint was sent by the MCB, the Times changed their headline to: ‘Islamic school can segregate boys and girls’, after realising that a book in library does … Read More
On 25th May 2016, both the Daily Mail and The Sun had published an article with a headline linking an honour killing with Islam. The Daily Mail’s title read, ‘Mother of four stabbed to death while her family were at a funeral ‘may have been murdered in Islamic honour killing”, whilst the Sun similarly published a headline ‘Mum-of-four butchered while … Read More
On 22 November 2015, the Daily Star Sunday had published an article implying that Mosques in the UK were involved in fundraising for terrorism. The original headline, ‘UK Mosques Fundraising for terror’ had breached the code for accuracy, which the MCB had made a complaint to IPSO about, and the paper had published a clarification in print, and amended their … Read More
On 5th September 2015, the Mail on Sunday apologised to readers after claiming in an earlier article published on 25th July alluding that Muslims were responsible for attacks on vans being used during immigration raids in East London. Originally, the paper’s managing editor said he stood by the article because it had social media witnesses and an eyewitness report, but … Read More