Tuesday, May 31 2016

Metro and Daily Mail: Breastfeeding mother ‘could offend Muslims’

 The Metro and the Daily Mail last week both reported on a recent incident at Oldham Civic Centre where a mother was told she could not breastfeed her son in public because she was in a ‘multicultural building’.

The headline of the article in the Metro reads ‘Breastfeeding mother 'told to leave centre to prevent offending Muslims'’ and in the Daily Mail, ‘Breast-feeding mother 'told to leave council headquarters because she would offend Muslim visitors'’ (although the Daily Mail print version omits the ‘offending Muslim visitors’ bit).

The headlines in both papers are questionable given that neither article makes any reference to Muslims complaining about the incident. Why then do the respective titles conclude that the breastfeeding mother was reprimanded on account of ‘offending Muslims’?  Nowhere in either article is there any evidence to suggest that Muslims were the cause of upset.

The article follows a trend in the tabloids of fabricating stories about Muslims and their ‘sensitivities’, such as the Daily Star’s story about ‘Muslim only loos.’ That particular front page nonsense merited and received a complaint upheld by the PCC for inaccuracy. Another instance was the Daily Express's coverage of the tinting of swimming facility windows because of ‘Muslim concerns’, whereas a spokesperson for the Walsall council made clear that “the complaints had come mostly from the Muslim community but non-Muslim women had also objected.”

Instances of the tabloids conjuring up stories on Muslims taking offence or forcing accommodations on the rest of society for their singular benefit are well documented in the new book by Julian Petley and Robin Richardson, ‘Pointing the Finger’.

Perhaps the publishers might be minded to send news editors at the Daily Mail, Metro and Daily Express a complimentary copy? It certainly looks as if reading the book would be an edifying experience for them.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 July 2011 15:17

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