| ||The Daily Express front page today (image shown) declaring that ‘Now Muslims demand: Give us full Shari’a law’, would be laughably stupid if it wasn’t just the sort of pernicious nonsense that fuels the extremists of the English Defence League and the Stop the Islamisation of Europe groups’ vehement anti-Muslim prejudice. |
Drawing on al-Muhajiroun’s website, Islam4UK, which carries news of the tiny group’s plans to hold a demonstration in Trafalgar Square in London at the end of this month, the Daily Express irresponsibly and quite deliberately ascribes the views and stunts of this fringe group to Muslims across the UK.
From the images and commentary that followed al-Muhajiroun's shameful antics in Luton back in March, which tell you all you need to know in terms of numbers of Muslims that have any time or patience for this group’s noxious invectives, you would think newspapers would do decent British Muslims a good turn and not give the publicity hungry fringe the attention they so desperately crave. Not so the Daily Express and the Daily Star.
When the fringe group tried a similar stunt in Luton, leafleting Muslims to turn up to protest on the return of the Anglian Regiment in March this year, of the 25,000 strong Muslim community in the town, less than 20 of the group’s acolytes turned up at the protest. Quite how the Daily Express now thinks 5,000 Muslims would turn up to the march in Trafalgar Square organised by the group is incomprehensible to anyone with some basic knowledge of the group’s standing among Muslims. Is the DE seriously duped by the group’s propaganda?
Despite an Islamic Society of Britain spokesperson telling the paper, ’99.999 percent of Muslims despise these people’, the paper feels justified in giving al-Muhajiroun front page prominence. Would such a thing happen with any other ethnic or religious group in Britain?
It’s not enough to decry the Daily Express’s front page as another instance of hollow journalism or harmless twaddle. It is just this sort of sensationalism that is driving a wedge between Muslims and others in local communities around the UK. It is the Muslims living in our towns and cities that have been targeted by the EDL and SIOE that are paying too high a price for the DE’s reckless and irresponsible courting of this fringe group.
Under the current proprietor, Richard Desmond, the Daily Express and Daily Star have given free rein to openly inciting hatred against Muslims. It is disgraceful and would simply not be tolerated if the newspapers were instead inciting hatred of British Jews for example.
With the Press Complaints Commission holding a review into its workings, the practice of giving disproportionate attention to groups and individuals of no reputable standing among British Muslims will rate high on the list of complaints requiring urgent PCC action.
Update: The Daily Telegraph carries the same story claiming 'Islam4UK has launched a campaign to impose sharia law on Britain, starting with a rally in London, according to a report'.
The 'report' is nothing of the sort - merely snippets taken from the Islam4UK website that also appear in the Daily Express article.
Could it be that more journalists read the Islam4UK website than do British Muslims?
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