Headlines blame Muslims for Basque attack


Writing in the Guardian last month, Miqdaad Versi highlighted both the dangerous linking of terrorism with relgion, chiefly Islam, in the press, and the frightening way in which such false claims are then propagated through social media. The most recent example was the Daily Express headline ‘Terror in Spain: Gunman screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ opens fire in supermarket’. The headline was entirely false, the attack being apparently correctly attributable to Basque nationalists.

“Unsurprisingly” Miqdaad says, “and in a similar way to many of the other stories I have identified, this false terror story has been shared thousands of times, including by far-right groups and extremists. Initially, my work to correct inaccuracies was sporadic at best. But as my fears have worsened, I have adopted a more systematic, focused and analytical approach where I evaluate articles on Islam and Muslims that go against the editors’ code of practice that the papers have themselves chosen to abide by.

“To Fleet Street’s discredit, rarely does a week pass where an article has not been corrected: there have been a staggering 13 corrections following my complaints in the past seven weeks. Let’s not forget this excludes discriminatory pieces and hate speech against Muslims in opinion pages of newspapers, which are not covered by the current regulator (in spite of Lord Leveson’s recommendations).”

Read the article in full here


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