British media outlets have been accused of publishing a “consistent stream” of inaccurate stories about Muslims after numerous national newspapers were forced to make more than 20 corrections in recent months, The Guardian reports.
Miqdaad Versi, the assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, has undertaken a personal project to monitor news articles about Islam and Muslims in order to identify inaccuracies and misrepresentations.
He has successfully worked on more than 20 corrections and retractions, and a further 20 complaints are being examined by the press regulator, IPSO.
However, several complaints have been rejected.
Among the published corrections was a story published on The Sun website last week, initially headlined: “SUPERMARKET TERROR: Gunman ‘screaming Allahu Akbar’ opens fire in Spanish supermarket while ‘carrying bag filled with petrol and gunpowder’.”
After Mr Versi filed a complaint, the headline was amended to “SUPERMARKET HORROR: Gunman opens fire in Spanish supermarket while ‘carrying bag filled with petrol and gunpowder’.”
The corrected text included a denial by local police and a spokesperson for the supermarket chain that the suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar”.
The Sun issued an apology for the story.
However, neither The Mail nor the Daily Express their headlines for the same story.
Another inaccurate story published on Mail Online suggested the murder of a Muslim mother had been motivated by Islam.
The original headline read: ‘Mother of four stabbed to death while her family were at a funeral ‘may have been murdered in Islamic honour killing.’
Mr Versi complained to the newspapers, stating that “honour killings” were rooted in culture not religion.
The Mail Online amended their headline to: ‘Mother of four stabbed to death while her family were at a funeral ‘may have been murdered in honour killing’, and added a footnote stating: “An earlier version of this article said that police were investigating whether Ms Khan may have been murdered in an ‘Islamic honour killing’. We are happy to make clear that Islam as a religion does not support so-called ‘honour killings”.
A study by Cambridge University in 2017 found that the focus on “negative narratives” in the British media about Islam and Muslims was contributing to an atmosphere of rising Islamophobia.