My testimony to the Leveson Inquiry on anti-Muslim prejudice in the UK press

I went along to the Leveson Inquiry today at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, to give testimony on behalf of ENGAGE about anti-Muslim bigotry in the UK press and the current failings of the Press Complaints Commission. You can read a full transcript of my testimony here.

ENGAGE will be uploading a video of the testimony shortly, insha’ Allah, so I will post a link to it when it is ready. The testimony was based on the submission that ENGAGE made to the Leveson Inquiry.

Update: My testimony on behalf of ENGAGE can now be viewed on the website of the Leveson Inquiry here.

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9 Responses to My testimony to the Leveson Inquiry on anti-Muslim prejudice in the UK press

  1. Mubashir says:

    Alhamdulillah. Well done. Probably the most important inquiry into the gutter press (incl tabloids and broadsheets) that we will have in decades. An excellent opportunity to demonstrate the extreme prejudice and false stories in the UK papers over the last 10-15 years. Did anybody else collect and submit the anti-Muslim data? I’m thinking of, for example, either the MCB or any of the journalism/media schools in, say, Cardiff or Glasgow? I only ask because there is now a mountain of evidence about factually false anti-Muslim press reports and your submission seems quite “moderate” as mentioned by Leveson himself, in comparison with the amount of abuse of power over the years. Anyway, every sensible person hopes that the new PCC can bring an end to all these ridiculously false headlines.

  2. No – I have no idea if any other organisation submitted evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on anti-Muslim prejudice in the UK press. If they did you would expect them to post it on their own websites at the very least. But,no, I haven’t seen anything else.

  3. javed yousaf says:

    great job well done its about time someone spoke up for us this has gone way to far no other group or minority would find it acceptable.

  4. Abu Sufyaan says:

    Looks like other muslim organizations are boycotting the inquiry.
    See the open letter in the guardian
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jan/23/inquiry-into-anti-islam-press

    Is engage aware of this alternative campaign?

    • Abu Sufyaan: Yes, I saw the letter in the Guardian. The signatories did not appear to be calling for a boycott but for an alternative inquiry to focus on anti- Muslim bigotry. I saw that the MCB were signatories to the Guardian letter. I know the MCB did not support a boycott of Leveson because their office called me a couple of months ago to request that I prepare a submission on their behalf to give to the Leveson Inquiry. I declined because I was just too busy with other work.

      Besides, the whole philosophy of ENGAGE is to…engage! It would be counterproductive to boycott what is clearly the most wide-ranging inquiry into the ethics and practices of the UK press in decades, if not ever.

  5. Sarah AB says:

    I haven’t read all your testimony, but I certainly agree with some of what you say here, if not always elsewhere!, and touched on the Daily Star problems in a post I’ve just done on the terms Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry on HP.

  6. LibertyPhile says:

    It would be good if Leveson also took evidence from these Muslim journalists. The Search for Common Ground study (commissioned by Ken Livingstone when he was Mayor of London) in one of its sections recorded these verbatim remarks.

    The aim of the study was to denigrate the Press but these remarks provide a glimmer of light as to the truth which the authors of the study studiously ignored.

    “If a story’s there and it’s the biggest story in town they have to cover it. If it’s what your readership asks for, you will respond. …. If you are a news editor getting letters saying you need to be stronger on this stuff, you will … Some of the reporting after the London bombs was very good. It was reported very well and very sensitively.” (Muslim Journalist A, p241)

    “I think the press has been pretty fair to Muslims. They don’t really need to stitch people up, they do a good enough job of that themselves. My view is Muslims have got to address issues themselves, things like anti-semitism and homophobia that seem to be unchangeable within Muslim communities. As far as I’m concerned newspapers just report them as they are.” (Muslim Journalist B, p242)

    “I take issue with many things done by British Muslims. If the media was doing its job it would help Britain’s two million Muslims to be able to develop a kind of reasoned, questioning attitude within itself. And you are beginning to see that a bit.” (Muslim Journalist C, p243)

  7. s4r4hbrown says:

    Libertyphile – I think, if I was a Muslim, I might feel less rather than more inclined to ‘develop a kind of reasoned, questioning attitude’ after seeing some of the Daily Star headlines. But I suppose you and I would agree that some sections of the press/blogosphere are, by contrast, inclined to avoid rather than emphasise/make up problems which might in any way be associated with Muslims/Islam. Those two opposite kinds of inaccuracies feed each other in a vicious circle.

  8. LibertyPhile says:

    Sarah AB – I would hope (possibly in vain) that most Muslims don’t read the Daily Star and those that might would simply ignore its “extreme” headlines and half baked stories.

    I would hope they might react as I did when driving in Birmingham a while ago, and seeing a mosque with a huge banner saying “Islam will rule the world”. I just thought to myself, what a bunch of nutters!

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