Monday, 19 October 2009

Mail returns to attacking immigrants and Muslims

The Daily Mail appears to have decided that it might need to stop picking on the gays for a bit and so has turned its attention back to immigrants and them Muslims.

There's the ludicrous cat story, a Melanie Phillips article about the BNP and another story about numbers of immigrants. And then there's this rather oddly worded headline:

'The schools told'. What?

This story, like the cat one, has been stolen from yesterday's Sunday Telegraph. The impression given by the Mail's headline is that this is widespread. This is a usual tactic - such as when seven policewomen in Bristol were given headscarves for when they enter mosques and the media made it sound as if everyone was getting one. Or when the Express said all Muslims believe one thing last week.

In fact, it is only two councils (Waltham Forest & Newham) in east London who say schools should close for Diwali, Eid-Ul-Fitr and Guru Nanak, but are now launching a review of the policy after complaints from some headteachers and others.

So it is a story which fits in with the 'minorities dictating our lives' agenda of the Mail and other tabloids.

But on the Mail website homepage, the headline is this:

Which makes it clear it's them Muslims causing the trouble again. The councils instruct schools to shut for three significant holy days: one Muslim, one Sikh and one Hindu.

So why 'Schools ordered to close for Muslims holy days'? It's only one Muslim holy day (not days), as it is equally one Sikh holy day and one Hindu holy day.

The Express have done the same thing with their headline: Ramadan? No school today. A headline which isn't even accurate as Eid-Ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. Nonetheless, the story begins:

Parents and headteachers are furious after schools were given permission to shut for Ramadan and other non-Christian holidays in the name of multiculturalism.

Again, the focus is on the Muslims. Despite the fact 'shut for Ramadan' doesn't really come into it.

But there is an interesting point raised in an Evening Standard article by Felix Allen, which states:

All state schools under Waltham Forest's control have been closed for Eid-Ul-Fitr, Diwali and Guru Nanak's birthday - as well as Christmas and Easter - since the Eighties.

One of these councils has been doing it for twenty years? Certainly this article from 1995 makes clear it was happening in Waltham at least fourteen years ago.

Why do the articles therefore imply it is something new? And why do they focus on Islam more than the other religions?


  1. Is it because they're bigoted racists playing up to widespread and unfounded public xenophobia to sell papers and flog adspace?

    do I get a prize?

  2. I think nick has got it one! Well done!

  3. As someone who was until recently a teacher in Waltham Forest, I can exclusively reveal that the problem headteachers have with Eid is not that the school closes for the day, but that it's unpredictable which day it will fall on.

    The people making the school calendar guess and usually get it wrong. So the school is closed for one day and then the next day is actually Eid and half the school is off because half the pupils are Muslim, and a significant number of teachers as well.

    It's a bit irritating and inconvenient, and everybody thinks there must be a better way to do it. But most of us really aren't that bothered, and actually find the guesswork quite entertaining. You just don't plan anything too special on one of the two or three days that might turn out to be low-attendance day.

    Usually the other days (I think) are more static and schools will plan to have an in-service training day.

  4. Very interesting Phil - many thanks for the info.

  5. Anybody going to get twittering the article? i can't i'm not on twitter but if we want to shut this shitrag down that what where going to do.


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