Thursday 17 June 2010

Mail clarifies anti-Muslim story

The Press Complaints Commission has published details of a complaint against the Mail and the Evening Standard by Ms Farah Ahmed, a trustee of the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation.

It's not clear why the PCC has not published this sooner, given the Mail published the clarification back in March.

It sounds as if the articles carried much the same allegations as those in this groundless Express front page scare story, where money that they claimed was going to 'fanatics who want to kill us' was actually going on children's nursery places.

Here's the complaint:

Ms Farah Ahmed is a trustee of the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation - a charity which runs Muslim faith schools - and the head teacher of the organisation's Slough-based school.

She complained to the Press Complaints Commission, on behalf of the ISF, that articles in the two newspapers - reporting that "members of Hizb ut-Tahrir", a "militant Islamic group" had received over £100,000 of public money to run schools - contained inaccuracies and misled readers.

She said that, in fact, parents of pupils at ISF schools had claimed education grants to which they were entitled, and that the ISF had no links to Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The resolution begins:

The newspapers said that the articles were based on a story published by the Sunday Telegraph.

Once again, the initial reaction is to blame someone else. It can't possibly be the Mail's fault that they didn't check the story out.

But they wrote this anyway:

An article of 26 October 2009 stated that Hizb ut-Tahrir was given £113,000 of public money to run schools.

In fact, the money was given in the form of the nursery education grant, to the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation; a registered charity which maintains that it is not an extremist group, is independent from any other organisation and has no links with Hizb ut-Tahrir.

We are happy to clarify the situation.

A clarification five months later, and no apology.

The Mail had also claimed a Hizb ut-Tahrir member groomed a suicide bomber, which it apologised for in April. Now it has corrected an incorrect claim about Hizb ut-Tahrir's links to schools.

It seems accurate reporting is less important to the Mail than creating scare stories around Islamic bogeymen.


  1. MacGuffin, have you checked this story out yourself? Is it possible that the Mail has not apologised because it knows that it is correct, it is only the fact that ISF and Farah Ahmed have been able to pull the wool over the Charity Commission's eyes that means the Mail could be forced to clarify their story to include ISF's claims that they are not linked to Hizb ut-Tahrir. But look at the evidence and it is unbelievable that the Charity Commission could not have noticed the links between ISF's school and Hizb ut-Tahrir.

  2. I can't help but notice the use of the word "maintains" in that "clarification" there.

    I've been known to use the same word myself at work, when i'm obliged to repeat what a debtor said but want to make it clear that they're not to be believed.

  3. Anonymous: The point of this post is the Mail's clarification - not something they ever do lightly - rather than the story itself.

    And I think it's likely that the Mail haven't apologised because they almost never do.

    Yes, I have read the Charity Commission report ( as well as the comments of Ofsted and Haringey Council.

    On your second point, I don't believe this story was run by the Mail and Standard solely as an attack on Hizb ut-Tahrir.


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