LONDON: The Muslim Council of Britain has welcomed the ruling of press regulator IPSO who forced The Times to apologise for its inaccurate front-page story of 28 August 2017, headlined “Christian child forced into Muslim foster care”.
It marks, as we understand, the first front-page apology of a Muslim-related story. Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “It is about time The Times was forced to apologise for promoting what was widely known to be an inaccurate, misleading and bigoted narrative about Muslims.
The story aided the hate-filled agenda of far-right extremists such as Britain First and the EDL. We hope that this will mark a turning point in the tolerance The Times has shown for anti-Muslim bigotry in its coverage and commentary.’ He added: “We also hope that the Conservative Members of Parliament who jumped on the bandwagon will also apologise for their divisive contributions to the front page story in the Daily Mail – a story that is yet to be retracted.”
The MPs included Shailesh Vara, Andrew Bridgen and Philip Hollobone. A number of experts in the field have shared their perspectives. The head of the government inquiry into foster care provision, Sir Martin Narey, called the coverage “disgracefully dishonest”, and a number of leading foster agencies have written a joint statement highlighting the impact not only on the family but on the wider fostering sector.
Miqdaad Versi, who leads the MCB’s work on media reporting on Islam and Muslims in the media, added: “While IPSO’s ruling on this shameful incidence of anti-Muslim reporting is welcome their response thus far has been too little, too late. The note on the front page is welcome but cannot be considered even due prominence given this story was on 4 front pages! Furthermore, the regulator was initially dismissive of legitimate complaints about The Times story, despite the evidence available in the public domain. There needs to be a fundamental review to ensure this never happens again.”