Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Daily Mail and "The Iqal Campaign"

Sent the following to my local MP. It's pretty self explanatory:

Dear XXX

I am concerned about an article in the Daily Mail on Thursday 26th May that refers to a "Facebook campaign" that is "urging Saudi men to whip women who drive with the cord from their headdress".

Link : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1390806/Saudi-men-launch-violent-Facebook-campaign-response-women-taking-wheel-safety.html

My concern is that, according to one of the readers comments to the article alleges that "the Facebook page was created by a white dude who lists Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh as his interests. So in other words it was created to stir up hate against Islam, when the "no driving" rule has nothing to do with Islam - it's a tribal rule"

I am unable to find the relevant Facebook page anywhere, so am left wondering how I can find out whether this article is based on a "real" or a "fake" Facebook page.

You may think that this is a trivial point, and of itself it is - but this kind of article is part of a constant drip-drip of anti-Muslim coverage in the Daily Mail and, over time, this kind of coverage is very corrosive to community cohesion.

My question to you, at the end of this, is to ask how I can hold the Daily Mail to account for this article and assess whether this article has any basis in fact at all.

(Please do not refer me to the PCC, they will ignore me unless the article is about me specifically.)

Incidentally, if the Daily Mail (and Fox News who seem to be the other source for this story) had taken the simple step of providing a link to the page, I would have been able to quickly check for myself and would not now be taking up my time and yours with this communication.

Lastly, for the avoidance of doubt, as a Muslim I wish the women of Saudi Arabia well, and hope that they can soon overcome this inexplicable ban on driving.

Update (18 Dec 2011)
Slightly to BFTF’s surprise, the MP forwarded the complaint to the PCC.

In complete contrast to BFTF’s previous experience with the organisation, the PCC came back offering to deal with the complaint.

After a few months of email tennis between BFTF, the PCC and the Daily Mail, the following was agreed and placed as a record on the PCC website:

Complaint
Mr Ash Choudry complained to the Press Complaints Commission about an online article which reported on a Facebook campaign urging Saudi men to whip women who planned to defy a ban on women driving. The complainant believed that the Facebook campaign was in fact a hoax.

Resolution:
While the newspaper did not accept that its article was in breach of the Editors' Code, the matter was resolved when it agreed to remove piece from its website.

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