Report calls Leveson Inquiry to investigate Islamphobia in the media

July 2012

Following to News International phone hacking scandal the Leveson Inquiry has been investigating misconduct of the British press, mostly Rubert Murdock’ News Corporation. The inquiry has revealed shocking relations between the media, politicians and the police, and has informed the public how the media has been effectively used to influence certain government politics and to manipulate the public.

In an important report that has been submitted to the inquiry by Nafeez Ahmed entitled Race and Reform Islam and Muslims in the Britsh Media pointed out overwhelmingly negative, stereotypical, and racist media coverage of Islam and called the Leveson Inquiry along with a number of media professionals to urgently investigate how to hold the media accountable for this shocking lapse in journalistic standards.

Some of the senior journalists who were interviewed by the author of the report acknowledge the gloomy situation in the British media:

‘Jason Beattie, political editor of the Daily Mirror, said: “In general, though not exclusively, the portrayal of Muslims in the mainstream media has been unsatisfactory… [including] sloppy and sometimes stereotypical reporting.” Brian Cathcart, former deputy editor at The Independent on Sunday, similar notes that “where Muslims are concerned, some of the country’s top-selling newspapers have too often failed… damaging stereotypes have been adopted and repeated by some newspapers… Since these papers enjoy such wide circulation, this cannot fail to disadvantage Muslims in British society.”’

The report also provides valuable data regarding the rise of Islamphobia in the public as a result of negative media coverage.

Blind Imam Killed at Mosque

On Friday, the imam Sheik Maymoun Zarzour, 39, was found dead at the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury park, next to the Finsbury Park Mosque. It then emerged that the imam – who was blind since a childhood accident – was killed after the morning prayers. A man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder. The Metropolitan Police does not believe it to be a faith hate crime; instead, some officers believed the suspect attended the mosque. Drawing on comments made by worshippers at the mosque, the Daily Mirror reports that the imam was killed after an unknown man walked up and talked to him. However, details have not been released yet.

Sheik Zarzour was born in Lebanon and came tot he UK in 2008, seeking asylum.

British al-Qaeda recruit talks exclusively to the Daily Mirror

British Muslim Abu Omar has told how the mastermind behind 9/11 urged him to carry out a suicide bombing in London. Omar, who joined al-Qaeda after travelling to Afghanistan to study Islam under the Taliban, was asked during a private meeting with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to become “a martyr”. Omar said: “He asked me if I’d be interested in doing a martyrdom operation. I just laughed and said there was no way I could do that.” Mohammed – described by the 9/11 Commission as the “principle architect” of the atrocity – did not attempt to pressure Omar into a suicide role. But he was encouraged to take an active part in al-Qaeda attacks in the British capital by carrying out surveillance missions for bombers. And he and other recruits were summoned to meetings with Mohammed and other al-Qaeda leaders and asked to propose terror targets. Omar, who ditched all links with al-Qaeda as soon as he got back to the UK, told of his incredible experiences during a meeting with the Mirror in a secret London location. Between nervous puffs on a cigarette, the quietly spoken Londoner said: “It was the most terrifying and strangest time of my life. I now realise I was terribly naive back then. I’d definitely say it was a huge mistake and if anyone else was thinking of doing the same thing I’d say, ‘Just don’t do it’. “I am very lucky to have got out of Afghanistan alive and I massively regret going. I will look over my shoulder for the rest of my life.” Chris Hughes reports.