MPs demand meeting with Sun editor
They call to discuss misleading anti-Muslim story
A multi-faith group of Labour parliamentarians have demanded a meeting with The Sun newspaper editor over a misleading front-page story. Their letter came as nearly 55,000 people signed petitions against the story.
In their letter, the 10 Labour MPs told Tony Gallagher that his editorial decision has consequences on attitudes to Muslims in the UK.
“Already we have seen an alarming increase in attacks on British Muslims. Figures this week show that in one week since the barbaric attacks (in Paris), hate crimes against Muslims have increased by 300 per cent in the UK,” wrote Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, who led the Labour backbench call for an explanation.
“We are deeply worried about the impact that flawed and misleading stories have and fear that the increase in hate crime will continue,” they added.
Among the MPs signing the letter were Stephen Timms, the MP for East Ham, chairman of Christians on the Left and the Labour Party’s Faith Envoy.
“Muslims up and down the UK are outraged at the actions of [ISIS] and are part of the answer in helping to defeat [ISIS],” Mr Timms told the Asian Express.
“As a country we need to bring together all people, no matter their religious faith, in order to bring about a united society and country. I did not feel that the article from The Sun helped to achieve this,” he added.
A leading charity which specialises in monitoring hate crimes has warned that attacks against Muslims are likely to continue “for some time”(See related story).
The Sun’s story was based on research by the survey company Survation which has since distanced itself from the story saying that the newspaper misinterpreted the results. The question they posed to the public did not ask about sympathy towards ISIS jihadists in Syria.
Nearly 55,000 people have signed petitions calling for action.
One petition, on www.avaaz.org, calls on Attorney General Jeremy Wright to charge “The Sun directors and those editors and journalists who are responsible in this case with the criminal offence of public incitement to racial hatred, under S.19 of the Public Order Act 1986.”
The other petition, at www.change.org, calls for an apology by The Sun newspaper.
The letter was signed by: Shabana Mahmood MP for Birmingham Laydywood; Ruhana Ali MP for Bethnal Green and Bow; Lyn Brown MP for West Ham; Karen Buck MP for Westminster North; Liam Bryne MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill; Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Popular and Limehouse; Khalid Mahmood MP for Birmingham Perry Barr; Yasmin Qureshi MP for Bolton South East; Naz Shah MP for Bradford West; and Stephen Timms MP for East Ham.