Britain’s far-right Mail on Sunday newspaper has today apologized after a story it ran in the summer said that “Muslim gangs” were responsible for an attack on an immigration enforcement van in East London, after a complaint by a member of the Muslim Council of Britain.
The story, published in July, ran with the headline: “Welcome to East London: Muslim gang slashes tyres of immigration-raid van before officers showered with eggs from high rise”.
The article quoted an unnamed local who claimed that the attack was carried out by “Local Muslim Hoodies”.
Following the story, Miqdaad Versi, the assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, made a private complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organization (Ipso), saying that the article was based on conjecture and that the religion of the gang was immaterial to the story.
The Mail on Sunday initially apologized to Mr Versi but later re-wrote the story and carried a correction both in the paper and online after Ipso sided with Mr Versi.
The correction read: “An article on July 26 said a gang of Muslim youths was responsible for damaging Home Office immigration enforcement vehicles in Shadwell, east London, in the week the prime minister appealed to Muslims to help combat extremism.
“Muslim readers have asked to point out that the youths’ religion was unclear and, in any case, irrelevant to the story. We apologise for any offence caused.”
Mr Versi welcomed the correction.
He told the Guardian: “The coverage of Muslims in mainstream media continues to be very negative and there are too many sensationalist headlines that generalise about Muslims. This story in particular was both inaccurate and referred to Muslims when it was irrelevant to the story.”