Action against The Sun ‘Muslim Problem’ article is demanded by more than 100 cross-party politicians
Categories: Latest News
Thursday August 17 2017
The Independent reports that more than 100 cross-party politicians have signed an open letter demanding action over a column in The Sun for “using Nazi-like language” regarding the Muslim community in Britain.
In a scathing letter, MPs from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Green party united to say they “were truly outraged by the hate and bigotry” displayed in the comment piece written by The Sun’s former political editor Trevor Kavanagh, who is also a member of the Board, Complaints Committee at Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).
In the article, Mr Kavanagh argues Islam constitutes the “one unspoken fear” that unites Britain and wider Europe, but claims the phenomenon has been suppressed by political correctness.
“The common denominator, almost unsayable until last week’s furore over Pakistani sex gangs, is Islam.
“Thanks to former equalities chief Trevor Phillips, and Labour MPs such as Rotherham’s Sarah Champion, it is acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem.”
He concludes his piece by asking: “What will we do about The Muslim Problem”.
Particularly alarming was the capitalisation of “The Muslim Problem”, a clear reference to “The Jewish Problem”, a phrase used last century by the Nazis before adopting the “Final Solution” – the Holocaust. As noted by many politicians: “There is little doubt (especially with the capitalisation of the three words) that Kavanagh was intentionally comparing Muslims to the ‘The Jewish Problem’.”
The letter to Mr Kavanagh – signed by 107 MPs – was organised by the Labour MP Naz Shah and includes prominent politicians such as former Cabinet ministers Baroness Warsi and Anna Soubry.
Labour frontbenchers, including the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner have also signed the letter, alongside Tory MPs Tim Loughton and Gary Streeter.
Although his name is not on the signing list, Jeremy Corbyn, commented on the article claiming that the newspaper had “published statements that incite Islamophobia and stigmatise entire communities.”
Mr Corbyn added: “With hate crimes against Muslims on the rise in Britain and Neo-Nazis inciting violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, we must stand in solidarity and unity with all our communities and not let hate divide us.”
But a spokesperson for The Sun said: “We strongly reject the allegation that Trevor Kavanagh is inciting Islamophobia. He is reflecting the links between immigration, religion and crime in the context of a trial of largely Pakistani sex gangs.”
They added: “Indeed he quotes Trevor Phillips, former head of the EHRC: ‘What the perpetrators have in common is their proclaimed faith. They are Muslims and many of them would claim to be practising. It is not Islamaphobic to point this out.”
“Any suggestion that this article is promoting Islamophobia is a deliberate misreading of a very serious subject. Furthermore, it was never the intention that other elements of the column would be equated to Nazi-like terminology”.
On Tuesday, a representative for Ipso told The Independent they had received a total of 150 complaints about the piece. “As you’ll appreciate, Ispo does not comment on any complaints while they are being assessed,” they said.
“However, I can confirm that we have had a total of 150 complaints about the piece to which you refer, mostly under Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.”
Following the controversy, The Sun has now had the capitalisation removed.