MEND Statement: Deceitful Journalism from Lee Harpin of the Jewish News
Categories: Latest News
Friday January 21 2022
On the 20th of January 2022, journalist Lee Harpin published a deceitful article in the Jewish News, headlined as ‘Manager at advocacy group MEND shares social media posts uncritical of Taliban’. The rest of the story is just as disingenuous as the headline itself, which references personal tweets of a colleague in a selective manner with complete disdain for context.
We do not condone this manner of journalism or targeting under any circumstances and regard this as yet another futile attempt by Harpin to demonise MEND and members of the Muslim community.
This form of shoddy journalism should come as no surprise from someone who was arrested and questioned for phone hacking and had his computer confiscated whilst at Trinity Mirror. Harpin was also ordered to pay damages to a councillor and teacher for making false allegations in relation to antisemitism.
In this particular story, Harpin’s critique was in relation to retweets that were supposedly ‘uncritical’ of the Taliban. By using the phrase ‘uncritical,’ Harpin is effectively claiming that there is a special onus on Muslims to be ‘critical’ of the Taliban. Why should Muslims be compelled to criticise the Taliban? What does it demonstrate? Such a notion is comparable to the belief that Muslims have a unique burden to report radicalisation.
Having such an expectation of Muslims as a group is indicative of the Islamophobia that Muslims face in society. In this case, the application of double standards by expecting from Muslims a behaviour that is not expected or demanded of any other social, religious or ethnic group.
Our message to the Muslim community and the many Muslims who have had the unfortunate experience of being demonised unfairly in the media is that we should not allow such pathetic attempts to silence us or dissuade us from serving our communities. As an organisation, we will continue to advocate for better media regulation and accountability in the press and support those who have been affected by #IslamophobiaInJournalism.