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Lord Pearson’s remarks on Sky News

Friday November 01 2019

On Thursday 31st October, Lord Malcolm Pearson went on national television (Sky News) to make a number of unsubstantiated, derogatory, and Islamophobic claims including:

  • “Muslim birth rate is going up 10 times faster than ours”;
  • “In 12 years-time, 11 local authorities, including Birmingham, will be Muslim majority”;
  • “The Quran instructs Muslims not to mix with Jews and Christians”
  • And, “one of the World’s leading Muslims said to a friend of mine the other day: “We really don’t need to go on blowing you up, all we need is to wait because we will take over your culture through the power of the womb and ballot box””.

It is deeply concerning that he was able to propagate such baseless statements without confrontation and request by the presenter to provide any evidence. Lord Pearson is a known Islamophobe who has hailed far-right extremist Mr Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (pseudonym ‘Tommy Robinson”) as a ‘friend’ and has frequently invited him to Parliament.

MEND is deeply concerned that individuals, such as Lord Pearson, are allowed to go on national television and propagate Islamophobic tropes. It is essential that Ofcom, UK broadcast regulatory, investigates the incident urgently.

We ask your help to write to Ofcom and call for an investigation into the evidence, and for a proper apology to be aired accordingly.

To get involved:

  1. Copy the template complaint from below.
  2. Fill in the form here and make your voice heard.

Subject: Lord Pearson on Sky News at 10

Time: 10:00pm
Date: 31.10.19

Lord Pearson made the following unsubstantiated claims:

- “Muslim birth rate is going up 10 times faster than ours”;

- “In 12 years-time, 11 local authorities, including Birmingham, will be Muslim majority”;

- And, “one of the World’s leading Muslims said to a friend of mine the other day: “We really don’t need to go on blowing you up, all we need is to wait because we will take over your culture through the power of the womb and ballot box””.

No evidence is provided to demonstrate that any of the three statements are legitimate. With the latter-most argument being entirely based on anecdotal evidence that seeks to portray Muslim communities as a demographic and political threat.

I argue that the incident is in breach of Ofcom’s Broadcasting code, in particular:
2.2 Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience
5.1 News, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality.

The fact Lord Pearson was able to propagate such unsubstantiated claims, which will contribute to the rise of Islamophobic discourse and hate crime through its ‘us’ vs. ‘them narrative, is highly disturbing. Its timely also to recall that the majority of victims to religiously-aggravated hate crime in 2017/18 were Muslim. Therefore, arguments that portray Muslim communities as a threat must be dealt with great urgency because of the magnitude of harm associated. I hope that that the issue will be investigated with a matter of urgency, as the socio-political discourse is acutely sensitive currently due to an impending General Election date.

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