The détente following the July bombings between the office of the Mayor of London and his arch enemy, the Evening Standard, was bound to be shortlived.
After the Standard wrongly accused a Muslim bookshop-owner of peddling hatred, Ken’s team used the September issue of The Londoner freesheet to take the Standard to ask, demanding an apology and an article to set the matter straight.
Staff at the Dar Al Taqwa bookshop, near Baker Street, have received threatening and abusive phone calls ever since the Standard published its address and phone number in its “Terror and hatred for sale in central London” article on 28 July.
Dar Al Taqwa, owned by Samir El-Attar, has sold books on the Qur’an, Arabic and travel to Londoners for more than 20 years, but none of the extremist books or videos pictured next to a photo of the shop has ever been sold on the premises. Mr El-Attar even points out that one of the items pictured was actually a DVD of an anti-terrorism lecture by Dr Zakir Naik.
The Standard has so far refused to run an apology, but it did print a clarification that “the videos and books pictured with the article” had never been on sale at Dar Al Taqwa.
Private Eye, 30 September 2005