This is the Daily Mail‘s latest attempt to fraudulently introduce a “Muslim” angle into a story.
We are told that the criminal gang who recently kidnapped a British citizen and held him to ransom are “believed to be Muslim”. This belief appears to be based exclusively on the reported countries of origin of some of the kidnappers (and ignores the fact that one of them is described as Ukrainian).
Needless to say, no evidence is offered to substantiate the claim that the presumed religious affiliation of these individuals had anything to do with the crime.
Quite the contrary, in fact. Right at the end of the article a Ukrainian Interior Ministry spokesman is quoted as saying: “We do not think there was any Islamic or political motive here. They were just criminals who wanted money.”
So readers are presented with an anti-Muslim message, based on a distorted headline followed by equally misleading opening paragraphs – and then, at the end of the report, they are provided with information that contradicts or qualifies that message.
That way the Mail can claim that it has given the other side of the story and its report is therefore balanced. Of course, as the paper’s editorial staff know perfectly well, most readers won’t reach the end of the piece and will take their impression from the headline and opening section of the report.
Irrespective of the byline, this is the pattern that the Mail‘s “Muslim” articles all follow. Clearly, it is not the result of sloppy reporting by individual journalists, but a conscious editorial policy aimed at misinforming the paper’s readers in order to whip up hostility towards the Muslim community.
As a number of Mail readers have commented:
“DM why do you have to say Muslim gangs? Would you do the same for criminals of other faiths? Why the double standards?”
“Like the way the DM crowbars ‘Muslim’ into the headline despite the fact the gang included a woman from a Christian country.”
“Erm, DM did this headline really need Muslim to be in the headline?”
“Again what has their religion got to do with anything DM. Sigh.”
“You don’t see stories about Christian burglars beating up old ladies, or Christian football thugs shouting homophobic abuse. This crime had nothing to do with the offenders’ religion. People of all religions have, and do, commit crime.”
“I can’t see the relevance of the gang’s religion in this story. They sound like common-or-garden criminals not fundamentalists or jihadis.”