Daily Express says sorry for false ‘half of Muslims support ISIS’ story

The paper says it 'incorrectly interpreted' poll data and misquoted an expert

Express is not a paper, after Matisse 1


The Daily Express has apologised for publishing a story claiming up to half of UK Muslims ‘could support ISIS’.

The story, which the paper quickly removed from its website, was based on an ‘incorrect’ reading of an opinion poll commissioned by another newspaper.

The Express story also misquoted Haras Rafiq, managing director of the anti-Islamist group Quilliam and a Left Foot Forward contributor.

Yesterday they published an article by him respecting his right of reply.

The Express said:

“Earlier this week Express.co.uk ran a story which incorrectly claimed up to half of British Muslims ‘could support ISIS’.

This article was based on a national poll commissioned by a rival newspaper, the results of which both publications interpreted incorrectly.

Within a few hours we realised our error and quickly removed the article, but it should never have been published and we apologise unreservedly for any upset caused.”

Speaking to MediaWatch, Haras Rafiq said:

“When I was told of the piece, I contacted the Express and they were very keen to rectify a mistake that was made. Hence they admitted and apologised for the error and gave me a right to reply.

But mistakes such as these can have consequences. Especially if the press don’t act quickly to correct what has happened.

They should be more careful about such claims.

You can read the rest of the apology and Haras Rafiq’s article in response here.

Note: We have been unable to find a copy of the original story. If any readers can find one, please get in touch via Twitter or by emailing adam@leftfootforward.org

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

Independent runs story about Muslim lobby group CAGE… written by its spokesman!

The path towards peace in South Asia- Haras Rafiq

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26 Responses to “Daily Express says sorry for false ‘half of Muslims support ISIS’ story”


    An issue that should not be buried. Most British Muslims seem to live a parallel life and have no interest in integration – UK life on their terms!. Call spade a spade and expose the truth!

  2. stevep

    I am all for freedom of expression, but when it boils down to some people having more say because they`re wealthy and can afford to own and run a newspaper which can then be use to propagandise others, I draw the line.
    When every UK citizen can have their say in a mass-market newspaper without fear or prejudice, regardless of their wealth or status, then we will be on the road to living in a true democracy.
    Until then, the press should be moderated and regulated. Implementing the recommendations of the Leveson inquiry in full would be a start.

  3. Peem Birrell

    It certainly isn’t a ‘papier’. Not much of a ‘journal’ either.

  4. Cat

    ‘The story, which the paper’
    haha the Daily Express a paper- lol

  5. We Thepeople

    Fair play to the express for publishing an apology, but the fact that they published the article in the first place is a really good example of our governments vile “divide and conquer” politics and then they wonder why one third of the electorate don’t even bother to engage in politics by voting at elections. In London mayoral elections, the figure is a massive 61% of those eligible to vote not doing so.

    Our system of politics is fundamentally broken and in response a number of individuals who are concerned about the way our system of politics is not working, except for the richest 1% are forming a group. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum for those living in UK who share these concerns and want to work towards something else to get together to discuss, debate, design and build a better, fairer, more democratic political system that will work for all of it’s citizens.

    Meetings will tai place online as webinars and it is hoped the first meeting will take place at the end of July. Any UK resident who shares these concerns can join the group by sending an email to redesigndemocracy@yahoo.co.uk to be added to the list of invitees.

  6. jed shed

    But the Express was calling a spade a shovel and espousing a lie..

  7. mamtor2

    The ‘other’ paper is The Mirror, who commissioned the poll. No-one seems to have actually debunked the poll, and the Mirror made the same 50% argument based on 3% of the respondents saying they had a very favourable view of ISIS. Haras Rafiq should know this as he appears to have spoken to the Mirror.

  8. Patrick Nelson

    Maybe the Daily Mail has moved from being a pseudo-paper to being a surrealist living-art instillation. This will be revealed when they send out an edition with out any articles or pictures at all, but honestly called “Daily Mail, the worthwhile bits, in the center pages will be the words “may be rolled up to light BBQ’s”

  9. Patrick Nelson

    The next step along this path is to call for internment. It is a path, the logic of which eventually leads to mass expulsion or mass graves.

  10. Ajourney

    “fundamentally broken”……… You d*** head.

  11. Jacko

    You mean censored, so that newspapers only says things that you approve of. That’s really what you mean. But since you identify your own views as being moral and correct and other people’s views as immoral and incorrect it’s easy for you to believe that censorship is a good thing. But here’s some news. There are people on the Right who believe just as passionately as you that their views are correct and the best thing for the country.

    Since it takes considerable capital to setup and run a newspaper then it will always be beyond the reach of most people. However, there are plenty of wealthy Left wingers. They’re perfectly free to buy or start up a newspaper. Lord Sugar could run a newspaper -The Daily Truth-filled only with Left wing stories and viewpoints. No-one is stopping him. There isn’t a right wing conspiracy to lock him out of publishing. Remember News on Sunday in the 1980s -a left wing tabloid. No-one bought it.

  12. SarahAB

    I think it’s worth taking note of geographical distribution http://hurryupharry.org/2015/07/07/that-isis-poll-story-pulled-from-the-express/

  13. stevep

    No, I don`t mean censored. At all.

    I actually said: “When every UK citizen can have their say in a mass-market newspaper without fear or prejudice, regardless of their wealth or status, then we will be on the road to living in a true democracy”. That means more freedom to say what you will, not less.
    Furthermore, in a true democracy (Go on, look up what democracy means.), a mass market newspaper would be in the hands of the people, paid for by the people via taxation.
    We shouldn`t have to rely on the whims and fancies of the wealthy to determine news and views. Or for that matter, their sycophants and apologists.

  14. swat

    Its about time these newspapers were punitively punished with hefty fines of up to £2m for getting their facts and story wrong. the money should be paid into a fund to providing soup kitchens in Calais, prior to sending the refugees back to Libya Syria and Bangladesh or wherever they came from. An apology tucked away in the back pages I simply not enough.

  15. mamtor2

    Taking note in what sense? Still no mention of The Mirror though, rather bizarrely.

  16. SarahAB

    Because the results aren’t consistent with Muslim respondents being overwhelmingly behind the reported high(ish) support for ISIS.

  17. mamtor2

    But the sample is already predetermined, so the fact there are more muslims in London may already have been allowed for, unless you know the sample they used? I haven’t seen enough info to interpret the regional differences, so cannot say they are not consistent.

  18. Jacko

    A mass market newspaper, paid for by taxation? A state run newspaper then, like in China, Iran, Syria and Burma.

    Presumably those people who don’t want to read it would still be required to pay for it through their taxes. Doesn’t sound very democratic to me. No, I’ll stick with the present system of freedom of choice, thanks.

  19. Hollie

    Last 40 year Best Home Income with leftfootforward…… < ……. Find Here

  20. gunnerbear

    “Until then, the press should be moderated and regulated.” Fine, so long as I’m the one doing the Moderating and Regulating and not Green or Lefty a***holes.

  21. gunnerbear

    Media paid for by taxation – we’ve already got that – the BBC and it is as Lefty and Pro-Green as f**k. Time the BBC was a subscription only service.

  22. gunnerbear

    Maybe then British Muslims shouldn’t be supporting ISIS.

  23. stevep

    You haven`t got a “freedom” of choice, just what suits the wealthy and what doesn`t.
    If you are happy with that, fine. Just don`t confuse toadying to the wealthy with “choice”.

  24. stevep

    If the BBC was “lefty” and pro-green I`d be ecstatic with joy, because it would go some way to redressing the media balance in the UK.
    Unfortunately it isn`t and we`ll all have to make do with one of the very few broadcasters in the world that doesn`t parrot right wing political views and strives to remain unbiased and impartial.
    The very fact the BBC exists upsets and infuriates right-wing sycophants. That`s fine by me!

  25. Patrick Nelson

    I think this is especially true when obviously distorted facts are used for the purpose of headline grabbing and sensationalism – especially when those distorted facts are obviously detrimental to the well being and safety of real innocent people.

  26. Cole

    There are obviously many more wealthy right wingers than lefties (the point of the Conservative Party is to look after the rich and powerful). With newspaper circulation in decline and most papers unprofitable, you have to be crazy to start one.

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