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

Newspaper fails to identify author's links with lobby group central to the story

Pictured: Asim Qureshi of CAGE, who called Jihadi John a ‘beautiful man’

The Independent has published a news story about a Muslim lobby group with links to Islamic State executioner Jihadi John – co-written by the group’s former spokesman.

Campaign group CAGE made headlines earlier this year after calling Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, a ‘beautiful man’ who was harassed by the UK intelligence services into joining Islamic State.

The story today (12 June), about the suspension of three Muslim students from NewVic college in Newham, London, mentions CAGE as a key part of the story, but does not identify co-author of the piece, Amandla Thomas-Johnson, as its former spokesman.

Mr Thomas-Johnson has worked as spokesman for CAGE as recently as March 28 of this year.

CAGE confirmed to Left Foot Forward that Thomas-Johnson had been a spokesman, but is ‘no longer with CAGE’ having left ‘a few months ago’.

The Independent declined to comment when contacted.

Thomas-Johnson has the sole byline for today’s Independent story in the paper’s print edition, but shares a byline on the web version.

The story says:

“The three girls were then suspended on 22 May after emailing a four-page letter criticising the college and setting out a list of 12 demands, including that it make a public statement criticising the Prevent strategy and invite groups critical of its implementation, including the campaign group CAGE.”

The next sentence presents CAGE’s position on counter-terrorism, saying:

“The row underlines the sensitivities among Muslim communities about official efforts to combat radicalisation such as Prevent, which critics see as demonising Muslims and stifling legitimate debate but supporters argue is vital to counter the threat of recruitment by organisations such as Islamic State.”

Mr Thomas-Johnson also wrote a comment piece for the Guardian in 2010 saying he wanted his family to convert to Islam or be damned.

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

Read more: 

Cage: I hate to say we told you so

Not in my Name: the ‘Joint UK Muslim Statement’ offers no progressive solutions

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