“You would have thought that meeting the first woman leader of the largest Muslim umbrella body would be welcomed and applauded"
The Daily Mail has been slammed for its latest front page which is dripping with Islamophobia as it desperately tries to get its Tory readership to oppose candidates it doesn’t approve of in the Tory leadership race.
The paper took aim at Penny Mordaunt attacking her for meeting with the Muslim Council of Britain when ministers were banned from doing so over concerns about the group appearing to condone attacks on British troops. It said that Mordaunt faced fresh questions after meeting with the Muslim Council of Britain’s general secretary Zara Mohammed last year.
The supposedly ‘controversial’ meeting with Mordaunt was already widely known given that Mordaunt had tweeted about it quite openly herself.
The Mail’s story has also been condemned by both Zara herself as well as MPs and others for its claims as well as for once more portraying Muslims as ‘alien’ and ‘foreign’.
Responding to the front page on Twitter, Zara wrote: “I seem to be on the front page of the Daily Mail. A paper that has regularly reinforced negative tropes about British Muslims. Today it reinforced that trope by reporting on a supposedly ‘controversial’ meeting I had with Penny Mordaunt last year which was widely known.
“You would have thought that meeting the first woman leader of the largest Muslim umbrella body would be welcomed and applauded. Not so. Instead, the Daily Mail’s sources engage in their own ‘cancel culture’, insisting that I be ‘boycotted’.
“The paper pushes a narrative by divisive commentators who are keen to paint @MuslimCouncil as foreign and un-British. With a 25 year history, I am held responsible for events that occurred when I was a teenager and bear no relevance to British Muslim communities today.
“The @DailyMailUK also pushes the narrative that relations between @MuslimCouncil and the government irrecoverably ceased in 2009. Not true, they were restored a few months later. I think it’s good to talk. I’ve had the pleasure of engaging with politicians from across the spectrum, including some Conservatives. But this ‘boycott’ seems to be relentlessly pursued by unnamed individuals at the heart of government.
“Muslims in the Conservative party have long faced Islamophobia. And key figures are advocating discrimination of a faith community by doubling down non-engagement with MCB.
“It is sad to see how this Islamophobia is now weaponised in the Conservative Party leadership contest.”
Labour MP Afzal Khan tweeted: “Pathetic attempt by Daily Mail to delegitimise @ZaraM01. Zara made history by becoming the first female & youngest Secretary General of the MCB. “Islamophobia is rampant in the UK & instead the Gvt refuses to meet with the largest British Muslim organisation.”
Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi tweeted: “Comments by some bloke are used 13 years later to smear a one-nation woman minister and PM candidate @PennyMordaunt and the first woman Sec-Gen of Britains leading Muslim organisation @ZaraM01
“This bullshit attack on women & minorities needs to called out by all fair minded folk.
“And if we are all to be accountable for the “sins”of our predecessors as this shit piece of journalism suggests then maybe the Daily Mail can address it’s articles supporting Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts & its historic Hitler love in.
“One rule for them eh?”
Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece tweeted in reply to Zara’s post: “You are quite right to highlight the unsurprising & blatant Islamophobia displayed by @MailOnline in its pathetic front page. The very rag who deny it exists.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward