Board backs complaint to watchdog over ‘Muslim problem’ article

Board backs complaint to watchdog over ‘Muslim problem’ article

Jewish representative body joins interfaith and anti-racism groups in condemning rhetoric similar to that used by the Nazis

A screenshot of the article, with the 'Muslim Problem' line at the bottom of the text
A screenshot of the article, with the 'Muslim Problem' line at the bottom of the text

The Board of Deputies has leant its weight to a cross-communal complaint to the press watchdog following an article in The Sun referring to “the Muslim problem”.

Jewish representatives joined interfaith group Faith Matters and Islamophobia charity Tell MAMA in arguing that the phrase “harks back to the  use of the phrase ‘The Jewish Problem’ in the last century, to which the Nazis responded with ‘The Final Solution’ – the Holocaust”.

It follows an article by journalist Trevor Kavanagh urging ministers to distance the UK from Europe because of immigration fears, referencing “the abuse of women by Muslims… on an industrial scale”.

As well as referring to “Pakistani perverts,” Kavanagh wrote that “Albanian and Bulgarian child sex traffickers” were “setting up shop in Britain” but that political correctness had “gagged” people from identifying the perpetrators’ ethnicity.

“The common denominator, almost unsayable until last week’s furore over Pakistani sex gangs, is Islam,” wrote Kavanagh, who became The Sun’s political editor in 1983. “Thanks to former equalities chief Trevor Phillips, and Labour MPs such as Rotherham’s Sarah Champion, it is acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem.”

The Board’s complaint was made to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), which said it had received more than 250 objections to it, with a Board spokeswoman saying: “We were horrified to read this.”

She added: “We feel that it warrants swift condemnation by IPSO, and a prompt retraction and an apology by The Sun. We will not tolerate indiscriminate attacks in the media on any faith community.”

A spokesman for Tell MAMA and Faith Matters said: “We stand united with the Jewish community in our condemnation of this outrageous article. Newspapers must take responsibility for peddling hate.”

Kavanagh was appointed to the board of IPSO in 2015, an appointment ridiculed at the time, with analysts pointing to his role in The Sun’s infamous coverage of the Liverpool supporters’ conduct in the Hillsborough disaster.

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