Elham Asaad Buaras
The Daily Express was forced to remove an online story suggesting that 1.5 million British Muslims support the terror group ISIS after the poll it was based on proved to be flawed.
On July 7, The Daily Express ran with the headline ‘Half of British Muslims support ISIS as fears grow over influence of terror group’ and the sub-heading: ‘HALF of Britain’s three million Muslims could support the Islamic State terror group, a shocking new survey has revealed.’
The ICM online poll it refers to was originally commissioned by the Mirror newspaper and was a survey of general British public opinion and not Muslim opinion. It did show that favourable opinions of ISIS had risen from to 9% in 2015 but at the same time unfavorable views were running at 85%.
The article also quoted Managing Director of the counter-extremist think-tank Quilliam Foundation, Haras Rafiq, saying he “was ‘not surprised’ by the findings.”
However, it was not until July 11, that the newspaper issued an online apology conceding it had incorrectly interpreted the poll; “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.”
It continues, Rafiq, “was quoted out of context”. The apology was accompanied by a right of reply article by Rafiq.
This is not the first time the Daily Express has inaccurately reported on British Muslims. In 2008 the high court ordered the newspaper to apologise and pay £45,000 damages to the then Assistant Ssecretary of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, Inayat Bunglawala, after publishing an article wrongly linking him to death threats made against Prince Harry.