Muslim TV presenter slams press watchdog’s ruling

Muslim TV presenter slams press watchdog’s ruling

Fatima Manji, above, claims that a ‘green light for newspapers to attack minorities and Muslims in particular’ has been given by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) which dismissed a complaint she lodged against Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie.

According to the Guardian, her complaint centred on MacKenzie’s criticism of Channel 4 News for letting her report on the Nice terror attacks while wearing a hijab.

She described Ipso’s ruling, which can be read in full here, as:

Fundamentally flawed.

Manji claimed that she and her family had to take safety precautions after she was:

Singled out personally by Kelvin MacKenzie because of my religion. This was akin to hate speech and incitement against an individual. Freedom of expression does not stretch to allow such speech if the newspaper personally targets the individual.

Many will question when would Ipso ever find a breach of the clause prohibiting prejudicial references to an individual’s religion.

In his column for the Sun on July 18, the paper’s former editor accused Channel 4 News of “editorial stupidity” for allowing a hijab-wearer to present the news when “there had been another shocking slaughter by a Muslim” in Nice.

Manji and ITN complained to Ipso claiming the article breached the watchdog’s code on the grounds of discrimination, harassment and accuracy. The regulator also received 1,700 other complaints about the article.


But Ipso ruled that in the context of the attack, MacKenzie, above, had a right to question Manji’s headdress under free speech. In its ruling it said:

While the columnist’s opinion was undoubtedly offensive to the complainant, and to others, these were views he had been entitled to express.

Manji said:

This report was a devastating personal attack on me, highly prejudicial and pejorative, designed to cause me significant distress by linking me to terror. It is clearly prejudicial and pejorative to link me to the murder of 84 people because I happen to be a Muslim and wear a hijab.

Not only that, it prejudicially and inaccurately links me to a terrorist attack, which the vast majority of Muslims (including myself) believe to be absolutely abhorrent and against the teachings of Islamic principles. Indeed many of the victims of this attack were Muslims themselves, including a woman who like me was named Fatima and also wore a headscarf.

There is also no consideration that the publication of this column led to fears about my physical safety in general given the current climate of Islamophobia and the risk that my being depicted next to the words ‘terror’ could lead to unwarranted attention or even abuse on the streets.

Indeed my family and employer took precautions to ensure my safety in the days following the publication of this column.

In its ruling, Ipso said:

The article did not include a prejudicial or pejorative reference to the complainant on the grounds of religion. The article did refer to the complainant but it did so to explain what triggered the discussion about a legitimate subject of debate: whether newsreaders should be allowed to wear religious symbols. In the committee’s view, the columnist was permitted to identify what prompted his discussion, rather than merely raising it in the abstract.

Furthermore, he was entitled to express his view that, in the context of a terrorist act which had been carried out ostensibly in the name of Islam, it was inappropriate for a person wearing Islamic dress to present coverage of the story.

Hat tip: Trevor Blake

29 responses to “Muslim TV presenter slams press watchdog’s ruling”

  1. Angela_K says:

    Muslims waving the islamophobia flag again. MacKenzie was right to criticise Channel 4, it was insensitive for the victims and their families having a representative of the religion responsible to read the report. Would Channel 4 consider it appropriate to have a hooded KKK member reporting on the racist killing of a black person?

  2. Moxie says:

    She needs to learn that the majority of people in the uk are very wary of muslims. Distrustful is maybe a better word. Many of us view her headwear as a ”fuck you”, ” in your face” statement of muslim intolerance and division. Her reponse is typical of muslims who wail shriek squeal and shout (or worse such as violent reaction) to any perceived “offence” to their hair trigger sensitivities whilst denying the right of others to say what they think. Its a two way street and she would do well to learn that lesson. Be prepared to be criticised if you want to be able to wear such things in future. Integrate … dont agitate. Muslims have excavated a huge hole for themselves and now have to work very hard, very hard indeed, to earn the trust of the people on the street and those watching news of yet another muslim atrocity delivered to their homes courtesy of TV.

  3. Moxie says:

    Did she say “devastating personal attack on me”. She should note the gymnast guy who is now misguidedly jumping through hoops to placate the shreiking muslim rat packs who threaten to KILL HIM for the offence of mockery.

    Wear a hijab but don’t be surprised if people view you with intense suspicion and even contempt. And she should note not a soul has sent her a death threat.

  4. Jobrag says:

    I’d be interested to hear her views on homosexuality, apostasy, sex outside marriage and the Mohammed cartoons. If her views are mainstream Muslim then I’m not sure that she should be reading the news at all, if she has mainstream “western” views on these subjects then her wearing a hijab is just a self promoting fashion statement.

  5. barriejohn says:

    Kelvin MacKenzie is the lowest form of pond life. Remember Hillsborough.

    Would Channel 4 consider it appropriate to have a hooded KKK member reporting on the racist killing of a black person?

    That’s rubbish. There is no earthly reason why a Muslim woman shouldn’t report on Muslim atrocities – they do it all over the world every day, and MacKenzie knows it. Wearing a hijab doesn’t make you a terrorist, or even a terrorist sympathizer!

  6. AgentCormac says:

    Of course her overt expression of muslim culture would link her to that story at that moment in time. How dumb do you have to be to think otherwise?

  7. barriejohn says:

    Jobrag: We have had “committed Christians” reading the news and presenting programmes for years. Their personal views and beliefs have nothing to do with the job that they do. I can’t believe the irrational comments that I’m reading here today.

  8. Moxie says:

    bj – shut up for once. Think … about how people feel in the face of islamic thuggery.

  9. Moxie says:

    And bj … the judge made his ruling … right. Remember that the next time you want to excercise your right to free speech. Until then shut up.

  10. Moxie says:

    OK how about a roman catholic cardinal in all his finery reading the news about priests fucking kids. Is that ok for you?

  11. gedediah says:

    MacKenzie has a right to express his views, however rediculous. Religious newsreaders should be able to report on any subject. It’s up to their employers to form their own dress code policies, though they could be challenged in court if discriminatory.

  12. AgentCormac says:


    Repeatedly telling contributors here to ‘shut up’ is hardly in the spirit of freethinking. Just saying.

  13. Laura Roberts says:

    @barriejohn: committed Christians who read the news (and edit the news and who run news bureaus) inject considerable bias into the process. Hence I would argue that their irrational beliefs do in fact detract from the jobs they do.

    Personally I’ve got no problem if Manji wants to wear a hijab or a bindi or whatever in-group symbol she desires whilst delivering the news. Heck, she can wear a sombrero and lederhosen for all I care, as long as she does her job well.

  14. Daz says:

    Says Ipso:

    “The article did refer to the complainant but it did so to explain what triggered the discussion about a legitimate subject of debate: whether newsreaders should be allowed to wear religious symbols.”

    All of which makes it sound like a considered discussion. It wasn’t. It was a rant in which the “discussion” alluded to consists of nothing more than a couple of lines using other religions as analogies—not as the main point of discussion, as they imply.

  15. Broga says:

    @Laura Roberts : The bias of Christians is obvious. They censor atheists from the dire Thought for the Day. They offer vast amounts of air time to priests and deny any right of challenge. They avoid, like a super toxic plague, any possibility of an atheist discussing Christian beliefs with a priest. They suck up to the Pope and offer his minions opportunities to say how wonderful he is.

    The BBC denies atheists who pay their license fees any fair or balanced representation of their views.

  16. bill says:

    In support of moxie whenever read this site it is almost invariably bj who rudely contradicts and censures other contributors. It would be refreshing if he wound his rather lengthy and intrusive neck in a bit. Just sayin.

  17. Daz says:

    If you have a problem with something barriejohn has said (and for the record, I agree with him), then explain why you think he’s wrong. “Shut up” is the preferred tool of the very same stereotypical tantrum throwing Muslims who many in this thread have criticised for using that tactic.

  18. Trevor Blake says:

    Let me say it as well: I’d prefer it if Muslims got offended when Muslims commit murder, organize rape gangs, commit honor killings, lynch homosexuals, re-introduce open human slavery… but no. The offense is saved for artists and writers.

    I have an unalloyed sense of hatred and offense against murder (and the rest). At best, I see most Muslims say well, yes, those things are bad, but your artist and writers are also equally bad and in fact force us to do these things.

    It’s as if they don’t see themselves as human beings capable of making choices. See comic, kill artist. Worse than robots. I have more respect for them as human beings than they have for themselves.

  19. barriejohn says:

    Ironic that someone defending the principle of free speech should tell me to “shut up”!

    News International is such a paragon of virtue. Hot on the heels of the hacking fiasco comes this:

    People knew for years that Mahmood was at the very least bending the law, and yet he was given free reign. If freedom of the press is curtailed in this country (something that I would hate to see), then we know where the blame lies.

  20. barriejohn says:

    “Secularism seeks to ensure and protect freedom of religious belief and practice for all citizens. Secularism is not about curtailing religious freedoms; it is about ensuring that the freedoms of thought and conscience apply equally to all believers and non-believers alike.

    “Secularism seeks to defend the absolute freedom of religious and other belief, and protect the right to manifest religious belief insofar as it does not impinge disproportionately on the rights and freedoms of others. Secularism ensures that the right of individuals to freedom of religion is always balanced by the right to be free from religion.”

  21. Moxie says:

    Daz … read what I posted. That should be enough. If not then you need to go think things through. One mans COMPLAINT against a muslim resonates with millions but he gets hauled up in front of the beak because a muslim is “offended” and in her own words is “destroyed”. Yet muslims see fit to threaten DEATH to a gymnast for the act of mockery of their death cult faith. Now where is the balance in that. You roll over and let muslims stomp all over you but dont expect everyone else to abdicate their responsibility as you so clearly do. Go read the news and see what you get when you let islam grow unfettered.Think of Theo Van Goch,the Glaswegian shopkeeper, the atheist bloggers in Pakistan, murdered releif workers and journalists in Syria and on and on and on and on and on ….

  22. AgentCormac says:

    If you don’t understand what I mean then it’s your fault. Really, Moxie?

  23. Daz says:

    “One mans COMPLAINT against a muslim resonates with millions but he gets hauled up in front of the beak because a muslim is “offended” and in her own words is “destroyed”.”

    Bullshit. It was one man’s diatribe, in which he complained about being offended at the sight of a Muslim woman who had done no wrong, merely because she happened to share what he thought (with, at the time the diatribe was published, no supporting evidence) was the same religion as the attacker. He was doing exactly what you claim she has done. And all this at a time before any connection had been discovered between the attacker and any religious group.

    I don’t say that faux-offence by Muslims never happens. I merely say that in this instance her offence was fully justified.

  24. Daz says:

    Also this:

    “Yet muslims see fit to threaten DEATH to a gymnast for the act of mockery of their death cult faith. Now where is the balance in that.”

    I’m not talking about “Muslims.” I’m talking about Fatima Manji. To your knowledge, has she threatened death to anyone?

    And frankly, if your argument that your own words should be considered reasonable consists of “Well, I don’t send death threats,” then you’re setting a damned low bar for your definition of “reasonable.”

  25. hans throlstrup says:

    The ‘islamophobia’ she claims menaces her amounts to nothing to more than dirty looks or at worst a rude comment. Hardly comparable to ‘westernphobia’ as acted out by violent muslims.

  26. barriejohn says:

    My mother has the Daily Mail, and the number of “columnists” writing in it on a daily basis is quite unbelievable. “Opinion” has almost completely replaced factual reporting. I have a very strong suspicion that such people as Richard Littlejohn, Katie Hopkins and Kelvin Mackenzie know full well that much of what they spout is absolute horseshit, but that they also fully understand their readership, and know exactly what buttons to press to get them going – and if you read the comments on the Mail site you’ll see that it works. Just look at Mackenzie’s expression in that photo!

  27. Great Satan says:

    Fatima Manji and Channel 4 “News” are nothing more than a biased pro-muslim & leftist propaganda channel.

  28. Newspaniard says:

    There are so many lefties on this column today, it would appear that the Daily Worker has taken over publication. With islamofascists forever pushing the envelope, I (personally) have absolutely no doubt that this bloody woman knew exactly what she was doing when she produced the hijab out of nowhere. She didn’t get exactly what she wanted ie. a big fat payment of damages and a grovellingh apology from the dhimmi press but she got loads of personal publicity. I would like to speculate that CH 4 would think twice about any further commissions for this whining, islamic troublemaker.

    OK BJ. Do your worst!

  29. John says:

    All this hubbub could have been avoided if she had taken her head scarf off when reporting from Nice.
    But – no – she insisted instead on wearing it.
    No one forced her to wear it.
    She insisted on wearing it.
    One Muslim ideologue reporting on an event of mass murder by another Muslim ideologue.
    Not exactly “sensitive”, is it?