Labour leader among 108 MPs condemning article on the ‘Muslim problem’
JEREMY CORBYN joined more than 100 MPs in condemning the “nazi-like language” used in a hate-filled Sun newspaper column that called for a “solution” to the “Muslim problem.”
The Labour leader said recent stories published by the right-wing tabloid “incite Islamophobia and stigmatise entire communities,” which is “wrong and dangerous and must be condemned … in the clearest possible terms.”
He was speaking out after Sun columnist Trevor Kavanagh suggested it was “acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem.”
Writing about recent sex gang convictions, Mr Kavanagh claimed that “the common denominator is Islam.”
And he concluded his venomous tirade by asking: “What will we do about the Muslim problem then?”
Mr Corbyn said: “With hate crimes against Muslims on the rise in Britain and neonazis inciting violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, we must stand in solidarity and unity with all our communities and not let hate divide us.”
A letter initiated by Labour MP Naz Shah and signed by 107 of her parliamentary colleagues called for Sun editor Tony Gallagher to “not only retract the article” but to “strongly consider whether Mr Kavanagh’s brand of bigotry fits with your vision for the paper.”
The letter said there was “little doubt” that Mr Kavanagh was comparing Muslims to the supposed “Jewish problem” — which led to the genocide of six million people in the nazis’ “Final Solution.”
Press freedom campaigners said the publication of the column exposed the toothlessness of print media regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), which replaced the Press Complaints Commission in 2014.
Jewish and Muslim groups have complained to the regulator, but they fear it is powerless because the editors’ code offers religious and ethnic groups no protection against discrimination.
Mediawise spokesman Mike Jempson told the Star: “Public shaming of Trevor Kavanagh’s dogwhistling in Murdoch’s Sun may be the only way to demonstrate abhorrence of his views.
“He explained that a comment column counts as “freedom of expression” falling outside the terms of the editors’ code, monitored by Ipso.
While it allows individuals who have been identified in news articles to complain about discrimination, there is no protection against generalised comments.
“In other words, complaints about much of the content of Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer [a nazi newspaper] would not be upheld by Ipso if it were being published today.”
Ipso confirmed that it had received 227 complaints about the column.
The National Union of Journalists called on the press watchdog to carry out an immediate investigation into the prevalence of Islamophobia, racism and hatred being espoused in British newspapers following Mr Kavanagh’s article.