I haven’t blogged for a short while now for one reason or another, but felt compelled to put together something brief having seen two textbook examples of tabloid misinformation whipping up anti-Muslim hysteria this week. It should come as no surprise that the tabloids in question are The Sun and The Daily Mail. Here is the first example:
Premier League fizz ‘ban for Muslims’
EXCLUSIVE By NEIL SYSON
PREMIER League sponsors Barclays are considering dropping champagne as the Man of the Match award to avoid offending Muslim players.
Manchester City ace Yaya Toure turned down the traditional prize after his side beat Newcastle three weeks ago.
As teammate Joleon Lescott tried to hand him a bottle on live TV, Yaya, 29, said: “I don’t drink because I am a Muslim, so you keep it.”
Manchester United stars are said to have joked a week later that they had better make the most of the bubbly in case it gets scrapped.
A source said: “The bank is all over the bottle, so Barclays wonder whether it is acceptable to give alcohol, given that so many nationalities are in the league.”
That’s it, in it’s entirety. It’s pretty standard stuff. The headline implies that this will happen, the next sentence elaborates that Barclays are merely considering it. It is then claimed that a rival team’s players ‘are said’ to have joked about it, and the final sentence is a quote from ‘a source’ stating that Barclays are ‘wondering’ about it. Any quote attributed to ‘a source’ in a non story of this nature can reasonably be expected to be a fabrication. There is no substance or evidence to validate any of the second hand speculation made here. There is no suggestion that Yaya Toure took offence, or any previous history of Muslim players taking offence in such instances.
Without too much effort I can see that Newcastle’s Demba Ba won three Man of the Match awards this season, Papiss Cisse, also of Newcastle won another three, Bosniak Edin Dzeko of Manchester City won it twice, Samir Nasri won two awards since his move to Man City and three with Arsenal the previous season, Wigan’s Omani goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi won the award three times and Newcastle’s French attacker Hatem Ben Arfa won it twice. That’s fifteen bottles of Champagne won by Muslims in the Premier League (there may have been many more) without any offence or outrage.
It may be speculation on my part, but it appears to me that a footballer has alluded to an aspect of his faith, just happening to be Islam, in a televised interview, and tabloid hacks have seized on it with relish and have spun it with dollops of ‘poetic licence’ that they know would obviously appeal to their readership.
What was the reaction to this scare story?
Remember this the next time the Sun attempts to distance themselves from the EDL.
It seems that a football club can be owned by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, play in the Etihad Stadium and win trophies courtesy of close to £500,000,000 of Arab oil money and a supremely gifted player like Yaya Toure. But if said player chooses to forego the customary bottle of French bubbly out of adherence to his faith, it’s yet another sign that creeping sharia is continuing it’s unstoppable invasion of British culture. Rather than applaud or respect Toure for being a good role model, an exemplary professional and a fantastic athlete, the EDL prefer to make ‘jokes’ about goats, bacon, paedophilia and repatriation, whilst embracing and worshipping the likes of Joey Barton, John Terry and Wayne Rooney.
The second story was brought to us by the Daily Mail:
Pregnant daughter-in-law of Abu Hamza is caught smuggling phone card to hate cleric under burka
Some of the more pertinent details follow:
The pregnant daughter-in-law of hate cleric Abu Hamza tried to smuggle a mobile phone SIM card into his high security prison under her burka, the Appeal Court heard yesterday.
Security guards at Belmarsh Prison found the card in the coin pocket of her jeans beneath her flowing robes.
Chaymae Smak, 28, of Wandsworth, south London, was jailed for 12 months at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 4 after she was convicted of conveying a prohibited article into prison.
Smak stood in the dock of the court throughout the 30 minute hearing, clad in a robe and headscarf covering her face up to her eyes.
What immediately struck me was, not how this was another example of why the burka is a security risk that needs to banned for our safety, but how f***ing big was this SIM card? I mean, every SIM card I’ve seen is pretty small. The standard size according to Wikipedia is 25mm x 15mm and maybe 1mm thick. An object of these dimensions wouldn’t be visible through denim let alone with ‘flowing robes’ from head to toe. It’s worth remembering that the purpose of the abaya (the robe like garment) is to preserve the modesty of the wearer, by obscuring the shape of the female form. If a garment of this nature can hide feminine curves, a tiny SIM card is not going to be much bother.
I can’t claim to be familiar with the security measures at Belmarsh Prison, but it’s Category A so I imagine they’re fairly strict and thorough. According to this information the procedure includes a rub down and a metal detector. The article doesn’t give any insight into which part of the process uncovered the hidden SIM card, so I’m going to hazard a guess that the metal in the card triggered the metal detector. Just a hunch.
Leaving sarcasm to one side for a moment, this is a truly ridiculous attempt to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria. There is absolutely no possibility that the burqa was being used to conceal the SIM card. The fact that Smak wore a similar garment for the hearing is clearly an indication that this is standard attire for her. Does the Daily Mail seriously expect their readership to ignore the obvious absurdity of this story and not see through the transparent dishonesty?
Under her burka! Whoever would have thought of that idea? – Brian, Australia, 24/5/2012 1:40
Ban this Burka from UKs public places. It is disgusting to see these Burka wearers particularly in the morning time when people are coming out of their homes. – MGeorge, London, England, 24/5/2012 9:58
One good reason for the burka to be banned – sue, brisbane, 23/5/2012 22:58
Answer: Ban the Burkha – Robert, Buffalo, NY USAb, 23/5/2012 23:04
She could have had anything hidden under those robes when visiting the prison and when in court. – Susan, Manchester, 24/5/2012 15:57
BAN THE BURKHA!! – The Spectre, In the Mist, 24/5/2012 14:40
Come on, France did it, now it’s time we ban it too. – Mark, London, 24/5/2012 14:36
When England becomes an Islamic state, you will all have to wear these clothes. – shanky, Liverpool, 24/5/2012 14:17
When will these horrid garments be banned? If the French can do it then so can we. – SP, Chesterfield Part of what used to be Great Britain, 24/5/2012 12:14
Ban the burka now. It does not look right in this country and never will. – Robert, Leicestershire, 24/5/2012 7:54
And there we have it. The piece did exactly what it was intended to do. Stoke up resentment towards Muslims. Let’s not forget that the Daily Mail also attempt to feign disgust at the antics of the EDL when it suits them. Let’s also remind ourselves that Mail columnist Melanie Phillips had work cited by Anders Breivik in his manifesto and would give Pam Geller a run for her money in the anti-Muslim lunacy stakes. These horribly bigoted media outlets intentionally demonise Muslims to titillate their reactionary readership, with absolutely no regard for what the consequences may be for innocent people going about their daily business. These are the UK’s most read online newspapers, a depressing indication of how socially acceptable Islamophobia still is.