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The Woman who cried wolf

Cathy Newman is slammed on social media as #FictionOn4 trends

Pictures speak volumes. In Cathy Newman’s case, images from a mosque CCTV camera also spoke volumes, they exposed her as a liar, writes Dilly Hussain.

The senior Channel 4 reporter’s claims that she was “ushered out of the door” when visiting a London mosque last week, were disproven when the Huffington Post [1] obtained security footage showing Newman exiting the premises on her own.

Newman’s subsequent tweets on the day describing her version of events caused uproar on social media, which resulted in harsh criticism of the South London Islamic Centre in Streatham, and the Muslim community in general. Her tweets were picked up by the Daily Mail [2], Guardian [3], Independent [4] amongst other media outlets, who amid the Islamophobic diatribe taking place on social media, decided to crucify the Muslim community based on Newman’s fabrications.

An example of this was LBC Radio’s tabloid presenter, Nick Ferrari [5], who dedicated a significant part of his show to batter the Muslim community based on Newman’s tweets, until he was put in his place by a Jewish woman who pulled him up on his bigotry. And of course, you had the usual government approved Muslim opportunists who tried to milk the situation to advance their own political ambitions in parroting Newman’s unsubstantiated claims that women being prevented from entering mosques are a common practice. But this is not surprising. Though Newman is not a seasoned Islamophobe like the BBC’s John Ware [6], The Telegraph’s Andrew Gilligan [7] or Daily Mail’s Richard Little John [8], ‘Muslim bashing’ be it physical, verbal or in writing, has become a fashionable method for a quick PR boost for many journalists. It’s the ‘in thing’ at the moment, and has been since 7/7 and post-Woolwich.

Read today’s Islamic article:

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The CCTV footage revealed that Newman was mistakenly directed to the wrong mosque, where upon entering, she exchanged a few words with a worshiper that can’t have amounted to longer than 15 seconds, before she left the premises on her own without a man “ushering her through the door” or “onto the streets”.

When this whole fiasco kicked off, South London Islamic Centre [9] made it clear from the onset that all of this was a misunderstanding due to Newman visiting the wrong mosque – but this was taken with a pinch of salt and totally disregarded by the press. So why should the British public and media accept Newman’s justifications of her irresponsible tweets as a mere “misunderstanding”? It’s easy to make a half-hearted ‘apology’ once the damage is done. It then begs the question, why did Newman blatantly lie knowing that it would fan anti-Muslim hatred online, which led to the mosque receiving violent threats and abuse online? Perhaps only Cathy’s invisible usher knows, but she needs to swallow her pride and do the following unless she wants to be haunted by this embarrassing episode for the rest of her career:

  1. Make a public apology for lying against the South London Islamic Centre.
  2. Make a public apology to the Muslim community for fanning Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
  3. Explain exactly why she lied.
  4. Publicly admit that her tweets resulted in anti-Muslim hatred online and violent threats against the mosque.

It really is that simple. Newman can redeem herself in a single tweet: ‘I apologise to South London Islamic Centre and the Muslim community for lying, which fuelled anti-Muslim hatred online and Islamophobia.’ (135 characters) In return Newman could:

  1. Still be considered a reputable journalist who like all human beings made a mistake, as opposed to a politically driven Islamophobe.
  2. Muslims will stop calling for her to get sacked, and inundating C4 with complaints.
  3. The relentless trolling and memes of her being escorted by a red stickman and American R’n’B singer Usher will stop.

After making contact with Newman, I asked her whether she acknowledged that her tweets had fuelled anti-Muslim hatred online and threats of violence against the mosque – if so, will she apologise for this? If not, what exactly has she apologised for? Was she merely apologising for getting caught? I am yet to hear back from her. Whatever her reasons may be, in reality, if it wasn’t for the CCTV footage, Newman would have got away with her lies which would’ve tarnished the South London Islamic Centre’s reputation, and been a continuous source of ammunition against the Muslim community.

It is also important to note, that on Newman’s Twitter account, she does not state the usual disclaimer, “all views are my own and not that of my employers”, but makes it crystal clear that she is an employee of C4. On the news channel’s website, it states under its social media guidelines for staff: “Behaviour that is inappropriate at work is usually not appropriate on the internet. On Channel 4 designated sites and sites where you identify yourself as a person working on C4 output, avoid abusive or aggressive behaviour and respond to others in a professional manner”, and “If there is a risk that the opinions published could be viewed as those of Channel 4, it is usually appropriate to post a disclaimer e.g. “These comments are my personal views and opinions, not the views or opinions of Channel 4”.” [10] Taking the aforementioned into consideration, it’s clear that Newman’s actions have brought the profession of journalism and C4 into disrepute.

You can file a complaint to Channel 4 via the details provided below, as well as Cathy’s personal work email and that of her agent.

Work email: [email protected]

Cathy’s agent: [email protected]

Complain to Channel 4: http://www.channel4.com/4viewers/faq/name/complainc4/id/400288141

Sign and share the petition calling for channel 4 to fire Cathy Newman for inciting hatred and her lack of integrity https://www.change.org/p/channel-4-fire-cathy-newman-for-incitement-to-hatred-and-lack-of-integrity

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes: @DillyHussain88

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/05/cathy-newman-mosque_n_6620026.html
  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2935227/Sexism-row-Channel-4-News-presenter-Cathy-Newman-turned-away-mosque-despite-respectfully-dressed-Visit-Mosque-day.html
  3. http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/feb/02/cathy-newman-turned-away-from-mosque-on-visitmymosque-day
  4. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mixup-not-sexism-as-channel-4-presenter-cathy-newman-is-turned-away-from-a-mosque-on-visit-my-mosque-day-10016835.html
  5. https://www.islam21c.com/politics/nick-ferrari-anti-muslim-bias-exposed-by-callers/
  6. http://5pillarsuk.com/2015/01/19/dilly-hussain-john-ware-its-time-to-hang-up-the-boots/
  7. http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/11/andrew-gilligan-islamism-press
  8. http://mend.org.uk/littlejohns-anti-muslim-bigotry-exposed/
  9. http://www.mcb.org.uk/streatham-newan-response-020215/
  10. http://www.mcb.org.uk/streatham-newan-response-020215/

 

About Dilly Hussain

Dilly Hussain is the deputy editor of British Muslim news site 5Pillars. He is also a political blogger for the Huffington Post and a features writer for Al Jazeera specialising on human rights. He regularly appears on Islam Channel, Russia Today, BBC Look East, BBC South and BBC radio stations discussing Middle East and North African politics, as well as domestic stories concerning British Muslims.

13 comments

  1. Forgive and forget people, why so vindictive and brutal.

    Perhaps we have missed a golden opportunity here, would have been better if she was invited to the same masjid again and hosted with warmth, compassion and forgiveness, perhaps then she would have been moved to admit her error – but trying to get her sacked, somehow I dont think it will soften her heart, if anything it will only motivate and harden the resolve to actually prove her point, if not this time then certainly next time

    We want to be pardoned and forgiven for our shortcomings yet the moment someone makes one error we want them to lose their livelyhood and be stripped of their career?

    “Do not let your hatred of a people cause you to be unjust, BE JUST, that is closer to Taqwa” [Quran]

    We are not even in a position to be making threats brothers and sisters, we are actually the weaker party here, warding off harm preceeds drawing benefit – it would be more constructive, intelligent and favourable to us as a community if we were to take the initiative for once and extend the hand of friendship and forgiveness rather than waving the firy fist of fury.

    Forgvive and forget, there are bigger problems to resolve as a comunity, if we are unnable and unwilling to pardon the small things how can be have hope for the greater problems.

    I pray that readers are not so pathetic as to send threats and insults to the journalist (seeing as there is an implicit attempt to encourage it by providing her email details at the end of the article) because that will only give ammo to the gunner, remember – she is a journalist and works for a major network, she should have to WORK to find dirt on us, we are not supposed to deliver it to her inbox free of charge.

    Wa Aleikum Salaam

  2. The misreprentation and demonization of Islam will always exist, we should not be surprised. From the very onset of Islam the enemies and opponents of Islam mocked and ridiculed. And of course there are misguided Muslims just like in any other religion. However,I have a different way of looking at things, this is only further proof of the authenticity of the Quran which states that the enemies of Islam would like to extinguish the light of Islam. May Allaah guide the haters to the truth and expose them if they persist. Peace…

  3. Dilly Hussain, it’s articles like this that cause islamophobia. Cathy Newman apologised and spoke wonders about the second mosque she attended yet your witch hunt does not do you any credits. Shame on you.

    • Rocio Deliot,

      She apologised for a misunderstanding (after causing the media frenzy) but, she has NOT apologised for lying. In fact, she tweeted that the mosque had apologised to her after the incident. So, she and the media onslaught forced the mosque to accept a lie because of a fear of a backlash from bigots in the media and public. Absolutely heinous

    • Rocio Deliot, how is this article causing Islamphobia? Cathy Newman in her “apology” still lied. As the CCTV footage shows and indeed, she didn’t really apologize. And because it is her tweets that led to Muslim-haters getting to attack people and even say (like Nick Ferrari) that her version is the truth compared to others that were there being told they are lying to cover up some sinister agenda. THAT is Islamophobic, not this article.

      I’m happy she had a good time at the other mosque, but seriously, she needs to make a strong admittance statement that she was very wrong and explain why. We are always told that we have to condemn in the harshest terms all acts committed by those who say they are Muslim, but when someone like this does something, we want to just say “she didn’t mean it.” BS.

    • Rocio – you’ve managed to successfully miss the substantive point – she’s lied about something – she’s been found it. As a result of her actions, the Mosque has received all sorts of threats. She needs to do a little more don’t you think? Bless!!

  4. Assalaamu alaykum,

    May Allaah reward the people who have made the effort to point out the flaws in the way this journalist’s experience was reported and the media bandwagon that many people jumped on.

    Obviously the way this incident was reported by this reporter and the image that was portrayed of Muslims hospitality was not favourable.

    The woman in question has apologized in part for her “misunderstanding“ but not for the damage she has caused to the way Muslims have been perceived in this case due to her incorrect interpretation of events.

    However let’s be fair. Is this the first time she has done something like this or ihas this happened before? If so, how many times and how serious have the previous incidents been?

    If this is the first time from her then can we not forgive her and give her a chance and time to respond?

    Is it really necessary for people to call for her resignation?

    Where is the spirit of forgiveness in all of this?

    Are we going to call for the resignation of every person that incorrectly expresses their experiences with Muslims?

    Or would it be better to explain our side of the events and let those involved know how we feel and the extent of the damage that was caused by their actions? And maybe what can be done to correct the damage?

    • Wasalaam,
      Islam is a very merciful religion
      I aam with you in the belief that if a person has made a mistake, admits their mistake and tries to move on then we should accept if their actions match their words.

      For a person to say that their actions were a ‘misunderstanding’, when it clearly was more than that, how can forgiveness be sought when there is no remorse shown?

      Wasalaam

  5. She is saying that she did get ushered out but her meaning of usher is to be told by the guy at the mosque to get out not physically push her out.

    perhaps you can write an article on why muslims are so obsessed in trying to appear all nice and peace loving by doing these open days. makes zero difference on ppls opinion of islam apart from taking some selfies with some smiling brothers and sisters who feel like they have done something great

    • Musa, Dude what’s your problem it sounds like you had some personal issues with Muslims and Islam maybe you were or ineed are a Muslim, resulting in a massive chip on your shoulder….

    • For Da’wah maybe? If her meaning of ushering is different as you said that why would she apologize in the first place.

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