Several news websites have wrongly claimed that footballer Romelu Lukaku is a “devout Muslim” who could not collect an alcoholic man of the match award because of his faith.
In fact the Manchester United striker is a practising Christian who is known to make the sign of the cross during matches – and reads the Bible “three times a day”, according to the Christian Today website.
“Lukaku, a devout Muslim, could not pose with the alcoholic prize from Heineken,” said Mail Online, which published the claim on Tuesday.
In an article published the same day, Mirror Online said Lukaku was “ruled out of receiving the man of the match award after his goal helped win the Manchester derby in Houston – because of his Muslim faith.”
Both articles remain live and unamended.
In articles published the following day, which have now been taken down, the Sun and the Express went on to repeat the mistake.
Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, told Press Gazette he found these inaccuracies “seriously disappointing”.
“This latest inaccuracy on an issue related to Muslims appears to be due to woefully poor journalism lacking even basic due diligence by one paper, with the story then replicated without fact-checking on other media platforms.
“Yet, we also need to ask why this was considered a story in the first place. Is it because it is another example to show a Muslim apart from the rest of society?”
This latest error comes after Irish Newspaper The Herald published an article mistakenly using a picture of grime artist Stormzy alongside a story about Lukaku.
Picture: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson