Star pulls Muslim spoof at 11th hour as NUJ condemns 'moment of madness'

The Daily Star this week pulled a spoof "Daily Fatwah" page just before the presses started rolling following a revolt from the paper's NUJ chapel.

New deputy editor Ben Knowles — who joined the paper from men's magazine Zoo in September — was in charge at the time.

Planned features on the page headed "How Britain's favourite newspaper would look under Muslim rule", included a page-three "burka babes special" and a blank editorial stamped "censored".

All copies of the page have been deleted from the production system, but Press Gazette has acquired what is believed to be the only surviving proof (see Press Gazette magazine out today).

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: "This was an outrageous and hugely irresponsible idea which our chapel courageously resisted, and in so doing protected the paper and its staff from possible serious repercussions.

"The union's code of conduct condemns this sort of gratuitous material, which is likely to encourage discrimination and hatred in our society. We are calling on the Daily Star to act wisely and responsibly and put this moment of madness behind them for good."

It is understood that the page had been signed off by senior executives when around 12 members of the Daily Star NUJ chapel held an emergency meeting at 8.30pm.

They passed a motion expressing "deep concern at the content of page six, which we consider to be deliberately offensive to Muslims.

It said: "The chapel fears that this editorial content poses a very serious risk of violent and dangerous reprisals from religious fanatics who may take offence at these articles."

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