A campaigner has said he is powerless to complain about a Sun column criticising Muslims because the Editors’ Code gives no protection to minority groups.
In a column on immigration, Sun comment writer Trevor Kavanagh said “…there is one unspoken fear, gagged by political correctness, which links Britain and the rest of Europe.
“The common denominator, almost unsayable until last week’s furore over Pakistani sex gangs, is Islam.
“Thanks to former equalities chief Trevor Phillips, and Labour MPs such as Rotherham’s Sarah Champion, it is acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem.
“One of the Pakistani perverts starkly identified the gulf between some Muslim men and the white British women they regard as prey: ‘They are good for one thing, for me to f*** and use like trash’.”
He concluded his column by saying: “What will we do about The Muslim Problem then?”
Miqdaad Versi has made numerous complaints to press regulator IPSO and secured 30 national press corrections over reporting of Islam and Muslims.
He said: “In a week where we have seen the serious challenges of neo-Nazi plots against Muslims, we have a national newspaper asking its readers to consider what solution there should be for ‘The Muslim Problem’. What would be the reaction if this was about any other minority faith or racial group?
“It is seriously disappointing that the press regulator IPSO is not willing to afford protection for groups against incitement to hatred or violence.
“One can only hope that IPSO’s stated goal of maintaining ‘the highest professional standards’is more than just words on a website, and action can be taken to reprimand their own board member Trevor Kavanagh.”
The Editors’ Code is drawn up by the Editors’ Code Committee which includes the chairman and chief executive of IPSO.
The Editors’ Code states: “i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s, race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
“ii) Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.”
While the code protects individuals from discrimination it does not do the same for religious and ethnic groups.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews, Tell MAMA and Faith Matters have nonetheless submitted a joint complaint to press regulator IPSO.
In a statement they said: “The printing of the phrase ‘The Muslim Problem’ – particularly with the capitalisation and italics for emphasis – in a national newspaper sets a dangerous precedent, and harks back to the use of the phrase ‘The Jewish Problem’ in the last century, to which the Nazis responded with ‘The Final Solution’ – the Holocaust.
A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies said: “We were horrified to read this in The Sun today, and we feel that it warrants swift condemnation by IPSO, and a prompt retraction and an apology by The Sun. We will not tolerate indiscriminate attacks in the media on any faith community.”
The Sun today ran a letter from Versi responding to Kavanagh: