Mail Online breached the Editors’ Code with a headline which described a woman’s murder as an “Islamic honour killing”.
The article, published on 25 May, carried the headline: “Mother of four stabbed to death while her family were at a funeral ‘may have been murdered in Islamic honour killing'”.
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Complainant Miqdaad Versi said the headline was inaccurate because “honour killings” have no basis in Islam.
He noted the difference between the words “Islamic”, meaning relating to Islam as a faith, and “Muslim” meaning relating to a Muslim individual. He said that “honour killings” are rooted in culture, not religion.
Mail Online said the phrase had been used as a shorthand reference to the religion of the individuals involved.
It also noted that “honour killings” are particularly prevalent in Muslim countries.
Mail Online agreed to remove the word Islamic from the headline and publish the following footnote:
An earlier version of this article said that the police were investigating whether Mrs Khan may have been murdered in an ‘Islamic honour killing’. We are happy to make clear Islam as a religion does not support so-called ‘honour killings’.
IPSO said: “The phrase ‘Islamic honour killing’ suggested that the killing had been motivated by Islam, when there was no basis for saying that religion had played a role in this killing. “
Complainant Versi said: “It is vital that news outlets do not encourage Islamophobia through the usage of clearly inaccurate and inflammatory headlines, especially in today’s climate.
“Honour killings are barbaric acts based in culture and not in faith. The Ipso ruling demonstrates unequivocally that the usage of ‘Islamic honour killing’ constituted a significant breach in the Editor’s Code and I hope that despite being a small correction at the bottom of the article, it encourages the Mail Online to introduce safeguards to deter future inaccuracies.”
While IPSO ruled that while Mail Online had breached the Editors’ Code the website had already offered to take sufficient remedial action.