Daily Mail slammed for 'blatant Islamophobia' as it rails against MCB
The Daily Mail has been roundly attacked for its 'gutter journalism' and 'blatant Islamophobia' after it attempted to smear Tory leadership hopeful Penny Mordaunt for meeting the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
Mordaunt met Zara Mohammed, Secretary General of the MCB, last year and tweeted that she was ‘looking forward to working with' Mohammed.
The paper claims this 'infuriated ministers' as the government has a policy of not engaging with the MCB. No.10 apparently asked her to take down the tweet, but the tweet remains.
Even though this story was revealed last year, the Daily Mail, which has published several articles critical of Mordaunt, saw fit to give the old story a front-page splash on Monday.
"I seem to be on the front page of the Daily Mail," tweeted Mohammed.
"A paper that has regularly reinforced negative tropes about British Muslims. Today it reinforced that trope by reporting on a supposedly ‘controversial' meeting I had with Penny Mordaunt last year which was widely known.
"You would have thought that meeting the first woman leader of the largest Muslim umbrella body would be welcomed and applauded. Not so. Instead, the Daily Mail’s sources engage in their own ‘cancel culture’, insisting that I be ‘boycotted’."
Painting the MCB as 'foreign' and 'un-British'
The Labour government initially broke off relations with the MCB in 2009 due to the actions of a former member before restoring links a year later. But the Tories have shunned the organisation since coming into power in 2010.
Mohammed added in the tweet thread that the Daily Mail "pushes a narrative by divisive commentators who are keen to paint @MuslimCouncil as foreign and un-British.
"With a 25 year history, I am held responsible for events that occurred when I was a teenager and bear no relevance to British Muslim communities today.
"I think it’s good to talk. I’ve had the pleasure of engaging with politicians from across the spectrum, including some Conservatives. But this ‘boycott’ seems to be relentlessly pursued by unnamed individuals at the heart of government.
"Muslims in the Conservative party have long faced Islamophobia. And key figures are advocating discrimination of a faith community by doubling down non-engagement with MCB. It is sad to see how this Islamophobia is now weaponised in the Conservative Party leadership contest.
"Sadly this is part of the ongoing delegitimisation of Muslims in the public space, and of Muslim women who overcome so much to have their voices heard."
Mohammed has met with politicians from all political backgrounds since becoming the Secretary General in 2021, including Labour Leader Keir Starmer and Lib Dems leader Sir Ed Davey. Conservative MP Steve Baker has also urged the government to meet and restore links with the MCB.
Support for MCB
Politicians from across the political spectrum and pundits have called out the Daily Mail and the Tory Party, accusing it of using anti-Muslim tropes to influence the party's right-wing voter base ahead of the leadership elections.
"Comments by some bloke are used 13 years later to smear a one-nation woman minister and PM candidate @PennyMordaunt and the first woman Sec-Gen of Britains leading Muslim organisation @ZaraM01. This bullshit attack on women & minorities needs to called out by all fair minded folk," tweeted Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, former chairman of the Conservative Party.
Labour MP for Manchester Gorton Afzal Khan tweeted: "Pathetic attempt by Daily Mail to delegitimise @ZaraM01. Zara made history by becoming the first female & youngest Secretary General of the MCB. Islamophobia is rampant in the UK & instead the Gvt refuses to meet with the largest British Muslim organisation."
Baroness Hussein-Ece from the Liberal Democrat tweeted: "You are quite right to highlight the unsurprising & blatant Islamophobia displayed by @MailOnline in its pathetic front page. The very rag who deny it exists."
Many more commentators, academics and journalists have hit out at the right-wing newspaper.