LONDON: The Times newspaper has been ordered to correct a front-page story titled “Christian child forced into Muslim foster care,” after a ruling from the UK’s independent press regulator.
The story, published Aug. 30, 2017, was one of three front-page articles published by the paper that month about a five-year-old Christian girl who was placed with Muslim foster carers in March 2017.
Coverage by The Times said the girl had been forced to live with a “niqab-wearing foster carer” and had been “sobbing and begging” not to be sent back because the carers did not speak English, an allegation that has since proved to be false.
The paper also claimed the carers removed the girl’s crucifix necklace, prevented her from eating bacon and encouraged her to learn Arabic.
The Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) said that The Times’s coverage was “distorted,” after an investigation found the allegations to be unsubstantiated. The investigation was carried out by Tower Hamlets, the local council that had taken the child into care.
Wednesday’s edition of the paper mentioned the ruling on the front page and carried full details on page 2 and online.
3, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said: “The Times should be forced to apologize for promoting what was widely known to be an inaccurate, misleading and bigoted narrative about Muslims.
The story aided the hate-filled agenda of far-right extremists such as Britain First and the English Defense League.
“We hope that this front-page note will mark a turning point in the tolerance The Times has shown for anti-Muslim bigotry in its coverage and commentary.”
Miqdaad Versi, who heads the MCB’s work on media representation of Muslims, said: “While IPSO’s ruling on this shameful incidence of anti-Muslim reporting is welcome, their response thus far has been too little, too late.
“There needs to be a fundamental review to ensure this never happens again.”