Following yet another controversial article in The Times by Andrew Norfolk, whose targeting of Muslims has been exposed in a recent report UNMASKED: Andrew Norfolk, The Times Newspaper And Anti-Muslim Reporting – A Case To Answer, the East London Mosque has written to the editor of the newspaper:

Your article Al Rayan Bank: Clients include ‘terror’ group and Abu Hamza’s former mosque (5 Aug 2019), and the associated lead article are skewed and sensationalised, portraying Muslim organisations as threatening, and recycling dated, one-sided accusations.

Sadly, this comes as no surprise; a recent report about the article’s author, Andrew Norfolk, criticises him for misconstruing facts, and notes The Times was previously forced to apologise following the misrepresentation of Muslim foster parents in articles based on his investigations. The report concludes that The Times “repeatedly failed to do basic fact checking in a number of stories targeting Muslims and routinely omitted essential context. This resulted not just in a litany of falsehoods about Muslims, but served to amplify an increasingly prevalent Islamophobia and fuel an emboldened racist agenda in the context of a higher level of hate crimes.”

Andrew Norfolk has also been criticised by the Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) for the “scapegoating of Muslims and Muslim civil society”.

The reliance on ‘research’ by the controversial Henry Jackson Society, a neoconservative organisation notorious for its divisive agenda against Muslims, further undermines the investigation’s credibility.

In referencing people who spoke at our mosque over a decade ago, The Times makes no reference to clarifications given previously, nor to the subsequent tightening of our procedures in the years since. The East London Mosque is a reputable institution with a strong track record in working for the common good. The Times in these articles does itself, its readers and our community a great disservice.

In our view, the relentlessly negative portrayal of Muslims and Muslim organisations by The Times raises serious concerns. For this reason, we are backing calls for The Times to refer to itself to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission for “an urgent, independent and credible investigation” into anti-Muslim bias in its reporting.