‘Violent and Dangerous Reprisals’

Daily Star, the trashy UK newspaper, has dropped plans to publish a spoof called the “Daily Fatwa”. Headlined “how your favorite paper would look under Muslim law”, the mock section featured a “Page 3 Burkha Babes Special” and an editorial titled “Allah is Great” followed by a blank column stamped “censored”. A newsroom revolt led to a meeting of the ...

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606603_star5.gif

Daily Star, the trashy UK newspaper, has dropped plans to publish a spoof called the “Daily Fatwa”. Headlined "how your favorite paper would look under Muslim law", the mock section featured a “Page 3 Burkha Babes Special” and an editorial titled "Allah is Great" followed by a blank column stamped “censored”. A newsroom revolt led to a meeting of the National Union of Journalists, which issued this statement:

[T]his editorial content poses a very serious risk of violent and dangerous reprisals from religious fanatics who may take offence at these articles. This may place the staff in great jeopardy.

Muslim commentators applauded the decision to bin the project. They had warned that publication could have set off worldwide protests like those reacting to the cartoons of Muhammad. For his part, UK Culture Minister David Lammy argued recently that

Daily Star, the trashy UK newspaper, has dropped plans to publish a spoof called the “Daily Fatwa”. Headlined “how your favorite paper would look under Muslim law”, the mock section featured a “Page 3 Burkha Babes Special” and an editorial titled “Allah is Great” followed by a blank column stamped “censored”. A newsroom revolt led to a meeting of the National Union of Journalists, which issued this statement:

[T]his editorial content poses a very serious risk of violent and dangerous reprisals from religious fanatics who may take offence at these articles. This may place the staff in great jeopardy.

Muslim commentators applauded the decision to bin the project. They had warned that publication could have set off worldwide protests like those reacting to the cartoons of Muhammad. For his part, UK Culture Minister David Lammy argued recently that

Freedom does not mean that regard for others no longer matters. Having the right to be offensive does not mean that it is right to be offensive.

It’s a shame that the threat of mob violence—rather than other factors—appears to have been the decisive element in the paper’s decision not to offend.

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