Bullying and smearing

In 'More bullying? Surely some mistake?' I spoke a bit about how I thought claims in the Times and the Daily Mail that one of the 7/7 bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, had attended the Markazi seminary while Aisha Amzi's father was headmaster were a bit fishy. I said at the time that I thought the claim was the result of a mistake, confusing the name of the seminary in Dewsbury with a similar sounding one in Pakistan. Whether or not this is true, we'd all do well to remember that the press are more than capable of being complicit in far more sinister and deliberate smears.

Back in July, after the dodgy Forest Gate raid, there were a couple of attempts at smearing the two men whose house was raided by police. The first was the revelation that a large sum of money had been found at the address. That turned out to be not as odd as it might have seemed, because Islam can be said to prohibit the accrual of interest, so investing in a bank would be out of the question. The second, much nastier claim was that images of child pornography had been found on computer equipment at the address. Obsolete has more in depth coverage of this, but the short version is that the CPS have dropped the case, in what amount to very suspicious circumstances. The important thing from the point of view of this blog is that it's highly unlikely that the Sun will ever cover the dropping of the charges, and the men will continue to be connected to child pornography in the minds of its readers. As far as whoever is responsible for this is concerned . . . bingo!

*UPDATE* Thanks to Obsolete for pointing out that the Sun have covered the charges being dropped. They mention the money, make allegations of benefit fraud and draw attention to other allegations against the brothers, but they mention the child porn charges being dropped at least.

There was a similar smear of Jean Charles De Menezes earlier this year, involving rape allegations.

Back to the case of Aisha Amzi's father's alleged connections to terrorists, and we see the claims repeated in today's Daily Express story 'Hard line cleric had told banned teacher to wear veil in class'. This paper's claim - buried this time in another incredibly shoddy piece of journalism - is far less strong than the one in last week's Mail:
Last week it was revealed that suicide bomber Tanweer was believed to have been a former pupil of the hard-line Islamic seminary run by Azmi’s father Dr Mohammed Mulk.
Remember that the Mail said the connection had been reported many times and never denied. Here, the Express says it was revealed last week. Remember that the Times said he attended the seminary. Here, the Express says he was believed to have. Which one is right?

Of course, the Express has covered its arse in case the other papers ever have to retract their claims. It was revealed last week that Tanweer was believed to have attended the seminary. The Express have made no positive claims that Tanweer did attend the seminary. Doesn't speak much for the paper's confidence in the claims of the Times or the Mail, does it?

I've still not found any reference from before 21 October. I haven't heard from either the Times or the Mail about references. Surprised?

So, the allegations have spread, whether they're the product of a stupid mistake or a deliberate fabrication. Given the mosque's reluctance to speak to the press, we're unlikely ever to find out and the PCC are highly unlikely to uphold a complaint from anyone not directly involved. Great, eh?

Again - if anyone's aware of any coverage of Tanweer attending the seminary that originates before the Times' 21 October article, please say so in the comments.


septicisle said...

Turns out I was wrong, and the Sun did cover it, but with their very rather specious reasoning and mendacious justification in the editioral.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

So they did. Updated the post, thanks.

Still, how many people are going to remember the charges were dropped, and how many are going to think they got away with it?