You could forgive Shabnam Mughal for not wanting to rush straight back into the limelight after last week's tabloid bullying and the hateful nonsense from the Express about alien cultures and taking away Britons' liberty. But the papers just can't seem to agree on a reason why she wasn't at the tribunal on Monday. Or rather, one paper can't seem to agree on a reason. With itself.
The Mail goes with 'Veil-row legal adviser taken off case', saying:
A legal adviser who refused an immigration tribunal judge's request to remove a full face veil has been pulled off the case which sparked the controversy.Which pretty much dovetails with the way the Telegraph has reported the case in 'Lawyer in a veil is taken off case' and the BBC in 'Veil row lawyer is taken off case'. They all more or less quote the senior partner who has taken Ms Mughal's place as saying:
"It is not an issue of us backing down. We represent clients and our duty is to make sure that their interests are at the forefront of our mind. The decision was made in the interests of our client, given all the publicity.(That extended quote is from the Telegraph).
"This doesn't reflect in anyway on her ability or on whether she can or cannot wear a veil in court. Nothing has changed as far as that is concerned. She has worn the veil in courts around the country before without a problem."
But the Sun gets all confused and goes with a similar theme one day with 'Veil row lawyer taken off case' (although it carefully neglects to quote the bit about Mughal wearing her veil before without a problem), and then contradicts itself the next, with 'Veil row lawyer's no show at court':
VEIL-row lawyer Shabnam Mughal dodged a new court confrontation yesterday — by going sick.And some selective quoting misses out all the other bits from the Mail, Telegraph, the BBC and its own coverage from the previous day (remember from 'BURN THE WITCH!' that the paper goes as far as printing pictures of the previous day's story when it wants readers to remember). The Sun's second version of events has her being cowardly and skiving off, whereas other sources and its own previous account contradict. Which one is true?
The answer is both. Sort of. The Telegraph, as always, includes the relevant information. I have to say, I sometimes have a kind of grudging respect for the Telegraph. Yes, it puts its own Tory spin on stories and sometimes just makes stuff up, but at least it doesn't always deliberately leave out relevant information like other papers. It says:
Javid Hussain, the practise manager at the Law Partnership, said Miss Mughal had called in sick although it was decided over the weekend to replace her.It's likely that the Sun missed the quote from Javid Hussain the day before, and then decided to ignore everything else to make Ms Mughal look like a cowardly skiver when it found it out - ignoring the part where Mr Hussain says the decision had been made over the weekend anyway. This is pretty dishonest. Most people would tend to assume that new information trumps old if the two contradict each other. I'd bet most Sun readers who saw this thought, 'Ah, so they were lying yesterday when they said she was pulled off the case,' and if the paper were at all interested in letting them know the truth, it would clarify. But it doesn't.
Still, in amidst a little bit more childish bullying, the paper gives us some idea of why she might have taken a day off sick from work:
There was no answer at British-born Miss Mug-hal’s home in Foleshill.Note the clever spotting of the fact that the first three letters of her surname spells 'Mug'. Given the poor quality of the wit on display here, it would be customary to mention Oscar Wilde or George Bernard Shaw spinning in their graves at this juncture, but I won't. If they had their choice I'm sure they'd rather forego the grave-spinning and opt for punching this bloke in the belly and calling him a twat.
Anyway - the BBC at least corroborates this aspect of the story in 'Veil row case 'serves justice''. Not the shit joke - you know:
She was not answering her door at her home in Coventry today.Wonder why.
So, it appears that the law firm decided to replace Ms Mughal over the weekend to avoid publicity and there were journalists camped on her doorstep yesterday so she phoned in sick. Of course, the Mail spins the story a certain way - creating an impression that the decision is somehow punitive before quoting Abdul Khan from the Law Partnership. God knows what the Express said because I missed yesterday's coverage and they don't have a searchable archive. I'm sure they would have gone with something about her draining the blood of Christian boys or something. And the Sun thinks, 'Sod it, that's not good enough. Let's just ignore the things that don't make her look bad and take the piss out of her funny foreign name.'
You know what? I bet they were dying to use that pun all weekend and were gutted that Mughal wasn't at the tribunal.