One Tory MP, Philip Davies, was quoted venting outrage at this act of vandalism. "If there's anybody who should fuck off," Davies was quoted as saying, "it'sthe Muslims who are doing this kind of thing. Police should pull out the stops to track down these vile thugs".
The Sun left its readers in no doubt as to why the outrage had been committed. Local Muslims were waging a vendetta against four British soldiers who hoped to rent the house on their return from serving their country in Afghanistan. The paper quoted an army source saying that: "these guys have done nothing but bravely serve their country – yet they can't even live where they want in their own".
But there was one very big problem with The Sun story. There was no Muslim involvement of any kind. [. . .]
But Islamophobia [. . .] can be encountered in the best circles: among our most famous novelists, among columnists from the Independent and Guardian newspapers, and in the Church of England. Its appeal is wide-ranging. "I am an Islamophobe, and proud of it," writes Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, then writing for The Independent. "Islamophobia?" The Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle rhetorically asks in the title of a speech, "Count me in." Imagine Liddle declaring: "Anti-Semitism? Count me in", or Toynbee announcing that she was "an anti-semite and proud of it". This just wouldn't happen and for very good reasons. Anti-semitism is recognised as an evil, noxious creed and its adherents barred from mainstream society and respectable organs of opinion. Not so Islamophobia. [. . .]
Here are some more false stories concerning Muslims in Britain. Some were pure inventions, others contained a grain of truth but were distorted.
"Muslim Sickos' Maddie Kidnap Shock" – Daily Star, 28 April 2008. The story did not, as readers might have inferred from the front-page headline, reveal that Madeleine McCann had been kidnapped by a Muslim "sicko". In fact, it refers to a website on which claims were made that Madeleine's parents were involved in her disappearance.
"Hogwash: Now the PC brigade bans piggy banks in case they offend Muslims" – Daily Express, 24 October 2005. The story claimed that NatWest and Halifax had removed images of piggy banks from their promotional material in an effort to avoid offending Muslim customers, since pork is forbidden in Islam. The paper quoted observers calling such action "barmy" and "bonkers", thereby stirring up a huge response from the public.
After the story's publication, the Halifax drily noted that it "has not withdrawn any piggy banks from branches" and noted that in fact it had not used piggy banks in its branches for a number of years. The NatWest press statement noted that: "There is absolutely no fact in the story."
"Get off my bus I need to pray" – The Sun, 28 March 2008. This was the story of a Muslim bus driver ordering his passengers off his bus so that he could pray. The Sun story, along with footage of the bus driver praying, was widely circulated around right-wing blogs. Dhimmi Watch, the right-wing blog on the site Jihad Watch that catalogues perceived outrages committed by Muslims, even included The Sun story in their "ever-expanding You Can't Make This Stuff Up file". Well, actually, you can. The bus had been delayed, so in order to maintain frequency the bus company had ordered the driver to stop his bus and allow passengers to board the bus behind. Tickets and CCTV evidence show that all the passengers were on that bus within a minute.
The so-called witness, a 21-year-old plumber, who recorded the bus driver praying, had not been on the bus, and had arrived after the incident to find a small crowd outside a bus.
"The crescent and the canteen" – The Economist, 19 October 2006. There was no truth in the article's suggestion that Leicester University had banned pork on campus. In actual fact, the university Student Union had made just one out of the numerous cafes on campus halal, in a decision which had as much to do with economic factors as cultural sensitivity as Leicester has a large number of Muslim students. The other 26 cafes on the campus, including the main canteen, were still serving pork as usual.
It's a pity that for some reason Oborne felt inhibited, for the most part, from naming the names of the guilty. It would have been useful had we each been able to play our own small individual part in spreading it all over the internet that these hatemongering "journalists" and their "editors" are racists and liars.