Muslim Council of Britain condemns Daily Mail for 'peddling negative tropes' in leadership contest
The Muslim Council of Britain has accused British tabloid the Daily Mail of "peddling negative tropes against Muslims" after the British tabloid attacked Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt for meeting with their secretary general, Zara Mohammed.
"It is sad to see how this Islamophobia is now weaponised in the Conservative Party leadership contest by unnamed sources and their friends in the British print media. They put their narrow divisive agenda ahead of national interests or the common good," Mohammed said in a statement released Monday.
I seem to be on the front page of the Daily Mail. A paper that has regularly reinforced negative tropes about British Muslims. Today it reinforced that trope by reporting on a supposedly ‘controversial’ meeting I had with Penny Mordaunt last year which was widely known. pic.twitter.com/VQ3MpEq1J3— Zara Mohammed (@ZaraM01) July 18, 2022
Daily Mail political correspondent Claire Ellicott accused Mordaunt of 'breaking a government boycott' of the community group, which represents more than 500 Muslim organisations, when she met with Mohammed last year.
"Great to have met with @ZaraM01 today, to wish her every success and hear more about her plans. Look forward to working with her and her team. #IWD2021 @MuslimCouncil," Mordaunt tweeted in early 2021, congratulating Zara Mohammed on her appointment as the first female head of the country’s largest Muslim umbrella body.
Penny Mordaunt and her team were contacted for comment but did not respond to media requests.
In the article, Ellicott quotes figures hostile to Mordaunt within the Conservative Party that called her "incompetent", and questioned her "dodgy judgement" for sitting down with the council.
Since their inception, the Muslim Council of Britain has been engaged with Westminster politics and, in recent years, has been campaigning against Islamophobia within the Conservative Party.
Former secretary-general Iqbal Sacranie even received a knighthood from the queen in 2005 for ‘service to the community and interfaith dialogue’.
In 2009, the Government introduced a policy of ‘not engaging’ with the group after comments by its deputy secretary-general which were interpreted as condoning attacks on British troops.
However, government ministers were soon back working with the group in 2010.