Express.co.uk has been forced to run a clarification after it ran a story earlier this week which incorrectly claimed up to half of British Muslims 'could support ISIS'.
According to the British news website, the "article was based on a national poll commissioned by a rival newspaper, the results of which both publications interpreted incorrectly."
"Within a few hours we realised our error and quickly removed the article, but it should never have been published and we apologise unreservedly for any upset caused. Among those who strongly objected to the story was Haras Rafiq, the Managing Director of the counter-extremist Quilliam Foundation, who we accept was quoted out of context in the piece. Here, we give Mr Rafiq full right of reply and ask him to address one of the most challenging questions facing Britain today... " said a post the website.
The Mirror held an online poll via ICM - a polling company – for a story about the possibility of terror attacks the results of which were used to incorrectly deduce that half of the British Muslim population could be devotees of IS, which was then made a headline by The Express.
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Haras Rafiq who was misquoted in the above mentioned article said:
“I was really upset and angry. It’s an example of lazy, inaccurate journalism and misrepresentation of stories because the reporters haven’t been part of the wider discussion.” BuzzFeed reported.
However, Express later invited Haras Rafiq, the Managing Director of the counter-extremist Quilliam Foundation based in London to respond to any queries regarding the matter.
Rafiq said that IS distorts Islam beyond recognition and commits violent acts in the name of the religion; taking literalist interpretations.
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Moreover, he added, many British Muslims are as afraid of IS as the rest of the country and expressed concern over the rise in anti-Muslim attacks in the country.
“We must work collectively with the rest of our society and stop Islamist extremists so we can stop far-right extremists, and we must do so vocally to show extremists on both sides that we are British and Muslim and proud!”