The Sun has been told to print an apology for a controversial front page story alleging that one in five British Muslims held sympathetic views toward jihadis, a statement which was held to be ‘significantly misleading’ by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
Published on 23 November last year the article stoked complaints from readers that the shocking headline was not supported by the relevant question of the poll as it did not differentiate between Islamic State fighters and those fighting on behalf of other rebel groups.
Instead the question simply asked British Muslims if they held sympathies with: “young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria.’
In a statement IPSO said: “While the newspaper was entitled to interpret the poll’s findings, taken in its entirety, the coverage presented as a fact that the poll showed that one in five British Muslims had sympathy for those who left to join Isis and for Isis itself.
“In fact, neither the question, nor the answers which referred to ‘sympathy’, made reference to [Isis]. The newspaper had failed to take appropriate care in its presentation of the poll results and, as a result, the coverage was significantly misleading.”
Whilst the original claim was splashed across the papers front page the apology has been relegated to page two however, sparing the title the humiliation of a more visible mea culpa.
The Sun had argued that reference to IS was implicit as previous questions had directly referenced the terror organisation, adding that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of British fighters in the region are operating under the IS banner.