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Mother of four stabbed to death while her family were at a funeral ‘may have been murdered in Islamic honour killing’
An earlier version of this article said that police were investigating whether Ms Khan may have been murdered in an ‘Islamic honour killing’. We are happy to make clear that Islam as a religion does not support so-called ‘honour killings
Just take that in for a moment. Versi was effectively able to leverage an independent regulator to force newspapers to print what he deemed to be the true interpretation of his religion. He told the Guardian that ‘it is vital that news outlets do not encourage Islamophobia through the usage of clearly inaccurate and inflammatory headlines’. But neither of these reports were inaccurate, necessarily. Islam is a body of teachings, principles and texts, interpreted differently by Muslims and non-Muslims across the world. Whether or not it ‘supports’ honour killings is not something anyone can say definitively – certainly not a press regulator.
As the National Secular Society has pointed out, there are many Muslims across the world who would disagree with Versi: in many Muslim-majority countries, the belief that women can be murdered in some circumstances is common. Whether or not Versi or IPSO claim to have the direct line to paradise, the question of whether Islam supports honour killings is up for debate, like anything else. And, indeed, the newspapers weren’t even necessarily weighing in on that debate. The Sun argued that it was merely reporting that the honour killing was being investigated as such.
This is backdoor blasphemy law, and it’s positively pre-modern. Just as Henry VIII cracked down on heretical publications – which were spreading reformist religious ideas he would, ironically, later enforce – IPSO was complicit in pressuring these papers to print a quasi-official interpretation of Islam. In some ways, it’s far more insidious. Islam isn’t the state religion. And IPSO isn’t the Star Chamber. The terror of appearing ‘Islamophobic’, of daring to even raise the dark side of Islamic practice, has led an independent institution to force papers to self-censor, to bow to, in this case, one man’s interpretation of a religion.
Any journalist that feels they are being pressured to act in a way that is not in line with the Editors' Code and would like to confidentially register their concerns . . .