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Mail Online headline (Google cache)The Mail Online has backtracked on a headline claiming that “two thirds of young British Muslims” support “honour violence.”

The information was false. The “two thirds” figure actually related to those who believed in the concept of “izzat,” the concept of “honour” in certain Asian societies. In fact, 18 percent, or less than one fifth, of those questioned said violating izzat was justification for violence against women. And those questioned were Asians (age 16-34) of several ethnicities and religions, not just Islam.

According to the timestamp, the Mail article, about a survey carried out by ComRes for the BBC’s Panorama, was published online at 6.30am today. It was last edited at 1.05pm. An early version of the article, by Leon Watson, carried the headline “‘Honour’ violence is acceptable, say two thirds of young British Muslims.”

It opened: “The majority of young British Muslims support violence against women who ‘dishonour’ their families, a Panorama investigation will claim today.” (Several websites that cached or republished the article still carry this, as of writing, including the conservative Christian site Anglican Mainstream, who added, for good measure, a stock photo of a group of Muslim women in burkas.)

The headline has since been changed to “one in five young British Asians,” and the opening now reads: “A large number of young British Asians support violence against women who ‘dishonour’ their families, a Panorama investigation will claim today.” References to Muslims have been culled, with the exception of a photo caption.

Clive Field of British Religion in Numbers, a Manchester University project, has done the job the Mail‘s journalists should have done, and analyzed the results of the poll fairly. The BBC’s report is here. The Panorama documentary airs at 8.30pm on BBC One this evening, Monday, 19 March.

In its eagerness to stir up fear about Muslims in Britain, the Mail hastily forgot to check the facts and went with a story that served its commercial and political interests. Shame on them. There is no honour in such sloppy and vindictive journalism.

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