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Sun newspaper issues correction over 'Islamic honour killing' headline

UK's most popular newspaper accused of encouraging Islamophobia with 'clearly inaccurate and inflammatory language' in headlines
The Sun and rival the Daily Mail issued nearly identical corrections over 'honour killings' story (Reuters)

The UK's Sun newspaper has apologised over an article wrongly linking Islam and so-called “honour killings” after being accused of “encouraging Islamophobia through the use of clearly inaccurate language” in its headlines.

The Sun, the UK's most popular newspaper, published an article in May about the murder of mother-of-four Saima Khan, a 34-year-old care worker from Luton whose 26-year-old sister was subsequently charged with her murder.

The original article claimed that police were investigating whether the killing was a so-called “Islamic honour killing”.

A clarification published on Saturday noted that the Sun was now “happy to make clear that Islam as a religion does not support so-called “honour killings”.

The clarification follows a complaint submitted to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) by Miqdaad Versi, deputy head of the Muslim Council of Britain.

An IPSO ruling issued last month in response to the complaint noted that there was “no basis for saying that religion had played a role” in Khan's killing.

The text of the Sun's clarification was almost identical to one issued by its competitor, the Daily Mail, which also included the phrase “Islamic honour killing” in its headline.

Responding to the Sun's correction, which appeared both online and in print, Versi told Middle East Eye that headlines encouraging Islamophobia must be avoided in the current climate.

“News outlets should not encourage Islamophobia through the use of clearly inaccurate and inflammatory language in headlines, especially in today's climate,” Versi said in an emailed statement.

“Honour killings are barbaric acts based in culture and not in faith. The fact that two tabloid outlets, the Mail Online and the Sun made the same error is very worrying and suggests there is insufficient oversight over the language used.

Versi said safeguards need to be put in place to prevent “further inaccuracies”.

The Sun was also in hot water with IPSO last month after publishing a column saying Islam is “clearly a violent religion” and slamming Channel 4 for allowing Fatima Manji, a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf, to report on the bloody attack in the French city of Nice.

IPSO is investigating after receiving more than 100 complaints in less than 24 hours concerning the column, written by former Sun editor Kelvin McKenzie.