Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) rejects complaint from Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) Centre for Media Monitoring
In a column titled ‘We’re not drifting into segregation, we’re hurtling perilously towards it‘, Nick Timothy remarked that intimidation of Jewish pupils and teachers grew so severe against the backdrop of the Gaza conflict in May 2021, that “the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson wrote to schools warning that while pupils are allowed to express political views, anti-Semitic language and threats must not be tolerated”. In his 30 May 2021 Daily Telegraph article Nick Timothy continued:
In response to the Williamson letter, Miqdaad Versi, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, complained that the Government was being “one-sided”. The letter, of course, was not about events in Israel, but the harassment of British Jews. In suggesting there might be two sides to racism, Versi revealed more than he intended about why the Government refuses to engage with the MCB.
Miqdaad Versi, whose twitter profile describes himself as “Media Spokesperson for @MuslimCouncil, Board member of @rightssecurity, Grassroots activist”, is the Executive Director of the Centre for Media Monitoring, which is a project of the MCB. Mr Versi complained to IPSO that The Daily Telegraphhad breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
The commentary below is based on the IPSO ruling:
Prior to approaching IPSO, Miqdaad Versi wrote a letter to the Telegraph for publication. Mr Versi stated that he spoke out “because Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, was tone deaf to the bigotry faced by Muslim children when he wrote about the racism faced by Jewish children.” He wanted the Telegraph to:
acknowledge, immediately correct, and apologise for its error, and for him to be given the right to reply in an opinion piece to be published in the newspaper. He also wished to discuss the matter further with the publication to see what more could be done to compensate for what he considered to be a breach of the Editors’ Code and an attack on his reputation.
In reply, The Daily Telegraph noted that Miqdaad Versi’s original tweet did not refer to Muslim children, nor to the discrimination encountered by them, but only to the “concerns of children who support Palestine & the issues they have faced in schools”. The Telegraph also stated that Mr Versi could not have been complaining “about the Education Secretary limiting pupils’ rights to express themselves about Palestine sensibly and respectfully,” as the letter made clear that such expressions were not prohibited. Therefore, Mr Versi could “only have been complaining about the prohibition of protests that cross the line into antisemitism.” The letter sought to stop the antisemitic intimidation of Jewish people in schools and Miqdaad Versi “chose to describe that as ‘one-sided’”. The Daily Telegraph noted that it had published a letter by Miqdaad Versi, in which he disputed the column’s characterisation of his tweet.
The complaint was not upheld.
Today, Nick Timothy has returned to the subject in the following manner: