“Daily Fatwa” spoof pulled for fear

The Independent reports that NUJ members of The Daily Star (a UK soft-porn and gossip tabloid) forced editors to drop a Sharia-law spoof version of the paper called “The Daily Fatwa”.

The joke paper promised such delights as a “Page 3 Burkha Babes Special” and competitions to “Burn a Flag and Win a Corsa” and “Win hooks just like Hamza’s”. The leader column was to be headlined “Allah is Great”, but left blanks except for a “Censored” stamp.

Alas, NUJ staff held an emergency meeting and called for the spoof to be cancelled, saying the article was “deliberately offensive” to Muslims. However, a source on the newspaper explained that the real reason behind the decision was fear:

We were worried that the building might be attacked and we thought there would be people outside burning copies of the Daily Star. Many of the newsagents that sell the paper are of Pakistani origin and would have been offended. So we were concerned both for the safety of the staff and the future of the paper.

Ahmed Versi, editor of Muslim News agrees:

This would have been like the cartoons issue. It would have created a huge, huge backlash and outcry. I’m quite sure there would have been huge demonstrations outside the paper by the weekend and internationally outside the British embassies because the paper would be seen as a British institution.

No doubt with flag burnings and calls for censorship…

8 Responses to ““Daily Fatwa” spoof pulled for fear”

  1. Perhaps the Daily Star, hardly reputed for its intellectual outlook on world events, were quite right to pull this spoof. Nothing should be too high up to escape being satirised, but satire needs context to make sense. In the case of the Daily Star, it would have been unclear whether this spoof was a satire, or whether it wasn’t just a reflection of the narrow minded bigotry of the paper’s readership.

    I would have found it offensive for The Daily Star to run that publication, though if the satirical magazine Private Eye had featured it, perhaps copying the Daily Star’s style and format, then I would have found it more valid. Behind any satire there is an assumed intent, and I don’t think that a publication like the Daily Star can truly do satire.

  2. What Ashley said. It doesn’t sound like it would have been inflammatory enough to cause the riots they’re hypothesizing – a joke about Abu Hamza’s hooks? Wow! No tabloid has ever ventured into such territory before! – so I’m thinking they just pulled it because it would be crap and cause their sales figures to plummet even further than they already are.

    Interestingly, Private Eye have done some really quite bold cartoons and skits on the Islamic censorship issue without any kind of censure. There was a cartoon of a man holding a placard saying “Islam stifles free speech”, and a Muslim saying to him “You can’t say that!” Or, for example, a guide titled “How To Spot a Moderate Muslim”, with tips such as “Is prepared to criticise the 7/7 bombers” and “Thinks gays should be executed, but not tortured”. Much saltier than anything that would have been in the Star spoof, which further leads me to suspect they pulled it because it would have been commercial suicide (a parody edition of a newspaper?) and are now trying to pull the poor-little-victims card.

  3. Andy A says:

    Trust a rag like the Star to try to spoil it for the rest of us. Once that sort of thing is done once, any genuine satire, the sort Ashley talks about above, loses its currency, is cheapened. All it would have succeeded in doing would be to blut the knife through overuse. For that reason – not because it might have upset the itsy-bitsy sensibilities of religionists – I’m glad the Star pulled it.

  4. tom p says:

    thank fuck they pulled it.

    can you imagine the daily star being seen as a british institution. *shudders*

  5. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    I think they should have published. People, Muslim or otherwise, ought to learn that in a free country they are not immune to a bit of mickey taking focused at their more extreme members.

  6. Mark says:

    I’m glad they didn’t. The Star is a nasty piece of work and has been resposible for some really unpleasant racist stuff. This plan looked like very much the worst of this genre. Of course, if they went ahead, we should defend their right to have done so. But we should also defend the right of people to say, “This is shit and you shouldn’t have published it.”

  7. Culfy says:

    Actually my view (unpopular and wrong though it be) is that the Daily Star never had any intention of publishing it at all; just wanted to try and play the victim card.