“Daily Fatwa” spoof pulled for fear
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…