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Daily says sorry over ‘Islamist’ community centre headline

NewIPSOA regional daily has apologised after accidentally referring to a proposed Islamic community centre as an “Islamist” one.

The Colchester Daily Gazette has said sorry over the erroneous use of the term, which refers to “militancy and fundamentalism.”

The term appeared in a story about plans to convert a pub into an Islamic community centre, and the protests against it.

But the headline ‘Islamist centre’s pub conversion set for approval’ prompted a complain to the Independent Press Standards Organisation from Shoomi Chowdhury, who said the Gazette had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

In her complaint, Ms Chowdhury said that the term “Islamist” was widely understood to refer to violent extremists, and it was inaccurate to describe the community centre in this way.

The Gazette accepted the human error caused by a journalist, who was said to be “very upset” with the mistake made.

It had spoken to both the reporter and the content editor to ensure a similar mistake was not repeated.

Prior to the complaint being referred by IPSO, the Gazette published the following correction: “In yesterday’s Gazette we printed an article about Colchester Islamic Community Centre’s bid to convert the former Beehive pub. In the headline, the word ‘Islamist’ was used – a term that refers to militancy and fundamentalism.

“We apologise for this grave error; the headline should have read ‘Islamic centre’s pub conversion bid set for approval’. We have received many complaints from different communities.

“We would like to clarify Colchester Islamic Community Centre is a community and family-centred organisation whose work has always looked at the betterment of Colchester and looking to positively contribute to the community.”

The Gazette also offered to write a follow-up piece or to publish a letter from Ms Chowdhury, which resolved the matter to her satisfaction.

IPSO therefore discontinued its investigation, and the full adjudication can be read here.