‘It’s not at Ground Zero and it’s not a mosque’

These are the words of Sharif El Gamal the project developer of the, well, Islamic Cultural Centre? The sad thing is it is hard to know exactly what it should be called, given how the media have only referred to it as the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’. The words used as the title of this post appear in a Daily Mail article, an article which allows El Gamal to give some details about the building. Yet once again the Daily Mail completely ignores the content of its own article and decides to use this as a headline: ‘First look inside the Ground Zero ‘mosque’: a fitness complex, a cook’s school, THAT prayer space… and a 9/11 memorial‘.

Where to start with this? Firstly, as cannot be repeated enough: it is not a mosque, and it certainly is not being built at ground zero. Secondly, the block capitalisation of ‘THAT’ is frankly disgraceful. The implication is that incorporating space in which to pray inside the building is what all the outrage has been about. The question that immediately springs to my mind is would things have been any different if such a prayer space didn’t exist? What if it was just an Islamic centre, would the right-wing press have responded any differently? I doubt it, given that there is no link whatsoever between Muslim New Yorkers who live, work and pray in the city and the largely Saudi Arabian ‘Muslims’ who destroyed the twin towers, yet a link has been created and has fuelled all of the protests and anger.

Who exactly has created this link? The Daily Mail is happy to blame it on others: ‘Some have called it an exercise in triumphalism, intended to plant Islam’s flag at the scene of the attacks and deliberately provoke Americans’ . They also go on to state that: ‘The building’s prayer space for Muslims – the part of the centre that has caused critics to brand it the ‘Ground Zero mosque’ – would be located on two levels in the basement’. Again, the Daily Mail is blaming someone else – critics have branded it, ‘some people have called it’. None of these phrases actually gives a real clue as to who these people are, but then we don’t need any, given that those responsible for creating the link and branding the building the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ are right in front of our eyes.

The headline clearly labels the building the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ and the first line of the article repeats the same old lie about it being built close to Ground Zero:

These are the first sketches of the Islamic centre to be built just yards from Ground Zero in Manhattan.

It is several blocks away, yet here the Daily Mail is claiming that distance is ‘just yards’. The Daily Mail is reinforcing the link that it is blaming on ‘critics’. This article – like so many printed in the Daily Mail – is a mixture of news and editorial comment. The real message is always conveyed in the headline and the introductory paragraph whilst the news is buried below. The writer has the audacity to blame critics for branding it ‘Ground Zero Mosque’, yet they are happy to use this as their headline. Likewise, they are also perfectly happy to repeat the lie about it being built ‘just yards’ from Ground Zero. It is dishonest, cowardly and hypocritical – it is, in short, so very ‘Daily Mail Editorial’.

The article as usual contains all of the contradictory information that demonstrates just how dishonest the headline and introductory paragraph is:

The futuristic-looking building is wrapped in a honeycomb of abstract shapes, with a core containing far more space for secular pursuits than religious worship…

The largest part of the building – four of 16 floors – would be taken up by a sports, fitness and swimming centre.

Another full floor would be occupied by a child care centre and playground.

Much of the rest of the building would be occupied by a restaurant, culinary school, artist studios, exhibition space and an auditorium for cultural events.

Yet the writer is still happy to call it the ‘Ground Centre Mosque’ and they’re still happy to lie about the location in which it is being built. The writer may have hidden behind the anonymous ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ but that will not stop them having to come to terms with the fact that they have sold their soul to write this stuff. I’d advise whoever wrote this to take on board the words of Stephen Fry:

I have never met a Mail journalist whose first words weren’t an apology. “We’re not all Paul Dacre types….” they mournfully beg us to believe. Well, leave before it’s too late! Just imagine that there really is a St Peter to greet you after death. Suppose he asks what you did with your life, your mind, your heart, your whole being and your immortal soul and that you have to reply you that wrote for the Daily Mail. Wow!

4 Comments

  • Dave Medlo says:

    At least they didn’t mention the covert Muslim iconography that anti-Muslim protester Pamela Gellar has been claiming is woven into the design…
    http://bit.ly/cT6YSH
    Although some of the commentators on the Daily Mail site do.

  • Denny says:

    It’s worth noting that journalists very very rarely write their headlines or straplines – those are added by editorial staff after the article is submitted and accepted. This accounts handily for the discrepancies you note – the journalist who wrote the article was spot on, the sub-editor who wrote the headline was an ignorant arsehole (probably a basic requirement for gaining promotion at the Daily Fail).

    http://s.coop/3ui is an article on this subject by a disgruntled (at a guess) journalist.

  • Wireman says:

    @Denny

    First, a technical point: Sub-editors are journalists too.

    Second: At the Daily Mail, “the line” on any yarn is decided long before it reaches the subs’ desk. Any sub who decided to vary from “the line” might as well take a shit on Dacre’s desk. Either way, it would be his or her last act as an Associated Newspapers employee.

  • Dewi Jones says:

    One thing I remember reading about the Islamic Centre is that hospitals contain prayer places, so does the Trafford Centre when I went there many years ago. Do we call hospitals mosques, since they have a prayer hall? There were some brilliant things mentioned by Jon Stewart, who as some of you will know is Jewish.

    As for the Daily Mail, I somehow think they are trying to spread racial tension in the UK with all their negative reporting about those who are non-white and English.

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