In the aftermath of the horrific attack on the heart of our country’s democracy yesterday, right-wing figures including Nigel Farage and Donald Trump Jr exploited the attack to launch a smear campaign on Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim Mayor of London, somehow implying that he is complacent with terrorism. This isn’t the first time that Sadiq Khan has been singled out. When he was first elected Mayor, the Britain First Candidate Paul Golding turned his back on Sadiq Khan, who he believed was linked to terrorism because he is Muslim. In that same election, The Conservative party launched a smear campaign on Sadiq Khan, with Prime Minister David Cameron being denounced as a racist by many MPs after saying that Sadiq Khan was linked to extremists.
Yesterday, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump Jr launched a fresh attack on Sadiq Khan, referring to an article published in the Independent, which misquoted Sadiq Khan as saying that terror attacks are part and parcel of living in a big city, when he had actually been referring to being prepared and vigilant as being part and parcel of living in a big city.
In an interview in September last year, Sadiq Khan said to the Evening Standard that:
“part and parcel of living in a great, global city is you’ve got to be prepared for these things, you’ve got to be vigilant, you’ve got to support the police”
The interview in which he made these remarks can be viewed here.
You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan https://t.co/uSm2pwRTjO
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 22, 2017
This was misquoted by several media organisations, including the Independent, as ‘Sadiq Khan says terror attacks ‘part and parcel’ of living in a major city’. The worst thing of all, is that further to several reputable and many more disreputable organisations such as Breitbart News picking up this misquote, it was then leapt upon by figures including Nigel Farage and Donald Trump Jr, who spent the evening of the attack launching an attack on Sadiq Khan for saying something that he never actually said.
The aftermath of a terrorist attack is not an acceptable time to be political point scoring, particularly when the basis of the political point-scoring is fake news. This attack on Sadiq Khan comes at a time when the Western world is facing a problem with fake news and irresponsible editing, leading to factually incorrect information reaching more people than ever before. That is why it is more important than ever to dispel misinformation and to call it out for what it is; fake news.
The Independent was contacted but did not reply to our request for a comment.