Ex Peterborough schoolgirl Fatima Manji accuses Kelvin MacKenzie of ‘smearing’ Muslims in Channel 4 News row

Fatima Manji
Fatima Manji
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Fatima Manji, the Channel 4 News presenter and ex Peterborough schoolgirl criticised by Kelvin MacKenzie for wearing a hijab while reporting on the Nice truck attack, has accused the Sun columnist of trying to “intimidate Muslims out of public life.”

MacKenzie’s article, which asked why it was “appropriate” for a hijab wearer to present the report, prompted more than 800 complaints to the press regulator IPSO.

“It would be easy to dismiss Kelvin MacKenzie as an embarrassing, and serially embarrassed, relic of a bygone era in British journalism.”

Writing in the Liverpool Echo, Manji, who attended Jack Hunt School, said: “Mr MacKenzie’s article was but one wild screed in a long-running and widespread campaign to intimidate Muslims out of public life.”

“Racist and Islamophobic rhetoric has real consequences – lives have been lost and shattered in our own country.”

She added: “Kelvin MacKenzie has attempted to smear 1.6 billion Muslims in suggesting they are inherently violent.”

Manji was “grief-stricken by the massacre in Nice, particularly by the haunting image of a little girl’s corpse laying next to the doll that was once her companion.”

“The truth is I always pride myself on journalistic integrity regardless of who I’m interviewing or what story I’m covering.”

The former Sun editor and Channel 4 News have a long-running feud over the paper’s coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.

Manji’s article was headlined: “The Truth – why Kelvin MacKenzie’s smears won’t stop me from doing my job”, a reference to a discredited Sun front page story about the alleged behaviour of Liverpool fans which prompted a boycott of the paper in the city.

The Sun is “the newspaper that appears at ease with its columnists describing refugees dying at sea as ‘cockroaches’”, Manji wrote.

MacKenzie asked if Manji had been chosen to “stick one in the eye of the ordinary viewer who looks at the hijab as a sign of the slavery of Muslim women by a male-dominated and clearly violent religion?”

Manji retorted: “It would be easy to dismiss Kelvin MacKenzie as an embarrassing, and serially embarrassed, relic of a bygone era in British journalism.”