Last November, I expressed astonishment about the level of factual inaccuracy contained within what its authors hoped would be major academic report on Islamophobia.
The report, Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: UK Case Studies, was written by Dr Robert Lambert and Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer of the European Muslim Research Centre at Exeter University. It was part funded by the questionable Cordoba Foundation, more about which you can read in my original.
The academic report contained a chapter on Tower Hamlets called “Barbarians at the gates of the City” with the sub-heading, “A case study in the subversion of liberal democracy in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets”. A footnote said that section has been written anonymously by someone who has “worked extensively in Tower Hamlets politics”. It used several bits of information supplied on this blog and from my previous life at the East London Advertiser.
Last November, I wrote:
Now, in the all the time I’ve covered Tower Hamlets politics I’ve never seen either of the good doctors at the Town Hall. And neither did they or anyone else call me or try to contact me about this report, which, given that they have cited my name and quote extensively much of my work from this blog and from my time at the East London Advertiser, is a bit lazy to say the least.
If they had have done, they might have avoided the simplified and inaccurate rewriting of history – designed, no doubt, to meet their pre-determined conclusions – that this section of their report actually is. I read it agog.
Several other figures in Tower Hamlets politics experienced the same emotion. They complained to the University and now it has been forced to issue the following apology here and withdraw the offending chapter.
Here’s the academics’ climb-down:
Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: UK Case Studies
21st February 2011
The first version of this report published on 29 November 2010 contained a section ‘Barbarians at the Gates of the City’ that has now been removed from the report and the University of Exeter has issued this apology:
“The University has become aware that a third party account in the chapter entitled ‘Barbarians at the Gates of the City’ contained in an earlier version of the academic report ‘Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: UK Case Studies’ contained serious errors of fact which may lead a reader to misconstrue the conduct, actions and the intentions of Councillors Helal Abbas, Denise Jones, Ken Clark, Joshua Peck, Rachael Saunders, Michael Keith and Jim Fitzpatrick MP.
Whilst the purpose of publishing the third party account within the report was to reflect the views and opinions of an individual Muslim citizen, the University has received information and comments from the above individuals, and wishes to make it clear that it is not the position or finding of the University that the actions and intentions of those individuals were Islamophobic or racist in any way. Those individuals have passionately stressed to the University that they have worked throughout their careers to fight racism, discrimination and inequality in East London. The University have therefore removed the section from the report, and apologises unreservedly.”
In the circumstances we have sought to curtail distribution of that version of the report and to replace it with this revised publication.
Robert Lambert and Jonathan Githens-Mazer
Co-authors and Co-directors
EMRC, 21 February 2011
I’m not sure who wrote the original chapter, but Dave Hill of the Guardian says it was Kazim Zaidi, a political adviser to Mayor Lutfur Rahman. If so, his credibility has suffered a blow, just like the research centre at Exeter University.