Saturday, July 02 2016

Observer clarification on 'Faith in the Public Square'

Further to the Observer’s misrepresentation of the views of the outgoing archbishop of Canterbury in last week’s Sunday paper, the newspaper this week has published the following in its ‘For the Record’ section:

“Our coverage last week of Faith in the Public Square, a forthcoming book by the archbishop of Canterbury (News, page 1 and 8), contained this quote, supplied to us by the publishers: "To suggest that the Muslim owes an overriding loyalty to the international Muslim community (the Umma) is extremely worrying. Muslims must make clear that their loyalty is straightforward modern political loyalty to the nation state." This is a representation of a view the archbishop does not hold. It was drawn from a lecture he gave in October 2004 in which he went on to deconstruct the argument, maintaining that religious loyalty and political loyalty should not be seen as being in direct competition.”

Islamophobia Watch, which published a full critique of all the errors contained in the original Observer article noted that, “You might have thought that, in view of the fact that the Observer report got almost everything wrong, we could look forward to a retraction and apology in next Sunday's issue. But apparently not. Ben Myers tells us: "I contacted the author of yesterday's Observer piece on Rowan Williams. I explained that the potentially inflammatory quotations about Islam had been lifted out of context, and that they were actually statements of a position that Williams rejects. The Observer writer flatly denied that he had taken the quotes out of context."

Given that the original article was front page news and a full page spread in last week’s paper, does the paragraph printed on the Observer’s Letters page suffice both in prominence and content by way of a retraction and apology?

If you think not, you can write to the Readers’ Editor, Stephen Pritchard at Readers' Editor, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and tell him so.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 15:21

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