Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Channel 4’s Fatima Manji hits back at hijab criticism: “You won’t stop me doing my job”


Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun, questioned whether Fatima Manji – a newscaster who wears a hijab - should have been allowed to appear on Channel 4 News.

Writing in his column on Monday, he said:  "Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim?

“Was it done 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?”

His comments came shortly after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel hired a lorry and drove into the crowds gathered in Nice to celebrate Bastille Day.

He killed 84 people and injured countless others before being shot down by police. 

In a statement Channel 4 News said: “The comments published in The Sun today by Mr MacKenzie are offensive, completely unacceptable, and arguably tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred.

“It is wrong to suggest that a qualified journalist should be barred from reporting on a particular story or present on a specific day because of their faith.

“Fatima Manji is an award-winning journalist. We are proud that she is part of our team and will receive, as ever, our full support in the wake of his comments.”

They added that they will, like 1400 members of the British public, be making a formal complaint to the The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) over the remarks.

Labour MP Diane Abbott and former Tory Cabinet member Baroness Sayeeda Warsi also took to Twitter to condemn Mackenzie’s comments.

Sharing a letter she had written to The Sun’s editor Tony Gallagher, Warsi wrote: “Just as politicians should carry the responsibility for xenophobic and toxic campaigning that divides communities so journalists should be held accountable for ‘shock jock’ writing that simply perpetuates stereotypes, demonises and attempts to hold a whole community accountable for the action of an individual.”

Abbott added that the column had been a "shocking attack" on a respected journalist.

Meanwhile, writing in a column for the Liverpool Echo, Fatima Manji herself has now spoken out about the attack.

Accusing MacKenzie of “attempting to smear 1.6 billion Muslims in suggesting they are inherently violent”, she continued: “He has attempted to smear half of them further by suggesting they are helpless slaves. And he has attempted to smear me by suggesting I would sympathise with a terrorist.”

Manji went on to explain that she, like so many others, had been left devastated by the massacre in Nice.

And, while she does not expect an apology from MacKenzie “any time soon”, she will not allow his remarks to prevent her from doing her work.

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

“That is my mission at Channel 4 News. I will not be deterred in this mission by the efforts of those who find the presence of Muslims in British cultural life offensive.”

Images: Channel 4 News



“It should outrage everyone, regardless of race”

hijab muslim.jpg

Man defends Muslim woman on tube targeted in Islamophobic abuse


The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants reunion to Nicki Minaj's vintage look

by Nicola Colyer
18 Aug 2017

Chris Brown tried to excuse his attack on Rihanna, and it’s not OK

“Violence is a choice he made – and he alone is responsible for it”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Serena Williams on how skin colour affects what people think of her

“I feel like people think I’m mean”

by Amy Swales
17 Aug 2017

This Hocus Pocus star’s pregnancy announcement is pure 90s perfection

“I smell children…”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Anna Faris on knowing when to call time on an unhappy relationship

“Don’t be afraid to seek your independence”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Why Taylor Swift’s sexual assault verdict is a victory for womankind

The pop star has completely changed the narrative

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton defends Donald Trump from sexual assault allegations

“I think [the women] are just trying to get attention and get fame...”

by Moya Crockett
16 Aug 2017

The personality trait that Mindy Kaling hopes to pass on to her baby

Kaling gets real about motherhood as she confirms her pregnancy

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton describes the emotional fallout of her 2001 sex tape

“I could not leave my house for months”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017

Taylor Swift wins sexual assault case for “anyone who feels silenced”

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017