How the press manufactured the Peppa Pig scandal

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In a show of questionable journalism at best, and blatant deception at worst, several major news outlets have mistaken a piece of satire as a genuine call for the banning of the children’s show Peppa Pig.

Peppa Pig

Peppa Pig is a British preschool animated television series

News outlets including the Metro, IBTimes and Daily Mirror, have all published highly inaccurate and defamatory articles about a supposedly Bradford man who posted a satirical video on Youtube on the “Dangers of Peppa Pig to Muslim Children.”

Dangers of Peppa Pig to Muslim Children [PARODY]

The video, which is clearly labelled as parody, was quoted extensively in these reports.

The Metro’s report, published on September 5th, states:

The ban Peppa Pig campaign appears to have been started by Zayn Sheikh, from Bradford, after he found his youngest child Abdullah watching the ‘abominable creature’.

He was even more disgusted when the child informed him he no longer wanted to be a doctor, but instead wanted to be a pig.

In a video uploaded to the Facebook page, Mr Sheikh explains: ‘For us Muslims it is very important that we do not eat meat of the pork.

‘It is completely wrong that our kids are being shown these things on TV.’

Mr Sheikh instead proposes replacing the pig with an ‘Abdullah the cat’ cartoon.

He said: ‘Children still need cartoons to develop their minds. I propose we introduce Abdullah the cat. I think that if we had a good Muslim cartoon then our children would be better Muslims.’

However, according to messages on twitter, Zyan Shiek is not his real name and he is not from Bradford. His real name and location are still unknown, apart from his username MBAM Ummah.

Within the description of the video posted on Ummah’s Youtube Channel, BritishMuslim Comedy, he clearly states that he is not in fact the instigator of the petition or any Facebook pages.

He said: “This video is obviously a parody. I have NOT made the page ‘Muslims Against Peppa Pig’ or any other Facebook pages of the sort.

“This country’s possible future downfall is 1 million times more likely be down to the rapid multiplication of the mentally deficient like you who have failed to spot the satire rather than immigrants who have been unlucky in the accident of birth and have since then decided to move here for better prospects (just like you would in their shoes),” he added.

Ummah’s video was originally uploaded to his Youtube account on June 11th, but was later re-uploaded to a channel called United Midlands on August 22nd, who have posted two other questionable video’s about Islamic extremist.

Their profile picture also bears the motto, “Realists not racists”, and appears to be a group affiliated with the English Defence League.

After becoming aware of the reports, Ummah published a new video labelled, “Dangers of Peppa Pig Part 2”, in which he responds to the backlash surrounding his original clip.

Dangers of Peppa Pig Part 2

He said: “Of course there is a reason I am making this video and now and not in the past.

“It is because the Metro, which is a paper I like to read, has published a story that someone is trying to ban Peppa Pig today, which came up in my facebook feed and many of my friends have been telling me about.

“The only person that I see in that video talking about banning Peppa Pig is me in a parody version of myself.

“That wasn’t serious, they are inventing people.”

Ummah accused Amy Willis, a journalist at the Mail Online and Metro UK, of writing “nonsense in a newspaper which I respected up until this point”.

“It’s a bit suspicious that all your articles seem to be against Muslims,” he added.

The articles have gone on to fuel a huge outpouring of hate for Muslims, including offensive images and statements found on a group called “Peppa Pigs against Muslims“, which currently has over 6000 followers.

These include an image of bacon inside a Quraan and a pig on top of a Kaaba, an important holy site for Muslims, and have acquired thousands of likes and comments.

Comments range from accusing Muslims of being paedophiles, that they have sex with animals, and other derogatory remarks.

Initially it was claimed this page was in response to the group supposedly set up by Ummah, yet evidence indicates that the “Muslims against Peppa Pig” page (which has now been taken down) was set up as a parody, including the petition.

However, similar pages were set up by anti-Muslim activists with the aim of smearing Islam.

“I think it’s disgusting,” said Ummah, “that newspapers can try and even try and defend such a page, by making it seem as if it is a defensive action”.

“I demand an apology from both these papers for taking this story out of context and using it to fuel anti-Muslim hatred.

“Whatever is going on in the rest of the world is not do with us regular Muslims in the UK because we’re just like any other people, we’re normal people just trying to get by.”

The IBTimes, Metro and Mirror have been contacted but have yet to respond.

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  • A.S

    Bullshit, I messaged this moron as soon as I saw the page and I have a screen shot of his reply, he is a deluded idiot that is or at least at first serious and now changed his stance and claims it to be satire due to the amount of people that think he’s an over sensitive idiot, what Bloody coward. The screen shot is available on the rival Page!!! Or message me and I will send it over -Adam scarff

    • Suhail H Patel

      Why not just post it here?

    • Joevl

      If you’ve seen the video and didn’t realise it was satire, then you sir, are the moron.

  • Jon Newman

    Muslims imprisoned a school teacher for naming a teddy bear Muhammed. How can we tell what is satire when they get offended at the drop of a hat? Everything else offends Muslims, so why not a fake pig?

    • Suhail H Patel

      While there are plenty of people in the world that commit deplorable acts under the auspices of religion, you’ve got to remember Jon, we can’t unfairly demonise billions of people based on the actions of a minority that identity with that group. For example, I don’t go calling all Christians crazy because of the actions of Westboro Baptist Church. Don’t let hatred cloud your judgement.

      • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

        I think it stretches credibility to the point of bankruptcy of reason to compare Westboro Baptist Church as being in anything like the number of mad Islamic states that execute gays and adulterers and extra-state individual ‘Islamic fundamentalists’ (i.e. terrorists) who seem globally all-pervasive.

        • Suhail H Patel

          It is all a matter of perspective Henry, there are plenty of deplorable actions committed by the west also. Don’t be so quick to point fingers. First we must tackle our own short comings before we have a right to judge others. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” – you don’t have to be a Christian to understand that proverb.

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            I’m not a Christian, I’m an atheist thank god.

          • Suhail H Patel

            Foolish tribalism Henry. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, we are all human beings in the last analysis. Once you see past these divides you can foster mutual goals that span across all races, cultures and generations.

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            It is not foolish tribalism rather than rejection of the foolish notion of a personal ‘god’. I don’t see how we can all ‘see past these divides’ when Islam specifically works against me as an unbeliever (Kafir) and worse would see me put to death for rejecting Islam.

          • Suhail H Patel

            Islam cannot possibly work against you as it is a set of ideas that are practised by human beings. This second part is important, because the way in which Muslims practice Islam varies greatly across history and regions. This is why it is so important that we bridge these divides, and encourage moderate voices that condemn extremism, but also defend the Muslim community from people like you. By this I mean, those who are so blinded by hatred that they cannot see the good in the community also. You are making the problem worse Henry by reinforcing negative stereotypes and exacerbating already riled tensions between the Islamic world and the West.

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            Saying that Islam doesn’t work against non-Muslims is utter tripe. You don’t answer any of the points that I make criticising Islam – e.g.sharia being the law of Allah and how that rides roughshod over democracy, but instead you make personal comments, such as: “but also defend the Muslim community from people like you. By this I mean, those who are so blinded by hatred that they cannot see the good in the community”. I can see good in individual communities, but not in Islam, which is a supremacist politico-theocratic ideology. It isn’t alone in some respects as ALL religions are ‘the way to god’ and seek to dominate as a religion, so in a theological sense most resemble Islam. What the vast majority of other religions aren’t is a political ideology, that is really what marks Islam out and, I would argue, causes most of the problems, but I am sure that you will disagree.

            “You are making the problem worse Henry by reinforcing negative stereotypes and exacerbating already riled tensions

            No I’m not. This ‘negative stereotype’ as you put it is from my own experience as a Muslim of 11 years. My ex-wife is a North African Muslim, my children have Muslim names, I speak a reasonable amount of North African Arabic (Derija)

            Most of what I write is supported by citations. Islam, like all of the religions of Abraham’s people, are man-made and not of any god. You clearly don’t like me telling people my experience of Islam, but it is permitted in a democratic country, but wouldn’t be in a Muslim country. I suggest that you go and live in one and try it.

          • Suhail H Patel

            > You don’t answer any of the points that I make criticising Islam

            Read out other discussion. I have repeatedly and very clearly answered your points, even quoting the points I am replying too.

            In terms of the theological underpinnings of Islamism, it rose as a political tool in opposition to the puppet regimes put in by the West after WWII. Read the lecture I linked you to.

            > I can see good in individual communities, but not in Islam, which is a supremacist politico-theocratic ideology.

            This is precisely the kind of behaviour I was referring to in the previous comment. You call Muslims “extremists,” they call themselves freedom fighters, and claim the West are the terrorists. Two sides of the same coin my friend. The hate that fuels you is exactly what fuels the Islamist’s also.

            > No I’m not. This ‘negative stereotype’ as you put it is from my own experience as a Muslim of 11 years.

            You are trying to prove your right by arguing you are a more reputable source (ie argument from authority, a fallacy btw: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority)

            However, my whole family is Muslim and I was raised as one for 18 years. While I no longer identify with the religion, I know perfectly well the conservative ideologies that run deep in the Islamic community. But I also know of the progressive liberal ideas also. The Muslim community is just like any other – there is good and bad .

            > My ex-wife is a North African Muslim, my children have Muslim names,

            It seems to me that there is some hidden cause here of your blind hatred. I would be interested to know if it was fuelled by some animosity over your marriage. A sad bitter man who chooses to blame his problems on the religion of Islam and its followers. I can only speculate…

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            I shall do this in separate lots as it is the children’s bedtime, but:

            You didn’t answer my point about 6% Muslim terrorism. That is a stat for the US ONLY.

          • Suhail H Patel

            Yes it was a mistake by me, but the funny thing is it is even lower across the EU, less than 1% in fact. http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/11/updated-europol-data-less-than-1-of-terrorist-attacks-by-muslims/

            Put your kids to Bed Henry, put on the kettle, have a cup of tea, and maybe look upon your beliefs objectively. Your blog if filled with vile anti-Muslim propaganda, I seriously recommend you stop defaming the Muslim community.

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            Is that a threat? You ‘moderate’ my latest posts by not publishing them because the statistics are uncomfortable to you and then you tell me that I am defaming the Muslim community? Wrong, I am criticising Islamic countries that have an abysmal human rights record as any page from Amnesty International on the subject will tell you. I am not going to stay here with you deleting posts that are not defamatory nor insulting or profane, just facts or observations to your own comments that you deem ‘unacceptable’. Poor quality, one-sided discussion evolves because you edit out that which you cannot refute.

          • Suhail H Patel

            Firstly, I am a vehement pacifist, so no, it is not a threat. Secondly, methinks I smell a troll. You might have nothing better to do with your time, but I have work to do. Good luck with life Henry, I bear no resentment (even though my family are a bunch of savage Muslims according to you.)

          • san

            “The hate that fuels you is exactly what fuels the Islamist’s also.”

            From what i have read on this post its not Henry who is full of hate,he is simply stating how he sees it along with many other people….. The fact that Henry is a school teacher and doesnt go round blowing people up or himself up speaks volumes that his fuel as you say is no where near in comparison to that of these extremists who are spreading hate across the west…. these muslims have no regard for personal life or laws of the land or even respect for England let alone any other country they want to over rule,they spout their hate.From what i have read today its not Henry who is hateful or even personal as you have been towards him,he has simply spoke of how he sees it and why he has given the islamic faith up and i for one applaud such a brave thing to do.Sadly many people cannot give this religion up through fear of being stoned,hurt,mutilated,executed and murdered…. that is how sad and horiffic this religion really is.Not able to speak their minds for fear of being attacked.This is no way a peaceful religion.

          • san

            how can Henry be making it worse, islamic extremists have been terrorizing nations for some good years now and Henry stated that he used to be a practicing muslim himself only couple of years ago? so how is he making it worse?…. it can not get any worse really than it already is…i think if i was practicing muslim i would have had to give up my faith too just because of the extremists who go murdering people and mutilating people in the name of god/allah ….. no god would promote such destruction of other human beings…. why is it other religions can and do get along in peace,i have jahovas witnesses come to my door all the time they leave their leaflets about god and have a lovely chat to you,not pushy or hurtful or even destructive just pleasant and i have never heard of terror within the jahovas religion or the morman religion or the christian religion or the catholic religion and im talking at present not in the past,im not interested in the past im interested in the here and now and the future of my children and their children etc….i want to know my children will be safe and not have to fight wars in the name of allah and another religion…its pathetic there would be none of this terror if women ruled and maybe thats what is missing within the muslim faith,because from what im aware muslim women are suppressed and dont have a vioce in many countries not just ours.maybe if the muslim women did we would not be discussing this.instead we would be discussing how beautiful life is and creating it instead of destroying it.

      • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

        Consider this, if you will:

        In Syria and Iraq we have mass executions, crucifixions and beheadings – including aid workers – taking Christian and Yazidi girls as slaves (concubines) and so on.

        In Iran we have women being locked away in prison for going to watch volleyball matches, a former president who says there are no gay people, yet you see them swinging from cranes in city squares on trumped up charges. You see girls as young as 16 being hanged for ‘adultery’ (I refer to Atefa)

        In Pakistan around half of the female population in prison nationally are there because they were raped and reported it but are then charged with adultery.

        Countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi, Somalia, Pakistan and others have a multitude of examples of child marriage because of the prophet’s own marriage to Aisha.

        The above is but a few examples of the extraordinary way Muslims conduct their legal and cultural perception worldwide, as viewed by non-Muslims.

        From my own experience: My ex-wife went back to North Africa to see her family with our baby (son) after he was born in July 2001. When 9/11 happened I was really concerned that she might feel vulnerable so I called her (actually on 9/11) and asked her if she was Ok and she said ” Yes, everything is OK here, people are handing out sweets to children and celebrating by driving round in cars and sounding their horns in jubilation. Most people are happy with what has happened, no need to worry”. That still didn’t persuade me to leave Islam, but what did was something that happened whilst I was on a postgrad refresher course at uni. I asked a Saudi teacher, who was also a postgrad student, how Islam encompassed democracy and his reply was: “It doesn’t. Islam does not allow for democracy, it isn’t acceptable in Islam”. That was the point that I threw in the towel with Islam. To support this point, around two years ago there was a protest in London with Muslims carrying posters proclaiming ‘Freedom Go To Hell’.

        • Suhail H Patel

          > In Syria and Iraq we have mass executions, crucifixions and beheadings – including aid workers – taking Christian and Yazidi girls as slaves (concubines) and so on.

          In the West, we had centuries of colonial oppression that killed millions of slaves. The legacy of this still continues – the poverty of millions around the world can be attributed to a history of structural violence, underinvestment and a willingness/culpability of developed nations to do little to nothing to help, while maintaining their control the economic forces that cause absolute poverty.

          > In Pakistan around half of the female population in prison nationally are there because they were raped and reported it but are then charged with adultery.

          In a place like the US, 40% of the almost 2.1 million male inmates are black, often imprisoned for petty crimes committed out of necessity, who are then exploited for cheap labour for their military (who have killed 300,000 alone in the middle east since 2001) while a large number are still confined to racial and class ghetto’s.

          >The above is but a few examples of the extraordinary way Muslims conduct their legal and cultural perception worldwide, as viewed by non-Muslims.

          Yes, there are issues with the Muslim world, as there are in any society. But again, I don’t go calling all Americans racist for the actions of their forefathers, or murderers because of the warmongering of their leaders.

          Hence please don’t go calling all Muslims extremists because of the actions of conservative governments. Those in power use religion as a political tool. It is not religion that is at fault here, but as with any problem in the world, it all boils down to greed, hatred and ignorance. Treat these and you solve the problem.

          You need to be defending the moderate voices as opposed to ostracising all those who identify as Muslim because of the actions of a few. You make the problem worse by doing so.

          And the whole argument of Islam not being compatible with voting is utter nonsense. There have been a huge number of Muslim scholars and leaders completely condemning such a view.

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            If you vidited my blog you would see that I too am vehemtly opposed to the US justice system. Let me help you:

            40% of the population of US prisons are Black African yet they form around 12% of the US national population. They also comprise MORE THAN 50% IN DEATH ROW.

            Blacks and Hispanics together comprise 58% of the US prison population.

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            “Yes, there are issues with the Muslim world, as there are in any society. But again, I don’t go calling all Americans racist for the actions of their forefathers, or murderers because of the warmongering of their leaders”

            But in the Muslim world this is the problem in the world of today, not of their forefathers. On the subject of wars, are you aware that Muslim-on-Muslim deaths exceed the numbers of Muslim deaths by non-Muslims?

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            So, no Dhimmi status then? Christians and Jews could effectively run an Islamic country by what you are saying. Sorry but the Muslim states would not even sign up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and had to have their own Cairo Declaration on Human Rights. The simple fact is that democracy cannot come to Islam because the “gate of ijtihad is closed”.

          • Suhail H Patel

            > The simple fact is that democracy cannot come to Islam because the “gate of ijtihad is closed”.

            This is the problem with your argument, that’s a false premise. There are predominantly Islamic states that are democratic. So this is simply untrue. You’re letting dogma cloud your judgement, and implying Muslims are somehow different to other human beings. Does a Muslim man not want the right to self-determination any more than an atheist man such as yourself? Stop this elitist nonsense.

            > Christians and Jews could effectively run an Islamic country by what you are saying

            These religions are all relatively the same, borne on the Abrahamic legend of the major monotheistic faiths. I think you’ll find most people from all these major religions get on rather well. The issue with IS is not about religion, any more than the Iraq war was about “freedom.” Open your eyes to reality Henry, the issue is far more complex than a sectarian conflict. This is geopolitics first and foremost. The religious narrative is easier for people to consume, easier to control folks with.

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            Sorry, but you are wrong. Name me the “predominantly Islamic states that are democratic”. If Islam accepts democracy then it accepts the l;aws of man … oh, sorry, Islam accepts the law of ‘Allah’ only. Supposedly Islamic states that don’t accept this and create man-made laws are known as tagheet governments, those that impose earthly, man-made laws as opposed to the laws of Allah. You are either being disingenuous or you are in denial about Islam and democracy, I don’t know which.

          • Suhail H Patel

            > Name me the “predominantly Islamic states that are democratic”.

            You accuse me of being disingenuous, when a quick google search would reveal those answers to you Henry.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_democracy#Indices_of_democracy_in_Muslim_countries

            As I have already conceded, there are undoubtedly issues within some of these countries, but these are not explained as solely the fault of Islam. You can perhaps speculate the reason may be linked to Islam, but there are many other factors at play, and there is no conclusive reason as to what is the cause of instability in these regions. As I have mentioned, in countries like Mali and Sirrea Lionne, there has been a long history of colonial rule, which may have led to some of the issues we see there still persisting today.

            Also in the Middle East, after the end of the Islamic Golden Age, the region has sufferred at the hands of invasions from the likes of Monguls a Crusaders. It’s power diminished as it’s trading declined also, and new Imperial powers from the West went on to invade from the 17th century on wards.

            You can read about the imperial interests in the middle east below:
            http://ocw.nd.edu/arabic-and-middle-east-studies/islamic-societies-of-the-middle-east-and-north-africa-religion-history-and-culture/lectures/lecture-4

            Of course as imperial power weaned worldwide, the middle east was broken up and controlled by often military leaders put in place by the West. This by and large gave rise to political Islam, namely, the Islamists, who felt their lives were being dictated by foreign forces.

            The lessons we must take from this is that we are not some wholesome defenders of peace on the world stage, but some of the most violent and prolific exporters of authoritarian regimes. If we want to solve the problems in the world today, but and large, we should stop creating them in the first place.

            In my view, given time, development, fair access to markets, and SOVEREIGNTY; many of these countries would achieve the same level of democracy we have in the West. It s not our obligation nor in our best interests to impose this upon them (as history shows, this just makes it worse.) Saying this, even the level of freedom we enjoy here is questionable. There are undoubtedly issues within out own societies also.

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            I notice that my posts now require moderator approval – why?

          • Suhail H Patel

            It automatically does that when you spam my website. I’m not trying to stifle your freedoms, don’t worry. You can chat all the shit you want online mate. While I find it lamentable, any reasonable reader is likely to see the fallacies in your arguments.

        • san

          well said x

          • http://www.gobbledegooked.wordpress.com/ Henry Page

            Thanks. The site owner’s arguments continually ignore the generalisation of violence that is led by Muslims actually quoting Islam as the need to commit such acts. This is a Muslim matter, not Christian, Jew etc. For the record, I am equally opposed to all the religions that imagine that their is an intervening deity, the ‘caring god’.

            I am not solely against Islam, but Islam does happen to be at the top of the ranking when it comes to violence. My opinion, for what it is worth, is that this is predicated by the political ideology of Islam more than the theology.

    • Ummer Farooq

      That was in Sudan, a country supported by William Morris when the Caliph asked Queen Victoria for assistance in the late 1800s. William Morris, with Eleanor Marx worked hard to stop more British troops going to Sudan to stop the Isis like mahdists. Churchill was in that war. But General Gordon died along with the British troops. General Gordon Was a man who recommended a guy who he fought against to govern Sudan. Lest we forget General Gordon. When news arrived of general Gordon’s death, queen Victoria sent a telegram of rebuke to Prime minister at that time, a liberal Gladstone. A prime minister who used to go out in the streets and try to “save” prostitutes from their life of sin.

      So today, you have a country that could have been sorted out, but no they punish people for not even naming a stuffed animal, it was named by the kids. Or for getting married and then declared that marriage was adulterous! Or wanting to stone a woman who got pregnant, don’t they believe in the story of Mary mother of Jesus? Don’t they know stoning is for rapists and not mothers. But that’s what you get, when people like Gladstone or Tony Blair get elected.

  • Suhail H Patel

    > Since when was Wikipedia a source of robust, qualitative facts?

    Again, this is a logical fallacy. The information on Wiki was sourced from a credible outlet.

    If you’re not going to even bother looking into the historical evidence that I have very clearly linked you to then I refuse to continue this discussion with you Henry. You’re not listening to what I’ve said, and are repeating the same tired talking points. You condemn Muslim countries for being backwards, but then fail to acknowledge the reasons for why that is. Instead of working together to try and find a solution, you spout blind hatred and propaganda online. Just despicable behaviour really, you have no idea what this kind of sentiment is doing the Muslim community. It fuels Islamism, not stops it.