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.
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.”
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.
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.