French Muslims use our cash to fight burkha ban (not)

The Express had two of its perennial bugbears – immigration and Europe – in its sights this morning when it reported that a Muslim couple that had settled in Britain were to use taxpayers’ cash to fight France’s burkha ban in the European Court of Human Rights.

Its headline boldly declared that: “French Muslims to use our cash to fight burkha ban.” The first paragraph fleshed this out in more detail: “A French Muslim couple sparked fury yesterday by using a free legal service paid for by British taxpayers to challenge their country’s controversial burkha ban.”

However readers able to splutter their way through to the end of the article might have noticed a slight problem: none of the story as told in the bulk of the article was actually accurate.

The Express includes a cursory quote at the end of its article explaining that the couple concerned were not actually receiving public money, as was loudly proclaimed in the headline.

It read: “But a Legal Services spokesman said that even if taxpayer-funded IAS lawyers were representing the couple, that service would not be paid for by legal aid. He added that they only gave legal aid to cases involving British law and concerned with immigration.”

While the Express no longer subscribes to the Press Complaints Commission, we hope its editors would agree that articles such as this mislead and misinform the paper’s readers. We will therefore be asking the Express to print a correction.

Full Fact, 10 June 2011

EDL swallows Express fairytale