On 22 September 2022, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) hosted a virtual launch event for an EU-funded report by the controversial British investigative non-profit Spinwatch. The report analyzes the role of influential European media conglomerates in disseminating what it calls “Islamophobic” viewpoints. According to an IHRC post
This report […] offers an analysis of the role and significance of the news media, detailing the political networks of which these organisations are part and analysing their relationship with political elites and social movements.
Read the rest here.
The title page of the report states, “Co-funded by the European Union.”
The report launch event featured speaking appearances by the report author and Spinwatch sponsor David Miller and former Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Research Director Arzu Merali. The IHRC is a UK-based NGO founded in 1997 and has had Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations since 2007. The IHRC is considered supportive of the Iranian regime and has been central to organizing the annual International Quds Day events. In August 2022, the GIOR reported that the IHRC chairman had praised the fatwa on author Salman Rushdie less than a year before an August 2022 stabbing attack in which Rushdie received life-threatening injuries. Also invited to speak at the event but not pictured in the event video was Ms. Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights.
Drawing from public data, the 56-page report titled “Islamophobia and European media: The role of the state as ‘primary definer’ accuses influential European media outlets of enabling anti-Muslim hatred. It also argues that changes in the nature of anti-Muslim reporting are often related to prior changes in government counter-terrorism policy, suggesting an “active structural relationship “between the state and the media. The report was co-authored by Spinwatch Director David Miller, a former professor of political sociology at the University of Bristol who, in 2021, was dismissed after making comments, such as saying Israel wanted to “impose [its] will all over the world.” Miller, known for his harsh criticism of Zionism and the “Israel lobby,” claimed that he was “entirely cleared of complaints of anti-Semitism” but was not allowed to mention it because of the report’s confidentiality. However, the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism accused Miller of “inciting hatred against Jewish students.” Miller produces a show on Palestine for Press TV, an Iranian state-funded broadcaster and influence operation aimed at Western audiences. In recent years, Miller has been described by a UK academic as having become a “conspiracy theorist.”
Spinwatch was founded in 2005 and maintains the open-source investigative platform Powerbase. It is generally associated with the British left, with its reporting almost exclusively centering around topics such as Big Pharma or the financial industry; it also has a history of anti-Israeli activism. In 2014, the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, our predecessor publication, reported that Spinwatch had received funding from the Cordoba Foundation, an organization headed by British GMB leader Anas Altkriti. According to its website, Spinwatch also received funding from additional GMB and Hamas support organizations, including:
- Muslim Engagement and Development, a UK Islamic NGO close to the GMB in Britain
- Interpal, a London-based Islamic charity that the US and Israel have designated as a terrorist entity in relation to fundraising for Hamas
- Friends of Al-Aqsa, a Leicester-based ‘human rights’ NGO tied to the GMB and Hamas.
- Middle East Monitor, a UK-based Islamist news portal close to the GMB and Hamas
For part two in this series, go here.