The Cordoba Foundation

Media Release
4 March, 2019

The Sun chooses scandal over human rights

In an article published on the 28th of February titled: “Corbyn ally Emily Thornbury gives talk to extremist-linked Muslim Brotherhood group”, The Sun chose to stir scandal rather than cover the plight of the Uyghurs — victims of large-scale human rights violations of our time.

The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) is deeply disturbed that an event it had hosted at the London Muslim Centre on 13 February, in which numerous prominent speakers spoke of the tragic plight of almost a million Uyghur Chinese Muslims, drove The Sun to conjure a story without even mentioning the topic of the event itself.

With reportedly a million Uyghurs being held in concentration camps and subject to torture under the pretext of ‘re-education’, TCF held this event to highlight the crimes being committed by one of the UK’s major trading partners, China. Having reached out to all the major political parties, Emily Thornbury of the Labour Party and Alistair Charmichael of the Liberal Democrats responded positively, with Ms Thornbury kindly managing to attend and give a few minutes’ address. For this, she should be congratulated, especially that her speech touched on the most important issues pertaining to this case.

To taint the entire event and the topic at hand and abuse the victims of this crime by slinging mud in the direction of TCF and its CEO, is cheap. The readers of The Sun deserve far better. The Cordoba Foundation absolutely and completely refutes the charge of extremism and leaves its own track record and that of its Founder to speak for themselves. Countering extremism at every turn, promoting democracy and human rights around the world and advocating peaceful and collaborative co-existence, have been the unfailing pursuit of TCF, whilst Altikriti is renowned for successfully – often at his own safety — negotiating the release of numerous hostages in various conflict zones, including Christian Peacemakers in Iraq.
The accusation that TCF is somehow a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, made initially by David Cameron in 2009, is both laughable and tiresome. TCF has repeatedly reached out to the former Prime Minister challenging him either to provide evidence to the claim or to repeat the charge outside of Parliamentary privilege, to which he has never afforded the courtesy of a reply. As far as Foundation is concerned, it is a false charge which Cameron made to score political points at the time and has failed repeatedly to substantiate. In similar vein, a number of dictatorships have over the years levied false charges of extremism against The Cordoba Foundation seeking to undermine its work and tarnish it negatively. It is interesting to see The Sun corroborate and repeat the claims made by states and regimes which are renowned for the most gross human rights violations, absence of freedoms and authoritarian systems.

The plight of the China’s Uyghur Muslims is a tragic case of cultural and religious cleansing which is taking place under our watch. The Sun’s story is pathetic, riddled with lies and distracts from one of the most heinous crimes of our time.


Notes to editors:

1. Media and other queries:
2. Uyghur event video:
3. For further information about Uyghurs, see the latest edition of iNSIGHTS, titled “China’s mass detentions and incarceration of Uyghur Muslims” written by Dr Rachel Harris.

Download the file here.