Tabloid coverage condemned after Syrian family wrongly targeted


​Leading charity condemns irresponsible media coverage  

13th October 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A Greenock-based Syrian family has been targeted with racist abuse and threats after their cousin was arrested and released without charge in connection with the Parsons Green attack in London last month.  

Family links between Yahyah Farroukh, who is no longer under suspicion of involvement in the incident, and his cousins in Greenock were exploited in press coverage which trawled personal social media accounts for images related to Yahyah’s Scottish based family.

Tabloid sources pounced on the fact Farroukh had spent time visiting his firends on the Isle of Bute, publishing pictures and revealing details of the trip.  

It led to threatening messages being received by the family, forcing them to leave their house and stay in a hotel for a week under police protection.

The Sun claimed Farroukh had "bragged" about his westernised lifestyle, while the Daily Mail reported that he "enjoyed smoking weed and drinking vodka."

He was still being questioned by the police without charge when the Daily Record's front page splashed photographs of the suspect on board a CalMac ferry from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay in January 2016.

Scottish Refugee Council's media manager Pauline Diamond Salim said: “We hoped we wouldn’t be here commenting on this story. When we saw the misappropriated Facebook photos of the family in the press we feared this would put the family and the Syrian community in Scotland at risk, that this would lead to a backlash.

“The Daily Record and others’ headlines cast a shadow of suspicion over not just Yahyah and his family but, by association, the Syrian and wider refugee community here.”

Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Ali, 18, has since been charged with the terrorist attack in which 30 were injured on a London underground carriage.