The Daily Mail, Daily Express and Mirror all report on Windsor’s Legoland’s cancellation of the private hire of the venue by the Muslim Research and Development Foundation. The MRDF had hired the venue for a Muslim Family Day Out but after an avalanche of threats by the far right English Defence League, the venue issued a statement yesterday to say that it had been forced to cancel because it could not guarantee the safety of staff and visitors.
The English Defence League’s bombardment of Legoland’s social media pages with anti-Muslim and racist comments forced the temporary closure of its Facebook page. The venue only last week confirmed to the Windsor Express that it would ‘stay firm’ on the private hire of the venue which was booked during the ‘off peak season’ and would not therefore have been open to the public.
A spokesperson for Windsor Legoland said in a statement that the volume of threatening messages, including the posting of an image of a Muslim member of staff onto social media pages, forced its decision. In a statement, the company said:
“Sadly it is our belief that deliberate misinformation fuelled by a small group with a clear agenda was designed expressly to achieve this outcome.
“We are appalled at what has occurred, and at the fact that the real losers in this are the many families and children who were looking forward to an enjoyable day out.
“We would like to apologise to them and to the organisers, and to thank them for their understanding.”
‘Deliberate misinformation’ is putting a rather mild gloss on the incendiary article written by Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail about the MRDF booking.
As for its being ‘fuelled by a small group’, the popularity of the Mail Online’s website, attracting an average of 10 million unique visitors daily, is hardly to be considered ‘small’. Littlejohn’s article itself was shared 12,449 times and the Mail Online site shows 285 comments appended to it.
The statement issued by Legoland is absolutely right on one thing: the deliberate campaign intended to force the cancellation of an event organised for the enjoyment of Muslims families and children. That Littlejohn should have contributed to such a campaign by authoring a vitriolic piece is a damning example in the irresponsible use of media platforms to foment anti-Muslim prejudice.