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Students offered cash to spy on Muslims

Letter in the Socialist Worker How we nailed the Mail - letter to the Socialist Worker

The Mail on Sunday newspaper has been exposed for offering students cash to spy on Muslims. Journalists from London Student were approached by the newspaper and offered £100 per meeting to spy on student Islamic societies on campuses around London.

Glen Owen, the Mail on Sunday’s education correspondent, said to us, "If they say something in secret about 'We need to insist that women wear the burqa', or ‘We need to withdraw cooperation from the university’, or any of these sort of plots that they’ll be hatching… bring that into the open, then that’ll be interesting… See what you can sniff out."

We were offered further cash rewards for finding such "evidence". Our reporters did not attend any Islamic society meetings or receive any money from the newspaper – but we did turn the tables on them by pretending to comply with their suggestions in order to expose their tactics.

When we finally told the Mail on Sunday our true intentions, their response was, "Do you want to get into national newspapers? My advice to you would not be to criticise them and to cooperate with them. That’s all I’m saying, it’s all well and good being worthy, but…"

This affair exposes the Mail on Sunday’s agenda for what it really is – fanning the flames of Islamophobia by offering bribes to students. Associated Newspapers, the company that owns the Mail on Sunday, has a long history of attacking minorities.

Most recently it has led the witch-hunt against London mayor Ken Livingstone over his alleged "anti-Semitism". From the company’s open support of Hitler in the 1930s to their savage attacks on asylum seekers more recently, these newspapers wish to see a divided society. This time they have been exposed. You can read the full story on