After a U.K. tabloid published a story claiming one in five British Muslims has "sympathy for jihadis," Twitter users shot back with a mocking hashtag with other spurious claims about #1in5Muslims.
The front page of Monday's Sun newspaper screamed the headline:
Here's tomorrow's front page... pic.twitter.com/dyr1EHD1cY— @TheSun
That would be a shocking claim. If it were true. A closer inspection of the poll the story is based on reveals why that headline is false.
For one thing, the poll question never mentioned jihadis, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or any other group.
The question was: "How do you feel about young Muslims who leave the U.K. to join fighters in Syria?"
How The Sun sensationalized findings of its poll to instill fear and hate. Shameless. pic.twitter.com/SjahgD6swz— @AnupKaphle
Since there are "fighters in Syria" who are battling against ISIS, it's reasonable to interpret the question to include those fighters, as well. Indeed, three Britons who went to Syria to fight ISIS have been praised as "heroes."
Also, the result is similar to the finding of the same poll question asked to all residents of Great Britain in March for Sky News. It found 14 per cent of respondents had some "sympathy" for young Muslims leaving the U.K. to fight in Syria.
In addition, the Guardian found the company the Sun used to conduct the poll used a list of "1,500 Muslim surnames" to determine whom to call. Rival polling companies told the newspaper that this method did not necessarily give a representative sample of the British Muslim population.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation said it had received more than 1,200 complaints about that Sun front page by Tuesday afternoon, the most by far it has received for any story since the regulatory body was set up last year.
But on top of those complaints came the calumny from people on social media, who blasted the Sun for its interpretation of the poll and inflammatory headline.
Humza Yousaf is a member of the Scottish Parliament.
Others on Twitter used a different method to vent their frustration: straight-up mockery.
The hashtag #1in5Muslims emerged to collect other statistical claims of dubious origin.
#1in5Muslims is a Belieber.— @Soul_Dignified
#1in5muslims think Ross and Rachel were on a break— @LiberatedSoul_
#1in5Muslims have an uncle who could have got it cheaper for you— @EnamHaque3
#1in5Muslims show up to events on time. They sit alone for 90 minutes.— @WajahatAli
There was some wry references to Arabic names.
#1in5Muslims is named Mohammed. The other four spell it differently.— @imranyusuf
#1in5Muslims are lucky enough not to have a red squiggly line under their name in Microsoft Word— @hamzahmoin
And lots of pop culture references.
#1in5muslims look like Zayn Malik, according to their mums.— @Sarkhail7Khan