Reasoning: Extreme Right, Propaganda, Conspiracy, Hate Group
Country: United Kingdom
World Press Freedom Rank: UK 35/180
Founded in 2014 by far-right politician Anne Marie Waters, Sharia Watch UK is “an organization concerned with the elements of sharia law which are discriminatory and violent, particularly towards women and girls, and which endanger and threaten the democratic principle of freedom of speech.” They further state on their about page that “Sharia Watch UK will seek to document the advancement of sharia law in Britain, the methods by which this advancement occurs, and the groups and organizations which promote it.”
Anne Marie Waters is an anti-Islam activist who formed her own far-right political party called For Britain. She was formerly a member of the far-right UKIP party but was deselected due to her views being too extreme for their platform. UKIP stated that she went “way above and beyond party policy” when she declared Islam is evil. The primary tenets of the For Britain platform are anti-Islam and fierce British Nationalism.
Funded by / Ownership
The Sharia Watch UK website does not disclose ownership, however, we do know Anne Marie Waters is the founder. Funding is also not disclosed though they do appear to accept donations.
Analysis / Bias
Anne Marie Waters is a part of a group called Pegida, which German Chancellor Merkel has described as an anti-Islam hate group. The goals of Pegida are to halt to Muslim immigration, the closure of sharia courts, a ban on the wearing of the burqa, and a moratorium on mosque construction.
In review, the website consists of original articles that are research-based and sourced to a variety of outlets. They also provide news from external sources regarding Islam and Sharia that is never favorable and always paints both in a negative light through highlighting crimes or perceived dangers due to immigration. Sharia Watch UK also publishes negative opinion pieces regarding Islam, some of which come from known hate groups such as Voice of Europe. In general, the content provided by Sharia Watch UK is all anti-Islam and pro-British Nationalism with the owner and founder being known to support hate groups.
Overall, we rate Sharia Watch UK a Questionable source due to the promotion of negative propaganda regarding Muslims and affiliation with hate groups. (D. Van Zandt 8/30/2018)