The Muslim Council of Britain today welcomed Peter Oborne’s recent Dispatches programme highlighting anti-Muslim bias in the British media.
The documentary found that there is a pervasive bias against Muslims in mainstream discourse in the UK. Oborne has shown that this bias takes many forms, from misunderstanding to outright hostility. He has shown that it can be found in newspapers, among the general public and at the heart of government.
A study commissioned for the programme by the Cardiff University School of Journalism found that around two thirds of all “news hooks” for stories about Muslims involved terrorism, the highlighting of cultural differences or Muslim extremism and only five per cent of stories concerned the problems facing British Muslims.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the MCB said: “It is heartening to see a figure like Peter Oborne a respected journalist addressing the issue of anti-Muslim bias. The MCB and other Muslim organisations have been saying for many years that Muslims are misrepresented in the mainstream media but our appeals for a mature and responsible debate have often been ignored. I hope that Oborne’s critique, coming as it does from the very heart of the British mainstream, will not be so easily dismissed.”
“The MCB encourages Muslims to reach out to their neighbours to challenge the perception that Muslims in the UK are extremists or separatists to show that we do not want to ban Christmas or piggybanks and that we are not asking for special treatment but for an equal stake in Britain’s future.”
“The MCB is working hard at the grassroots level to discourage Muslims from turning inwards and allowing the peddlers of hate and bigotry to win. This summer, MCB and its affiliates will hold a series of events entitled ‘Looking Beyond the Terror Narrative’ aimed at moving the debate over the place of Muslims in British Society away from the crude stereotyping and misrepresentation that Oborne highlights so effectively in his documentary.”
NOTES TO EDITORS –
1. The Muslim Council of Britain is a representative British Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.