THE BLOG

A Call for the Media to Address Islamaphobia

21/06/2013 13:09 BST | Updated 21/06/2013 13:09 BST

A pregnant Muslim woman who was attacked for wearing a veil on Thursday in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil suffered a miscarriage and lost her baby, her lawyer reported on Tuesday. The number of Islamaphobic attacks against Muslims is currently on the rise and it is up to the media, politicians, governments, policymakers and other public institutions to address and find solutions to the current situation at hand.

Firstly the mainstream media need to stop misusing the religion of Islam to describe terror suspects, extremists and terrorists. There have been countless terrorists who belong to other religions but we do not hear their religions being brought up, and quite rightly so. Every religion should be respected enough not to be misused and the media's reporting of Muslims can only further increase Islamaphobia.

As a journalist and Muslim I call on the mainstream media to stop using the word Islamic or Muslim when describing individuals, whose atrocious acts are nothing to do with the religion of Islam. People who say they are acting in the name of religion to justify immoral actions are not truly following their religion and are practicing it wrongly. For this reason, it is a mistake to form any idea of that religion from the activities of these people.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) published a report outlining the difficulties that Muslims in Britain face due to Islamaphobia and the report can be downloaded on www.insted.co.uk/islam

There needs to be more emphasis on interfaith relations and a clear understanding of Islam and its teachings in order to form a true opinion about the religion. Islam means peace and the majority of Muslims in Britain are law abiding, peaceful citizens who want to get along with the community.

My solidarity rests with all the victims who have been targeted by ignorant individuals who refuse to live peacefully with one another.

The ban on the burqa in France can further reinforce anti Muslim behaviour as Muslims may feel they are directly being scrutinised for wearing Islamic headdress. How can a veil covering the face harm anyone? There are more important issues in society such as poverty and crime that needs to be dealt with but yet again innocent Muslims are getting targeted.

The French government would like to pretend that they are not prejudiced and discriminatory against other religions but frankly I feel that this is not the case. Not only has France banned the burka but it also bans the wearing of Jewish skullcaps and crucifixes in school. This restriction poised by France is stopping people from having the freedom to express their identity and religious beliefs openly.

Daniel Bacquelaine, the liberal MP who has previously proposed the burqa bill in Belgium wants an 'Open, liberal, tolerant society'. It is ironic that the word 'tolerant society' is being used; does wearing a veil over your face constitute an intolerant society?

It is clearly apparent that the open prejudices that France has exhibited against the wearing of the Burka both in the past and now can only further increase Islamaphobia.

Police in London are seeing eight times as many Islamophobic attacks in the capital since the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, a Metropolitan Police chief said to ITV news. Commander Simon Lethford told BBC Radio 4's Today programme police had "definitely seen an increase" in the number of incidents.

There needs to be more emphasis on addressing Islamaphobia and promoting interfaith relations so that we can move forward to promote religious tolerance and a better understanding of one another.