The fact that British Muslims are depicted very negatively and stereotypically by some mainstream media outlets isn’t news to anyone. Most of the time when one opens the pages of the newspaper or scrolls down any mainstream news source Muslims seemingly are either bombing places or running off to Syria. Just in the last few weeks, three missing Muslim girls were immediately assumed to have run away from home to join ISIS although they had left their passport at home. Or that just a few days ago the Daily Mail reported specifically a Muslim engineer raped her colleague, as if sexual violence is an Islamic epidemic not a global one. We have yet to come across a title where specifically a Christian man has raped or stolen, it seems every time individuals commit a crime if they happen to be Muslim it is mentioned in the title but never if he is of white Christian background.
However, instead of dwelling on the hundreds of times the media has maintained double standards for minorities, we would like to focus on the countless times British Muslims have done something positive or achieved something great in 2015. British Muslims’ achievements and accomplishments are both small and big. The first and most famous that comes to mind is Nadiya Hussain who won the Great British Bake-Off, not only did she win the competition she also won the hearts of the British public with her humility and self-deprecating sense of humour. Or someone we know much better who is another British Muslim with great achievements is our Director, Sajda Mughal OBE who was awarded with an OBE in January 2015 and won the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Humanitarian Award in December 2015.
British Muslims’ good actions can be smaller but as meaningful too, for instance, during Christmas groups of Muslim volunteers come together in Bristol to hand out hot meals to the city’s homeless while another group went to Kendall to distribute toys to children who were affected by the floods. On the other hand, the Guardian’s list of Six women who made 2016 includes Clare Moseley along with other unmentioned volunteers who brought donations to the refugees in Calais. However, the article doesn’t even mention the thousands of Muslims and dozens of Muslim charities that also made donations to the refugee camp. Additionally, during the devastating floods in the UK, Amir Khan and many Muslim communities went out to the area to volunteer. Of course, some of the good deeds British Muslims do aren’t only quite acts of kindness, a few weeks ago hundreds of Muslims flooded the streets of London to protest ISIS and chant that Islam is a religion peace. No major media outlet covered the protests properly and in fact the Independent published an article on the frustration of the organizers of the protest because no mainstream media outlet had paid any attention to the protest. Ironically one of the most popular criticisms leveled against British Muslims is that they do not condemn terrorism enough, the thing is they do but it is hardly mentioned in the media.
Hopefully the media in 2016 will be fairer and more balanced towards depicting Muslims because the good deeds of regular British Muslims far out-weigh the unspeakable acts of violence a micro-minority of Muslims commit.