CAIRO - Lawmakers, human rights advocates and Muslim leaders have joined hands to call for a public inquiry into distorting media coverage of Muslims and their faith in Britain.
An alternative inquiry is necessary to investigate what many regard as widespread and systematic discriminatory practices in reporting on Muslims and Islam in the British media, they said in a joint letter cited by the Guardian.
Victims - whether prominent or not - of alleged discriminatory media coverage have a right to have their testimonies catalogued and examined thoroughly by credible, independent assessors.
British Muslims, estimated at 2.3 million, have long complained of distorted media coverage of the sizable minority.
Over the past decade, a number of academic studies have indicated a worrying and disproportionate trend towards negative, distorted and even fabricated reports in media coverage of the Muslim community, said the letter.
A recent government-commissioned study has found that a torrent of negative and imbalance stories in the British media demonize the sizable Muslim minority and their faith by spreading prejudices and portraying them as the enemy within.
An earlier British study had accused the media and film industry of perpetuating Islamophobia and prejudice by projecting Muslims as violent, dangerous and threatening people.
The letter was signed by a host of prominent Britons, including human rights solicitor Imran Khan and Farooq Murad, secretary-general of the umbrella Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
Signatories also include lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn, Lord Navnit Dholakia and Anas Altikriti, president and founder of the Cordoba Foundation.
Muslims Deserve Better
The letter blamed the British media for creating a climate of hatred against the Muslim minority.
Muslims deserve a better press than they have been given in the past decade," said the signatories.
A recent report by ComRes found that most Britons blame the media for fueling fears and hatred of Muslims.
The survey showed that people are twice as likely to say the media is to blame for Islamophobia (29%) than far-right groups (13%), or Muslims themselves, whether abroad (14%) or in the UK (11%).
The letter lamented that the British government was quick to launch a public inquiry into the phone hacking scandal by the News International, while totally dragged feet on a similar move on anti-Muslim reporting.
The Leveson inquiry has so far failed to adequately address unfair media coverage as it relates to less prominent cases, including those relating to Muslims and Islam, focusing as it does on the impact of phone hacking on celebrities and other high-profile individuals.
The signatories reiterated calls for launching a similar inquiry into the media reporting on Muslims.
Recommendations can then be made to improve ethical standards in the reporting of not solely the Muslim community but of all sections of society.
Since the 7/7 attacks, which killed 56 commuters including 4 Muslim bombers, British Muslims have complained of a growing Islamophobic climate in the European country.
A Financial Times opinion poll has showed recently that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the first Muslim woman to sit in the British government, said last year that anti-Muslim sentiments have become an acceptable thing in British society.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net