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Looking at the coverage of the Gallup – Coexist Foundation survey in today’s Daily Express and Daily Star (both owned by Richard Desmond), you’d be forgiven for thinking that there was anything positive revealed in the survey results.
Despite the fact that the survey, released yesterday, showed that British Muslims were more loyal than most Britons to the UK; that they placed a higher degree of trust in institutions and that the obstacles to integration were more likely to be socio-economic than cultural, the Express and the Star find little in all of this to subdue their prejudiced agenda. The Express captions the results in the corner of a page devoted to the article, ‘Muslim dentist who told female patients to wear headscarves’, while the Star focuses on the percentage of Britons who distrust that Muslims are loyal to the UK, and features lengthy comment on the survey results by none other than Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion.
Eric Randolph, in an article on the government’s Contest policy and social cohesion wrote of the failure ‘to discuss the role of the press [on cohesion]....Islamophobia remains rampant in Britain’s mainstream press. Muslims are continually identified either with terrorism or as culturally incompatible with the British way of life....A study by students at Cardiff University found that two thirds of Muslim-related articles published in the mainstream press between 2000 and 2008 focused on Muslims as a threat, a problem, or both. For example, the idea that Islam is dangerous, backward or irrational was present in 26% of stories. The shrieking reaction of the tabloids to a tiny handful of protesters at a recent army parade in Luton shows that little has changed in 2009.’
Nor, it seems, does the publication of a survey that confounds the stereotypical representation of Muslims in the British press deter them from persisting in their prejudice. And they wonder why two thirds of Britons distrust Muslims’ loyalty to Britain.
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