After an autumn of media obsession with Muslims forgive me for adding yet more. I’m presenting an edition of BBC Radio 4’s Analysis on Muslims and The media. We’ll be asking whether the reporting of the Iraq War abroad and the terrorist threat at home has damaged the trust of ordinary Muslims in the mainstream media.
One person I interviewed today for the programme is certain that it has. Rageh Omaar is a British
Muslim of Somalian descent.
He famously reported for the BBC from Baghdad but has now deserted the corporation for Aljazeera English, the international version of the famous Arabic news channel.
He has an interesting theory about what he says is the distorted coverage of Muslims in the UK and issues involving Muslims around the world. He thinks that liberal British journalists see Islam as a test of their political virility:
“Whether it’s the Guardian or the Daily Telegraph, Sky News or the BBC… there’s this shrug of the shoulders assumption, that there is something there, Islam does threaten our liberal sensibilities, and it is the right thing to have a go first,” he said.
Rageh thinks that journalists in Britain “define their sense of being liberal, being Western, against Islam.” Today in the media says Rageh, “the way you show you really are liberal… is your stance against Islam,”.
More from Rageh and a host of other journalists on reporting Muslims in Britain on Thursday December 28th at 8.30pm on BBC Radio 4.