Role Of Muslim Activist In Reducing The Impact Of Islamophobia In UK

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There is a constant rise in issues regarding Islamophobia in UK and several cases have been reported till date. Abuse is becoming a part of everyday life for Muslims in UK and a lot of people aren't even taking the issue into consideration. Many officials have even denied existence of such a thing, but the reality remains the same. According to Marsh (2018) in 2017, vandalism replaced threatening behavior as the third most common category of anti-Muslim hate incident; there was a 56% increase in anti-Muslim vandalism when compared with 2016. A Muslim organization TellMama (2018) recorded a total of 685 reports. Of these reports, 608 were verified as being anti-Muslim or Islamophobic in nature and as having occurred in the UK between January and June 2018. A lot of Muslims feel that Islamophobia is not even an issue in The British Press. A reader of the Guardian, Versi (2018) in the opinion section said that - “I’ve personally complained and won corrections from national papers on more than 40 stories related to Islam and Muslims.” With so much issues Islamophobia continues to be nonexistent not just for British media but also for the government officials. Khan (2017) quoted Runnymede Trust's latest survey report, which said “Muslims or ethnic minorities and the government should not be the only parties responsible in tackling Islamophobia. Employers, neighbors, teachers and fellow citizens should also raise awareness in cracking down on racism 'wherever and however it appears.” With broadcast as a medium, the project will focus on finding measures taken by Muslim activists, community and religious group to overcome the impact of Islamophobia in UK.

Literature and Background Research

Islamophobia is a term which is yet to find a proper definition but the first known printed usage of the word Islamophobia appears to be in February 1991, when it was published in a periodical in the United States. It has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary since 1997 (Sheridan 2006). A lot of people create their own definitions but according to Trust (1997) This word is functionally like xenophobia and offers a useful shorthand way of referring to a dread or hatred of Islam and therefore a fear or dislike of Muslims. Due to this fear, a lot of attacks have been reported against the Muslim community in U.K. and there is a constant increase in numbers over the last few years. Marsden and Savigny (2009) have said that whenever foreigners and ethnic minorities are made a problem, this regularly tells us about the ‘majority’ of a given society, for example the extent of an identity and orientation crisis. In Britain the debate about Islam is rarely out of headlines. Elizabeth Poole has identified the huge increases in articles about Muslims in British press since 9/11. The tone of reportage is one which emphasizes Muslim difference from the host culture and, as Poole suggests, this is linked to concerns of powerful groups in society (Poole, 2002, p. 81). According to Khiabany and Williamson (2012) The British tabloid press have been at the forefront of anti-Muslim journalism. Trevor Kavanagh, the former political editor of the bestselling British tabloid paper The Sun, regularly used his column to link Islam to violence and backwardness. Islamophobia isn't just about racism and abuse, but the situation is such that if an attacker is found to be Islamic then the entire community gets dragged into issue and it isn't just limited to adults but a lot of school going kids face it too. There are still a lot of misconception amongst people that Islam as religion is threat to the world, which results in a lot of hate crimes against them. According to Tellmama (2018) two-thirds of verified incidents occurred offline, or on a street-level (65.9%, n=401) and the online accusation accounted for over a third of reports in 2018 (34%, n=207). Even The Guardian (2018) stated that of the victims six out of 10 were women and of the perpetrators eight out of 10 were men, with the majority aged between 13 and 18. A lot has been spoken about it by the Muslim activists but the question still stands still that what exactly the community is doing to save its member and people from the issue. Cases gets reported, community gets formed and lot of speaker come up but how much impactful it is? Project would aim to shoot all the progress and work done by the people to present Islam just like any other religion and tell the world that Muslims aren't a threat to the world. From all the literature review its clear that a lot of things are going through but the issue isn't considered worthy because a minority group isn't given importance just like everyone else. However, a lot of research is still to be done from the British government’s point of view because Frost (2007) has argued that while considering impartiality and objectivity we need to consider balance. A piece should be balanced and before concluding both the sides should be looked at. The project will even have to answer about the involvement of community to save it.

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Focus and Approach

A lot of people have spoken about islamophobia but the only question that looms is ‘What are the Muslim activists doing to reduce the effect of Islamophobia in UK?’ The focus of this dissertation project won't just be Islamophobia but instead the steps taken by community people and activist to reduce it. Under this question it will mostly target Community people, Activist of Muslim community, Researchers, Journalist reporting on it, Academic scholars, Promoters of Islam, Victims, British officials and people associated with Islamophobia. My project aims to highlight the real face of Islamophobia, a lot of people feel that Islam and Muslims aren't respected in UK, but my project aims to show both the side of the story and how impactful the role of Muslim activist and community people can be to reduce its effect. Entman (1993, p. 52) specified that to frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item describe. My dissertation will aim to focus his theory and form a structured base to answer all the questions. According to Ahmed and Matthes (2016) over the years the media have paid detailed attention to conflicts involving Muslims and Islam, there are grounds to assume they have failed to comprehend the sociopolitical and economic reasons behind such issues. In the generalizability of assumption. Islam is portrayed in a different way in western media which results in lot of conflicts in the minds of British people and that’s why it's said the media plays a huge role in creating and shaping someone's image. The only reason why i wish to interview people at higher authority is to tell by the means of documentary that how much influence a short piece can make if presented in the right way. I wish to seek the in-depth happenings in Islam and why it’s portrayed in such a way. A systematic interview session would be conducted of different age groups and sex to find the exact situation, despite it being a documentary it will have all the research methodology to find the present condition. Interviews would be conducted to have in depth knowledge and statistics. One to one interaction would be done to know the truth. Cardiff would be the most accessible place but situation of Manchester, London, Birmingham and few other cities would be looked too. These are the places where majority of Islamic community lives. With the help of all the above the project will aim to look the daily life conditions of individuals and the measures taken by the community to overcome that. Majority of clips would be taken in Cardiff and would aim to reflect where and how the community is lacking in presenting Islam just like any other religion and how it can still reduce the impact of Islamophobia in UK.

Reflection and Conclusion

The project aims about a religious group and that too Islam which is quite sensitive, a lot of ethical and professional considerations would be there. Based on ICH definition, ‘informed consent is a process by which a subject voluntarily confirms his or her willingness to participate in a particular trial, after having been informed of all aspects of the trial that are relevant to the subject's decision to participate’. As for a standard (therapeutic) intervention that carries certain risks, informed consent – that is voluntary, given freely and adequately informed – must be sought from participants (Yip et al. 2016). Apart from the permission ethical measures regarding the sensitivity of matter would be taken care of. A lot of higher authorities might deny talking or filming but that can be done if framing is done to common people and their issues. Project will not only be a voice but will also act as a bridge between different community groups. Aim of the project is not to tell what the issue are but it's to let people know how it can be solved and where it's lacking. Consent and permission would be another issue but with much diversity it can be overcome with the help of legal measures. You never know a small documentary can become voice for a person who wants to be judged based on talent and not religion.


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  14. Yip, C. Han, N.R. and Sng, B.L. 2016 Legal and ethical issues in research. Indian J Anaesth 60(9), pp. 684–688. doi: [10.4103/0019-5049.190627]
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