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30 years on The Muslim News needed more than ever

22nd Feb 2019
30 years on The Muslim News needed more than ever

Without fail, The Muslim News has since 1989 been publishing every month, equivalent to a whole generation. There was no comparable newspaper, no media for British Muslims to identify with, to articulate their views, to reflect their concerns and promote their many achievements. Decades later, the paper is proud to profess that it has remained independent, non-partisan and inclusive, without any external funding or institutional influences.

During the intervening period, the world has dramatically changed. Advanced technology has revolutionised the way people relate and obtain information. The advent of the internet, social media and mobile phones have rapidly accelerated the speed of communication and social change. But in its own field, The Muslim News has remained pioneering. It has not only defied all odds to survive but more so, it has stuck rigidly to its original aims. 

The struggle to maintain an independent voice free from corporate domination is undeniable. Running on a shoestring budget, the paper has heavily depended on the devotion of mostly unpaid volunteers and staff members. It has been a huge accomplishment to reach a national readership of over 150,000 people from a diverse range of communities and to be the country’s top ethnic minority paper.

The Muslim News website has proved to be a valuable source for news globally, attracting up to a million and a half hits a month,

The newspaper’s record speaks for itself, being the leading source of news on British Muslims and continues to do so with rigid objectivity without favour or fear. It has proved vital and influential reading for journalists, Muslim and other leaders,  policymakers and political pundits as a voice of the community in the UK. Its uniqueness has been to report original stories neglected by mainstream publications and often providing scoops later picked up by the rest of the media.

Since  1989, the British Muslim community has undergone watershed moments in its history. Muslims started identifying themselves as a faith community, so the paper became a rallying point of the community. British Muslims became the subject of the national conversation for the first time with their own voice, defined by themselves and not by others to develop their own narrative. And all entirely funded by a small stream of advertising revenue.

It was an authentic, grassroots initiative to help the community to identify its own story on its own terms. Renowned for its campaigning, issues have been selected from state funding for Muslims schools to holding the Government to account for the excesses of draconian anti-terror laws. For the past 30 years, it has reported the highs and lows of the community, not forgetting the magnitude of successes, showcased with the advent of The Muslim News Awards for Excellence since 2000. The celebration has become a major feature in the Muslim calendar.

The spirit of The Muslim News was spelt out in its first editorial “to provide a forum, a medium, to convey the progress of Muslims to draw experiences from others, and to allow the community to grow and develop from within.”

If the publication was desperately needed 30 years ago, it remains even more essential today.

Social divisions have in many respects widened, best illustrated by the hostile and friction-filled aftermath of the EU referendum that has drifted the UK into isolationism as well as the election of bigoted Donald Trump as the President of the US.

In the background is the haunting growth of Islamophobia as scapegoats have been sought for the failures of progress and scaremongering as if to compensate for the cancer of hate crimes.

The Muslim News often has been the first and only newspaper to tell the story of the Muslim community as it is being unhindered by narrow agendas and sectional interests. Its continued pledge is to report the numerous cases of Islamophobia – which it has since 1989 – that affects the lives of Muslims as well as the multitude of Muslim success stories that the wider society refuses to acknowledge.

After 30 years, The Muslim News continues to be distributed for free across the UK, with a growing subscription base and is essential reading for those who wish to sample the pulse of the community. It is humbled yet proud of its achievements as a truly independent newspaper of record.

The Muslim News 30th anniversary messages

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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