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Time overdue to stop scapegoating Muslims

26th Feb 2021
Time overdue to stop scapegoating Muslims

(Photo credit: Ahmed J Versi/Muslim News)

‘British Muslim institutions, both charities and Islamic institutions have shown us what ‘being in this together’ means,’ says a timely parliamentary report. The findings come amid the current Covid-19 pandemic that has had a profound effect on people of all ages and in all communities both across the UK and around the world.

Little did MPs know how appropriate the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims would be when it was founded in 2017 to highlight the aspirations and challenges facing British Muslims; to celebrate the contributions of Muslim communities to Britain and to investigate prejudice, discrimination and hatred against Muslims in the UK.

Their report, ‘Rising to the Challenge’, highlights the excellent work the Muslim community has done around the country throughout the devastating pandemic.It is not just a testament to the great sense of community, generosity and compassion of British Muslims as Conservative co-chair of the APPG Mark Eastwood says.

The community has risen to the challenge and yet it remains scapegoated by sections of the media and among some politicians. ‘The pandemic has brought to the fore the huge debt we owe to Muslims and other faith communities who labour quietly and confidently in the service of others. They deserve our gratitude for sure, but they deserve more than just this,’ MPs reported. However, they deserve much more than being continually discredited.

Praise also came from Labour co-chair of the APPG Wes Streeting saying their report offered a ‘snapshot of the generosity and public-spiritedness of British Muslim communities during the first wave of the pandemic.’ Yet if it underlines the ‘positive role that faith can play in becoming the fourth emergency service in our time of need’ then why are there still voices sniping at the community and seeking to blame Muslims for the many failures of the response to Covid-19 by an inept Tory Government that has moved so far to the right after leading the country out of the EU.

Muslims have been at the forefront in combating the deadly virus, with many other ethnic minorities suffering disproportionately as a consequence. Better data-collection on religion and ethnicity is needed to ensure factors can be fully assessed to explain the disproportionate mortality rate experienced. Without tackling the underlying causes, minority communities cannot be protected from the disease.

Building a way out of the pandemic requires Johnson engages with Muslims in addressing persistent structural inequalities, rather than leading an un-listening team of ministers, ruling by their own dictates often ignoring and neglecting local bodies that have the necessary expertise so essentially needed.

The consequences, so far, of the pandemic, have led to the UK being an even more unequal society with the gap between rich and poor continuing to widen. The issue of inequality could not be any graver; it is literally life and death, as one of the richest countries in the world experiences one of the highest mortality rates in the globe.

The cross-party report calls for more work to promote, ‘religious literacy in the media to ensure minority groups, especially religious communities, are not stigmatised or scapegoated in coverage that palpably links Muslims to the spread of disease and a breach of public health regulations.’

The same came to be said about disparaging remarks about the roll-out of vaccines that also need to be stamped upon. This campaign to combat Covid-19 has shown as Johnson has argued that the nation ought to come together yet, actions speak louder than words and Muslims deserve better for the leading role they have played.

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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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