Some people worry that the media focuses far too much on Muslims. They argue that continual stories about Muslims help to reinforce a siege mentality amongst many of that faith. Pickled Politics is not immune from this charge; we often refer to Muslims, whether directly when talking about issues like sharia law or terrorism, or indirectly when talking about issues such as â€˜honourâ€™ killings. Whilst we never stereotype Muslims, it could still be argued that we contribute to the problem. Indeed, several far-right groups have linked gleefully to the news about a possible link between Sikh extremists and Al-Qaeda, viewing it as a chance to bash Muslims once again.
Muslims are individuals; their beliefs cannot be distilled down to soundbites, because they have so many different views, just like the rest of us. They worry about crime, jobs, housing, transport, taxes, foreign affairs, education and so on. And they will disagree with other Muslims on plenty of issues. If this sounds rather obvious to readers of Pickled Politics, then perhaps you should notify those who are happy to make sweeping statements about what Muslims believe. The one thing that separates Muslims from the rest of society though is the relentless media spotlight. This can only worsen any divisions that exist already, as even some perfectly normal, law-abiding Muslims begin to feel a people apart, and become withdrawn. Should Pickled Politics hardly ever mention Muslims then, even if we are only making the problem worse inadvertently? My answer would be no.
Our stance, even if done for pure reasons, would only have a negative effect on Muslims. Muslims are being constantly stereotyped and demonised by sections of the media, so they need their champions too in order so that more people realise that Muslims are not one homogenous mass. Should we only concentrate on Muslim â€˜good newsâ€™ stories then? Again, my answer would be no. To pretend that all Muslims are good would be foolish, because there are bad Muslims, just as there are bad Christians or bad atheists. Non-extremist Muslims do not benefit from this stance as it once again forces all Muslims into a stereotype which brands them all the same. Some â€˜communityâ€™ organisations pursue this line, and Pickled Politics has been a trenchant critic of such groups for years. As for the news stories which involve Muslims but have nothing really to do with their religion (like â€˜honourâ€™ killings), these just show that a Muslim does not have to be completely defined by his or her religious identity.
There are too many stories about Muslims in the media, but if those who care about this pressure exit the field, we leave unopposed those who view Muslims as an invading horde.
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Filed in: Blog,Media,Muslim