Journalists speak out against Islamophobia

Peter Oborne of the Daily Mail is on Saturday (November 15th) joining a platform of journalists and Muslim leaders in London to discuss media coverage of Islam in the context of the “war on terror”.

Investigative reporter Nick Davies of The Guardian has also been added to the bill and will speak alongside the campaigning Irish journalist Eamonn McCann.

Entitled “Under Siege: Islam, War and the Media“, the conference will bring together practising journalists from print and broadcast media to address concerns over standards of coverage.

David Crouch, chair of conference hosts Media Workers Against the War, said: “We’re delighted Peter Oborne and Nick Davies have agreed to join us on Saturday – it shows just how important the event is viewed in journalistic circles.

“A proper debate about reporting Islam is long overdue. Many leading journalists now acknowledge that too often our industry has resorted to crude stereotypes of Muslims that fuel racism and extremism.

“The election of Barack Obama as US president is a result of the rejection of war and racism on the part of millions of Americans. We need a full debate in Britain about how the “war on terror” has fuelled racism against Muslims.

“Amid all the current agonising about the BBC insulting individuals and sections of its audience, can there be any area more worthy of scrutiny than reporting Islam?

“This conference will set out the issues and debate how best to campaign to improve standards. It will seek to identify the main sources of Islamophobic bias as a first step to providing media workers with tools and resources for combating it.”

Writing recently, Peter Oborne said: “We think we should all feel a little bit ashamed about the way we treat Muslims in the media, in our politics, and on our streets. They are our fellow citizens, yet often we barely acknowledge them. We misrepresent them and in certain cases we persecute them. We do not treat Muslims with the tolerance, decency and fairness that we so often like to boast is the British way.”

MWAW press release, 12 November 2008