Posted by Zia Shah
Source: The Huffington Post
By Nicola Moors: Editor of the University of Sheffield’s student newspaper, Forge Press, where she is also studying journalism
During the majority of the 1930s and 1940s, around six million Jews (and countless others) were massacred by the Germans in ways unimaginable via gas chambers, starvation or death marches, due to unfounded prejudices.
It is now the 21st century – and despite the genocides the world has witnessed as a result of intolerances – it’s clear that discrimination is still prominent.
More specifically, Islamophobia is on the increase – and while it’s not to say that the discrimination of Muslims in the UK is on par with those unleashed on millions of Jews in the 1930s – the underlying prejudices are the same.
Just last year, YouGov released a poll which showed that 37 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely to support a political party that promised to reduce the number of Muslims in Britain.
In fact, after recent events in Boston – two bombs were detonated just metres from the finish line of the 117-year-old marathon; little than 24 hours had passed since the attack and yet, vicious rumours were circulating social media stating (implicitly and explicitly) that the attacks were done by ‘Muslims’.
While no one condones the bombings, especially now that it has come to light that there has been at least three fatalities and nearly 200 injuries, to place blame on a certain group of people without any or little facts is shocking and very wrong. The dust has hardly settled over Boston and to being accusing anybody is unfair.
To put it simply; not all terrorists are Muslims, and not all Muslims are terrorists.
There are three million Muslims in Britain and less than 100 have tried to commit terrorism; just 0.003% of the British Muslim population.
It is also wise to point out that those who do commit terrorist acts follow an extremist interpretation of Islam, which is followed by the minority, and condemned by many Muslims.
Sadly it wasn’t just the social networking sites that were accusing Muslims of doing the attacks, it was the media too. Conservative commentator Erik Rush sent out a tweet saying that he was blaming Muslims for the attack on Boston and ”Let’s kill them all.” While American broadcasting company CNN broke news that a suspect had been arrested – all good so far. Well, it was until one of its reporters, John King, said that the suspect was a ‘dark-skinned male’.
Perhaps the journalist was trying to give his readers more information about the ‘suspect’ (although it was later revealed that no-one had actually been arrested for the Boston marathons on that occasion).
However if this person had been Caucasian, would it have been reported that a ‘white-skinned male’ had been arrested?
I highly doubt it.
Rush’s comments, however, are unforgivable and will certainly have triggered a backlash against Muslims.
Unfortunately the race and/ or religion of people is included in the news. In my opinion doing so festers hatred into the minds of the public. Such information should only be incorporated in news articles if the event is directly affected by said race or religion and therefore actually important and relevant.
An article on salon.com by Wajahat Ali, said that the people that dread terrorist attacks the most are Muslims – should another attack occur, then they are immediately held responsible.
What happened to the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’?
I’m not saying that Muslims are completely innocent of all terrorist attacks. Of course, they’re capable. But, whether we like to admit it or not, so are most people on this planet – no matter our beliefs, sex or race.
So for the sake of those who died in the Boston marathon, let’s stop the hatred and the witch-hunting.