chapter  26
Race, racism, Islamophobia in the media
Journalists’ perceptions and Muslim responses
WithAmir Saeed
Pages 15

This chapter examines the representation of Islam and Muslims in the British press. It suggests that British Muslims are portrayed as an ‘alien other’ within the media. It suggests that this misrepresentation can be linked to the development of ‘racism’, namely, Islamophobia that has its roots in cultural representations of the ‘other’. The paper presents empirical evidence from media educators in the UK that implies journalists do not deliberately write racist material. However, it is suggested that this argument does not account for the cultural and ideological factors that influence media coverage of Islam that also echoes how the Western media have routinely represented non–white minority groups historically. One consequence of this is the willingness of the Western Muslim diaspora to explore alternative media and employ new /social media to challenge anti-Muslim racism. The chapter finally postulates that journalists must acknowledge the influence of ‘hidden agendas’ that impact on their reporting of Islam and Muslims. Concluding, it will be suggested that the suspicion of mainstream media representations of Islam and British Muslims drives many Muslim communities living in the West to employ new media to challenge ‘old’ media representations and assumptions about Islam/Muslims. Indeed it could be suggested that these Muslims are the embodiment of active ‘citizens’ in the modern new media public sphere.