Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Muslims and the Daily Star

During November, only seven different topics appeared as the front page lead on the Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday. Here's the list, together with the number of times they appeared:

The X Factor - 12 days
Katie Price and/or Peter Andre - 6 days
Muslims - 3 days
Footballers - 3 days
Royal Wedding - 3 days
I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here - 2 days
Gordon Ramsay - 1 day

So for almost half the month, half-true (at best) stories about reality TV shows dominated the Star's front page. Another ten front pages were wasted on the sex lives and family feuds of celebs, chefs and footballers. Three front pages were devoted to the Royal Wedding.

The only other stories splashed on the front page were about Muslims, and they all fitted the Star's usual agenda:



Why is it that the only times the Star ran with what might be called non-celebrity news, it's negative stories about Muslims?

Take a look at that last headline. For one thing, there was no actual, physical 'knife attack' but some disgusting, bullying threats posted on Facebook. So the headline isn't really true.

But, as Minority Thought highlighted, look how it is 'Muslim' kids (or 'thugs', as they seem to prefer) against a 'Brit' kid.

The Mail's report on the same incident carried the headline:


Why the need to talk about 'Brits' and 'whites' as separate from Muslims?

Them and us, us and them.

And when the Sun wrote about the story, the 'white girl' was mentioned and the blame was placed solely on 'five Muslim schoolboys.'

This singling out occurred in two other stories in recent weeks.

When a pig was removed from an Early Learning Centre (ELC) play set, the Sun's headline said it was for 'religious reasons' and, in the story, claimed it was because the pig might:

upset Muslim and Jewish parents.

But as Exclarotive pointed out, the Mail's headline mentioned only one religion:


(The statement from ELC said: ‘We have taken the decision to reinstate the pigs and will no longer sell the set in international markets where it might be an issue.’)

The other story was about Rochdale's Christmas lights, which had a small mention on the front page of the Daily Star on 19 November under the ludicrous headline 'Christmas 'nicked' by Muslims.'

Had it been 'nicked'? No. But Rochdale Council had decided to put some 'Happy Eid' and 'Happy Diwali' lights up with the Christmas ones. So nothing had been 'nicked' and the Star could have run 'Christmas 'nicked' by Hindus' if they'd wanted. But they didn't.

As for the poppy burning on Remembrance Day, here's what Richard Littlejohn said in the Mail:

They looked like the same crowd demonstrating outside the Old Bailey last week when that Muslim madwoman was convicted of stabbing MP Stephen Timms.

Well, except that there were only three people outside the Old Bailey, and between 30 and 50 at the poppy burning. He went on:

Yet although 50 people took part in this atrocity, there were only three arrests - and judging by the pictures it was the counter-demonstrators from the so-called English Defence League who had their collars felt.

In fact, eight people were arrested including two of the Muslims protestors.

But while the poppy burning incident got acres of media coverage, some of the reactions to it have not.

Press Not Sorry published two posts showing the comments left on the English Defence League's Facebook page, where the home address of one of the Muslim protestors was, apparently, published. But the vile threats left on Facebook - to kill this protestor, to torture him, to burn him, his house and his family - didn't make the Star's front page. Or any other page.

And if the Star was interested in what Muslims do with poppies, they could have reported on the £20,963 raised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association's poppy appeal drive in Croydon. The local paper said the group was 'singled out for praise' by the Royal British Legion.

Their efforts received a small mention in the Sun, but was ignored elsewhere.

A spate of incidents in Portsmouth have also been largely ignored. In the days following the poppy burning:

An imam in Portsmouth has said he is saddened his mosque has been targeted twice in two days after remembrance poppies were burnt in London.

A poppy was painted on the front of the Jami mosque, on Victoria Road North in Southsea, on Friday and on Saturday 100 people staged a demonstration outside.

Hampshire police said there had been no arrests but that they would continue to monitor the situation.

Muhammad Muhi Uddin said he condemned Thursday's poppy burning.

And then:

A Muslim academy in Portsmouth has been the target of two hate crimes in the past fortnight, police have said.

In the first incident, a brick with a racist message on it was thrown into the Portsmouth Muslim Academy, on Old Commercial Road, on 13 November.

A beer bottle was then thrown through a window at the front of the building last Friday.

But neither the Star, Mail or Express decided these events or the poppy-selling efforts of young Muslims was important enough to tell their readers. Why not?

The situation at the Star has led to Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate writing to the rag's editor, Dawn Neesom, to ask that they 'tone down the shrill'. He explains:

Our first target is the Daily Star. We've gone through the past seven years of the newspaper and found hundreds of negative articles about Muslims - and very few positive. Many of the articles over-exaggerate the importance of tiny Muslim extremist groups while ignoring more mainstream Muslim opinion and use the words of these extremists to smear an entire faith. On other occasions they print inaccurate or slanted articles that whip up fear and mistrust.

We can only hope that this campaign for more responsible journalism has some effect. Until then, we will have to hope that the Star sticks to the pointless 'celebrity' tittle-tattle.

45 comments:

  1. Re. Littlejohn's belch; "Yet although 50 people took part in this atrocity, there were only three arrests - and judging by the pictures it was the counter-demonstrators from the so-called English Defence League who had their collars felt."

    'Judging by the pictures'? Considering this bore's workload is around a millionth the size of the average nurse/teacher/insert-useful-profession-here, you'd think he might have managed to squeeze in a quick phonecall, or maybe even figure out how to research something on the web, rather than simply glance at a copy of the Mail and take a guess.

    Still, on the plus side at least the dimwits who pay his wages are a self-selecting puddle.

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  2. "so called English Defence League" we all Know Littlejohn's sympathies lies with the EDL this just confirms it.

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  3. I applaud the site for the constant vigilance on this trash - a simple counting of front pages is horribly revealing and would also make interesting reading across the other tabloids.

    But surely the time has come to start organising a little more rather than just blogging. As we have read on here many times these headlines and crap journalism do not only breach the rubbish and pointless PCC (really isn't worth reporting given length of time in response and inevitable rejection of complaints) but probable legal ground.

    Can we look at lobbying retailers to remove the offending papers (i.e. economic pressure) or create a legal challenge via public subscription and pro bono work?

    Given Desmond's increasing influence in media (Five) and the Mail's ongoing influence on Tory policy it seems appropriate to consider fighting back against the drip-drip negative effect perpetuated by these papers on a daily basis.

    Could we establish a forum on here or elsewhere to exchange ideas for positive action?

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  4. The particularly interesting thing about the knife attack that wasn't is that the 'victim' is himself of asian ancestry.

    So kids, who may or may not be British citzens, bully a kid who is a British citizen. But the many are Muslim and the one is British.

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  5. On the poppy burning issue - the one thing not mentioned, or should i say frothed about, is the anti-poppy sentiment amongst Irish republicans.

    Just a few weeks ago at a Celtic match some supporters unveiled an anti-poppy banner - http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/09112010/58/spl-celtic-ban-fans-anti-poppy-banner.html

    Why doesn't that generate the same level of idiotic frothing? Ethnicity per chance?

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  6. "Why doesn't that generate the same level of idiotic frothing? Ethnicity perchance?"

    It would have - in fact it would have been *the* story - 20-30 years ago. Then the Irish were the bad guys. Now the heat's on the Muslims and they have (cue Daily Telegraph voice) No-one to Blame but Themselves because Al-Quaeda so there.
    What I'm burbling on about is the fusion between 'a very small number of them (doubt the number's over 3 figures out of a billion) *have* actually done something really bad' and 'they're traditionally the victims of inaccurate stereotyping and racist abuse anyway.' I don't know whom the papers were telling us to kick the shit out of between the IRA ceasefire and 9/11.

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  7. The Star, Sun and Mail spread more hate than the BNP or the National Front could in a 100 years.

    Persecuting people to sell newspapers? I hope they sleep well at night.

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  8. anonymous 1 - altho i am loathe to defend littlejohn and i do believe his sympathies are with the EDL, i think he said 'so-called' because they style themselves as the defenders of england, but in fact are racist thugs. i don't think even littlejohn would so openly defend them in the paper. instead, his mentioning that they were the only arrests (when they weren't) is a more subtle proof of where his sympathies lie. i think!

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  9. Yeah your right there Sian about Littlejohn, Anonymous is right we need direct action agaInst this trash this includes demos, sit ins, economic pressure and sabotage until these papers change there attidude

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  10. I'm not sure what Littlejohn actually believes in. I do know he will say whatever makes him the most money though.

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  11. I'll repeat my suggestion of trying to convince those most affected by this kind of gutter press to take direct action. A boycott of certain papers by Muslim or Immigrant owned/operated shops would make a hell of an impact on newspaper profits and, if done right could bring about a change. See the Sun boycott in Liverpool for inspiration!

    I'd suggest direct action in the way of protesting outside newspaper offices or Westminster but let's be honest, the papers would just spin that to thier own agenda. I wouldn't put it past some of the scummier journos to pay the dial-a-thugs to come and cause some trouble too. The added cost of police and abulance services, not to mention the money newspapers could claim for damages to property from insurance would make protesting a less than ideal option too.

    I'd love to see something happen though, even if it was just small. If left un-opposed the press in this country could spiral out of control and become very dangerous indeed.

    On a topical side note... I expect the tabloids to blame the BBC for not winning the 2018 bid and go on an all out xenophobic, hairline rascist attack on Russia and Qatar for the next few weeks. Ignorning the fact that this kind of reporting will not help England win any future bids!

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  12. @anon1 - the problem of a boycott by the Muslim owned and operated businesses, indeed any immigrant business selling papers (who clearly represent a large number of retailers) is clear. They then get blamed by the media for "suppressing free speech" being "hijacked by extremists" etc. Self-defeating circle.

    A more widespread populist campaign that targets the large retailers by a body of protesters representing a broad swathe of opinions, politics, ethnic backgrounds etc. based on legal as well as moral grounds would have more impact. Also a combined lobbying of MPs and Lords about the failures of the PCC and self-regulation.

    Legal representation on a pro-bono basis would be a good start and a focus for any action group.

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  13. Interesting point on apologies in the UKpress gazette - http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=46391&c=1 - with the laughable quote from the PCC:

    "Ian Beales, Code Committee secretary, said: "This amendment is designed to help kill the myth that newspapers and magazines routinely bury corrections.

    “Research conducted by the PCC has shown this to be untrue - nearly 85 per cent of PCC-negotiated corrections and apologies appear no further back than the original transgression, or in a designated corrections column."

    The chutzpah of this deluded body shows just how badly there is a need to reform and why so many choose to avoid the PCC route. Particularly like the use of the word "myth". Be less of a myth if a like-for-like in size and prominence was written into the code in stone on pain of financial penalties.

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  14. Newspapers print these stories because people want to read them - because they hate, fear, and despise Muslims. Once again this blog manages to ignore that entirely.

    Why does the Star print celebrity stories anyway? Because they are conspiring to undermine their readers usual diet of literature and opera? No, because the readers want it. So too with the "Muslim thugs": the readers want to read that Muslims are thugs.

    Pointless to spend any more time on this issue, while no-one is prepared to consider these facts. Muslims especially need to accept that they are, and will remain, hated. That is not a judgement, but simply a fact.

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  15. @anonymous 11:45

    You're right of course, Muslims are damned if they do and damned if they don't. No matter how wide a spectrum any such group is made up of, the papers would still find mud to sling at them. Not that I disagree at all, but any MP's or Celebrities would probably back down from speaking out against newspapers as it would likely lead to said papers (and any magazines or production companies under the same umbrella) turning on them should any such bid fail. It's a shame, but the kind of celebrities that a lot of tabloid readers would pay attention to are the ones that are splashed over thier pages every day and those are not the kind of people who are going to stand up for morals and decency in the press when they get so much coverage from being exploited!

    People such as Stephen Fry, Richard Branson or Alan Sugar for example would probably back this kind of thing, but would simply be seen as high brow people trying to educate the lower classes in the eyes of readers and newspaper moguls alike!

    The majority of the readers of tabloids want to hear from the likes of Simon Cowell, Jordan, Cheryl or the latest X-Factor drop out and these people couldn't care less about Minorities being mis-reported or lied about in the press!

    Politicians are out as they will not want to be seen interfering in the freedom of the press even if (some may say especially if) it is for the good of thier own constituents. I could be wrong though, this seems like the kind of things the Lib Dems may have liked, but they aren't on good terms with a lot of people at the moment.

    It is unfortunate and I wish there was a fail-proof solution!

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  16. Anonymous (17:15) - Are you really saying that newspapers shouldn't be challenged for printing misleading and untrue stories?

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  17. Great blog post. Give it 20 years and the Star will find someone else to hate.
    It is very Desmond to focus on one topic in this way. The Express must have dedicated 50 per cent of its front page stories to Di or the McCanns since 1997.

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  18. @Anonymous (3 December 2010 17:15)

    [Newspapers print these stories because people want to read them - because they hate, fear, and despise Muslims.]

    What, all people do, or just some people? What percentage of the population 'hate, fear and despise Muslims'? I can think of a small percentage, currently threatening councils due to the Winterval myth, but I certainly don't think they're representative of the population as a whole. They certainly don't represent me, because I feel none of those things toward Muslims.

    [Once again this blog manages to ignore that entirely.]

    No, once again this blog is highlighting part of the fuel for that 'hate, fear and despite' of Muslims you claim on behalf of an unspecified number of people.

    [the readers want to read that Muslims are thugs.]

    I don't. I would much prefer a less hysterical, less scaremongering, more representative style of reporting.

    [Pointless to spend any more time on this issue, while no-one is prepared to consider these facts. Muslims especially need to accept that they are, and will remain, hated. That is not a judgement, but simply a fact.]

    No, again. It's never pointless to tackle bigotry, intolerance, hatred and persecution. It would be a pretty awful world if no-one ever spoke out against it. I would hate to think that no-one would speak up for me if I was being relentlessly persecuted on the basis of my unbelief, and similarly would hate to think no-one would speak up for others who are being relentlessly persecuted on the basis of their belief.

    What would have happened to Christianity if everyone had said, "Christians especially need to accept that they are, and will remain, hated. That is not a judgement, but simply a fact." back in the days when they were persecuted by Romans?

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  19. It is pointless to tackle bigotry, intolerance, and hatred. There is no way to 'tackle' them. Persecution, certainly if organised by the state, can be opposed politically, but the wish to persecute others can not be opposed, 'tackled' or cured.

    The percentage of the population who fear Muslims has been measured by surveys. There are different results across time and in different countries, but typically in the range 20% to 40%. Negative preferences toward Muslims ("would not want a Muslim neighbour") get higher scores. It is pointless for others to state that they different attitudes. That neither alters the negative attitudes, nor alters the position of Muslims. Nor any other minority.

    If, say, 10% of the population thinks that lesbians ought to be crucified, then that is a fact. Condemning such attitudes will not alter them. So that 10% provide a market for newspapers which run headlines like "Crucify these lesbian baby-eating monsters now!" The media do not create the attitude, they respond to it.

    If the content of the newspapers is illegal - incitement, libel, whatever - them they can be prosecuted. If not, then not. Exhortations and condemnation, such as at this blog, have no effect. Neither has Hope not Hate or any other similar campaign in the UK. None of them have any answer to the fact, that part of the population hates Muslims. I do, but first you must be prepared to recognise the futility of such campaigns as Hope not Hate, indeed of the whole approach to anti-Islam feeling in the UK.

    As for what happens to Christians when they are hated, the historical evidence is that they emigrate. Same with Jews. Muslims in Britain face the choice of leaving, or living with pervasive and permanent hatred. They will continue to get a bad press, and nothing can be done about it because (aside from the specific offences) that is not illegal.

    There is no point in complaining that the Star is printing "misleading and untrue stories". Either they are committing a criminal offence, or they are liable in a civil action. If not, then they can and will publish misleading and untrue stories, since no-one can do anything about it, and it apparently sells. There is certainly no point in "challenging" them, since they will only laugh at you.

    I have yet to see any useful or credible comment from UK non-Muslims, on the position of Muslims in the UK. Probably because no-one is prepared to give the issue any thought.

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  20. Anonymous (13.45) - So what is the answer that, apparently, only you know?

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  21. Anonymous (13.45) - Does it occur to you that less people will hate and fear muslims if they stop being told, by the papers, that muslims are out to steal their jobs AND their taxes by living handsomely off benefits? Or that muslims are out to ruin Christmas like a horde of brown-faced Grinches?

    Perhaps you're right, though, and the answer is for all muslims to emigrate somewhere else when persecuted, like the jews and christians have done in the past. After all, to this day, one can walk the streets of Rome and not see a single christian, nor will you encounter any jews in downtown Munich.

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  22. @Anonymous (13:45)

    You have your view, that it's pointless to challenge bigotry, intolerance and hatred. Fortunately, not everyone shares your view.

    Education makes a difference, as does highlighting misinformation. How do I know this? Because I, and others, have talked to a lot of EDL members over the past year. Significant numbers of them leave the EDL when they discover the facts behind the headlines, the reality behind photoshopped pictures created by the EDL, and when they engage in debate with Muslims, who are just trying to live their lives much like everyone else.

    Once the 'us and them' mindset, and dehumanisation stops, understanding and common ground follows. I've seen it happen.

    You may think it's all pointless, but if that's the case, it's fairly pointless for you to read this blog at all, let alone try to dissuade others from challenging the persecution of other human beings.

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  23. @Anonymous 13.45

    Nonsense! From start to finish you create a deliberate fallacy in much the way as the tabloids under discussion.

    Firstly please provide a link to your figures. Secondly, cause and effect - if you have bigoted opinions and the media and others play to that bigotry, then nothing will change, it will of course get worse as it is "proven" by the majority view. If the media and others deliberately distort and lie creating falsehood and fallacy then of course nothing will change. Is it illegal to have stupid viewpoints or to even write rubbish journalism? Of course not. Even if those views stray into the thoroughly offensive it is still hard to bring them to book, a problematic balance for a free press, freedom of speech etc.

    But then some strange thoughts throughout your post. Christians and Jews when attacked emigrate...really??! The inference being that Muslims should to. Why? Ahhh, I start to see the biaas and bigotry and comment is not really about facts or credible arguments but about your own bigotry perhaps?

    "No one is prepared to give the issue any thought"...I think you will find plenty do. This site included. They have a broader perspective and a willingness to reject the narrow evidential base of figures plucked from thin air and facts that evaporate into thin air when interrogated. Like most bigotry and hatred it tends to not stand up to scrutiny.

    So whilst the Star may not have committed a criminal offence they certainly knowingly and willingly poison the water from which people drink. It would not surprise if a case did come to court based on their "journalism", nor would it surprise if an economic boycott had an effect - as others remind us, The Sun still fails to make sales of merit in Liverpool. And so yes there is every reason to challenge and keep challenging.

    As for comment from non-Muslims, well you don't know who is Muslim on here do you? But your willingness to write off campaigns and campaigning groups is disturbing as is your assertion that Muslims should shut up and accept that they are hated (again, still lacking factual qualification).

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  24. @Anonymous 13:45

    You say:
    "There is no point in complaining that the Star is printing "misleading and untrue stories". Either they are committing a criminal offence, or they are liable in a civil action. If not, then they can and will publish misleading and untrue stories, since no-one can do anything about it, and it apparently sells. There is certainly no point in "challenging" them, since they will only laugh at you."

    Did you not for a second think that these kind of blogs exist to attempt to change the law to make it a criminal offence to print lies and misleading articles which please bigots and dehumanise sections of society?

    I hope I am not alone when I say that material classed as a Newspaper should not appeal to the bigots in society or create fear and false hatred. Papers should not have the freedom to print distorted stories and lies which mislead people to the point of hatred for others. Freedom of the press means having the ability to print any stories which are TRUE.

    To print a headline such as "Muslim thugs in knife attack" when there was no knife attack is a lie and is misleading. To print stories about "Christmas being banned because of Muslims" is again lieing. These stories and many more like them create hatred and tensions within communities which are clearly not needed.

    Newspapers should answer to the law. If they print a lie then they should apologise properly, retract the article fully and the journalist responsible for that lie should be penalised. If they print misleading headlines to the point of something which could be regarded as incitement to racial hatred then they should be punnished like any other person caught printing bigoted material would be.

    To suggest that newspapers are fine the way they are is foolish.

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  25. Probably one of the inspirations for this blog, and for organization with similar campaigns, is indeed that…


    ".. less people will hate and fear muslims if they stop being told, by the papers, that muslims are out to steal their jobs AND their taxes by living handsomely off benefits? Or that muslims are out to ruin Christmas like a horde of brown-faced Grinches?"

    They won't. The hatred and fear came first. Millions of people in western countries do believe that Muslims are conspiring to ban Christmas, ban piggy-banks, force them to eat halal food, ban ham sandwiches, make them wear burqa's, subject them to sharia law, and/or behead them. The tabloid press and right-wing politicians merely disseminate these views, they do no cause them, and can not stop them.

    As you can see from a number of reactions here, the usual response to this assertion is to deny it. And concurrently, to blame the media and/or right-wing politicians, for causing the anti-Islam attitudes. Some people are evidently convinced that anti-Islam feeling is marginal. I am familiar with this attitude, and I know I can provide no evidence to contradict it. If I do provide figures - such as the 37% of Germans who state that "Germany would be better without Islam"

    http://www.swr.de/report/-/id=7008568/property=download/nid=233454/yw9ihb/Umfrage_Islam_in_Deutschland.pdf

    then the figures will simply be disputed, and I will be asked for more evidence.

    A similar attitude prevails among the anti-Islam movement - if you did convince them that Christmas was not banned in city A, then they will say it is banned in city B, or that the burqa is compulsory at school C, and so on. Both ways, it pointless to argue with people who have a deep-rooted conviction, which is not amenable to argument or evidence.

    Back to the tabloids: freedom of the press does not mean "having the ability to print any stories which are TRUE." On the contrary, truth is not even considered in standard definitions of freedom of expression. Media are free to print stories like "Martians abducted my pet weasel". Truth only becomes relevant if third parties are damaged - that is what defamation laws are about.

    There are laws on incitement in the UK. The tabloids which print anti-Muslim stories are well aware of them. So has anyone been prosecuted for the stories? If not, that suggests they stayed within the law. It is NOT a criminal offence "to print lies and misleading articles which please bigots and dehumanise sections of society". If anyone wants to make it an offence they can campaign for a change in the law, but they are unlikely to get it.

    More to the point, that will not cause the bigots to disappear. And therefore, Muslims will have to live alongside them. I did not say Muslims or any other minority have to 'shut up', I am simply pointing out that they have no way of fundamentally altering their position, at least not within the existing political and legal framework.

    Emigration is indeed an alternative, if there is somewhere better to go. Christians do flee persecution, in Iraq, in West Africa, in parts of Indonesia, and they are already gone from some countries such as Afghanistan. The comparison with Jews in Munich is particularly stupid: most were murdered. It is a fact that Muslims in the UK are faced with hostility and hatred, which few people would accept, if they had the choice of going elsewhere at no personal or financial cost. In other words, if they all had a good job and a good house to go to, in a more prosperous country where they spoke the language, then I suspect most Muslims would leave the UK.

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  26. @Anonymous (13.46)

    What a curious argument - guessing that yours is also the earlier post (13.45) that has been referenced. You say people will dispute your figures and ask for more evidence and then dismiss those questioning your unverified assertions as somehow bigoted themselves.

    Your use of language - although in quotation marks - I suspect is your own language and wording. So here's the question, how do you feel about Muslims? Come out and say what you think clearly rather than talking in "generalisations" and dismissing the concerns and then half justifying previous sentiments which look to all the world like a call for them to bugger off and dismissing them as benefit scroungers whilst prattling on about legalities.

    If you feel anti-Muslim / Islam please just come and say it and a proper debate can be engaged with.

    Also you seem to still fundamentally not understand the point of highlighting the issue with tabloids and media in general. It may not be an offence then here (along with other sites) are those pushing for change and betterment, yet you continue to dismiss this as pointless or posturing...why? Again, please be clear and state whether you don't want change because your world view is anti-Muslim, or is it because you fundamentally believe change and education is impossible. Again stating your position would help but for the record worth just thinking about pressure brought to bear on established views relating to sex equality; queer politics and equal rights for non-whites...all brought about through pressure, campaigning and long-term change of views established. BUt of course alternatively we could all give up and go home and let prejudice just exist...

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  27. That's all very BNP, but I still disagree with you, Anon (13:46). It may be true that the media don't *cause* anti-Muslim sentiment, but it's also true that they fuel it, reinforce it, and legitimise it. In the 70s, it was black people being persecuted. Now, it's Muslims. Same shit, different decade.

    Have you asked any British Muslims whether they would leave the UK if they could go elsewhere at no personal cost, or are you relying on assumption?

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  28. I remember conversations with some British-born people "going back" to their cultures.

    One was a British Afro-caribbean woman emigrating to South Africa after the fall of apartheid. She did not feel any welcome towards her from the local bl...ack South Africans. They felt that she was stealing jobs from the "real" africans and waiters would refuse to serve her. Afterwards, she realised that she was British and always described herself as such.

    Second was British of Indian origin. He decided to go back to his parents' country and start a business. He also was not treated well by the Indians. He now hates the place.

    Some parts of the world are prejudiced towards minorities, but other parts persecute them.

    Conclusion to me is that the grass always looks greener on the other side.

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  29. "Newspapers print these stories because people want to read them - because they hate, fear, and despise Muslims."

    Why do I get the impression you want to put FACT! at the end of that sentence? Anyway, that's by-the-by. Prove your assertion. Prove that people "hate, fear, and despise Muslims." Here's an easy place for you to start: tell me who feels this way, to begin with.

    "Pointless to spend any more time on this issue, while no-one is prepared to consider these facts."

    If it's pointless, then why have you gone on to post twice more in these comments? Because no one is prepared to consider these facts? What facts? Writing these are facts doesn't make them so. You're projecting, Anonymous. Get some evidence to support your 'facts'.

    "Muslims especially need to accept that they are, and will remain, hated. That is not a judgement, but simply a fact."

    No it's not. It's your opinion; it's your judgement. Again, where's the evidence to support your 'facts'?

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  30. @Alun carr

    What if the 'Muslims' in Anon's comments was replaced with 'black people', 'Christians', 'Jews', 'gay people' or any other group that has been subject to intolerance? Would that still seem acceptable to him/her?

    For example:

    "It is a fact that black people in the UK are faced with hostility and hatred, which few people would accept, if they had the choice of going elsewhere at no personal or financial cost. In other words, if they all had a good job and a good house to go to, in a more prosperous country where they spoke the language, then I suspect most black people would leave the UK."

    or:

    "Pointless to spend any more time on this issue, while no-one is prepared to consider these facts. Jews especially need to accept that they are, and will remain, hated. That is not a judgement, but simply a fact."

    or:

    "Exhortations and condemnation, such as at this blog, have no effect. Neither has Gay Pride or any other similar campaign in the UK. None of them have any answer to the fact, that part of the population hates gay people. I do, but first you must be prepared to recognise the futility of such campaigns as Gay Pride, indeed of the whole approach to anti-gay feeling in the UK."

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  31. I wrote the two earlier comments on the futility of campaigning against the tabloids. As I said already, some people are simply not prepared to accept that there is widespread hostility in Britain to immigrants, Muslims, Poles, Roma and others. To these people, the hostility is a product of the media, especially the tabloid press. They are quite obstinate in this belief, and sometimes angry at those who question it.

    It might help to stand the issue on its head, and view the world as they imply it is. "No-one in Britain feels any hatred of fear toward Islam or individual Muslims. No-one in Britain opposes immigration. British people are kind-hearted souls who welcome all newcomers to their shores, especially persecuted minorities like the Roma. Unfortunately, British people also believe everything they read in the tabloids, and these evil newspapers have caused the kind-hearted Britons to turn against minorities".

    Put like that it sounds nonsensical, doesn't it? However that is the implied world view on show at some comments here. If people are determined to think like that, then they will do so.

    That would however imply, that something should be done about the tabloids. So far I have not seen anything explicit proposed. Although this blog exists to comment on their failings, it proposes no specific remedy. I don't see how it is "pushing for change and betterment" in that respect. There are plenty of legal instruments available to harass the media, as the Wikileaks affair shows. None of them are advocated here.

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  32. Anon (19:47)

    When are you going to reveal your solution to us? You claim to have the answers, but refuse to share them.

    "It might help to stand the issue on its head, and view the world as they imply it is. "No-one in Britain feels any hatred of fear toward Islam or individual Muslims. No-one in Britain opposes immigration. British people are kind-hearted souls who welcome all newcomers to their shores, especially persecuted minorities like the Roma. Unfortunately, British people also believe everything they read in the tabloids, and these evil newspapers have caused the kind-hearted Britons to turn against minorities"."

    I really don't think anyone here has implied that at all, and I'm unsure why you have changed talk of Muslims to a reference to Roma. You haven't addressed the point I made about the press fuelling, reinforcing and legitimising anti-Muslim sentiment, and you have sidestepped the other questions people have asked.

    I'm surprised that someone who considers blogs such as this pointless, and who also feels that trying to address hatred, bigotry and intolerance is pointless is willing to spend so much time trying to convince other people that it's all a waste of time, and all from the comfort of an Anonymous account.

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  33. Anonymous (19.47) - As someone else pointed out earlier, you might ask the Sun how 'futile' campaigns against tabloids can be.

    I don't actually believe it is possible to imply what you imply from the people leaving comments here. I think you are setting up a strawman there.

    Also, this blog has made several comments and recommendations about changes to the regulatory system for the print media that might help improve coverage. You are wrong to say otherwise.

    And despite your lengthy comments, I'm still not clear what your 'answer' is (apart from saying there's no point in challenging anything).

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  34. "there is widespread hostility in Britain to immigrants, Muslims, Poles, Roma and others."

    There you go again. Baseless assertions. You say there is. In argument I say there isn't. Without some facts to back up your opinion that there is 'widespread hostility' you're on shifting sand.
    I like the way your xenophobia is starting to show, by the way. It started off with Muslims but has now widened to include immigrants, Poles, Roma and others.

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  35. @Anonymous (19/47)

    I posted here earlier questioning your really curious and illogical views. I also challenged your apparent own prejudice and asked you to confirm the bigotry you talked about, the hatred you reference etc as reflecting your own opinions.

    I note that you neither confirm nor deny but seek instead to change the terms of reference - extending to other ethnic groups - whilst, again, seeking to distort the argument with nonsensical and illogical arguments.

    I shall ask again. Is the bigotry and hatred that you claim to be endemic representative of your own views?

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  36. 1. I fear that this blog is not " trying to address hatred, bigotry and intolerance " but rather to blame them all on the tabloid press. That is a fundamental fault. It is not only this blog that makes that mistake - for instance Islamophobia Watch does it often too, and other similar campaigns.

    2. There is indeed widespread hostility in Britain to immigrants in general, to Muslims in general, to Poles and more generally to eastern Europeans, and very specifically to Roma. It is remarkable that anyone would find that a 'baseless assertion". And of course it is true for other countries as well: Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium. Xenophobia (a better term than bigotry) is certainly pervasive in these countries, and active hatred is present in some groups.

    3. There is indeed no point in "challenging" prejudice and xenophobia. They are not ideologies, and not social phenomena in themselves: they are personal characteristics of individuals. They are therefore not amenable to social policy, nor to social or political campaigns.

    The recent report on the EDL from Faith Matters

    http://faith-matters.org/images/stories/fm-reports/english-defense-league-report.pdf

    is interesting in showing how much the EDL was, and is, independent of the mainstream media, and of existing political groups. That's partly because they have a large reservoir of hate-filled, fearful, enraged and resentful white people to draw on.

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  37. @Anonymous (13:16)

    You don't seem to wish to address any specific or direct questions addressed to you. BUt let' make an assumption that you may be right (up to a point) whilst disagreeing with the manner in which it is framed (not least the suggestion of "widespread" hostility), that there is a level of prejudice to immigration.

    On point 1. You claim the blog appears to simplistically and wholly blame the tabloid press. It does not. It is however a focused blog - i.e.not a blog that looks at all the issues surrounding such bigotry. It does seek to shine a light on the role, activities and more ludicrous actions of the tabloid press and reflect upon them. That is not a "fundamental" flaw for a blog with a stated purpose and intent but a reflection of what it is trying to do.

    2. Again you seem to be making assertions without support - "there is indeed widespread hostility", no that is supposition. You have been challenged on this on a number of occasions and points but continue to keep repeating it. But as I said earlier, let's presume there is a level of bigotry. So what is your point here? You are making no point, no claim, nothing other than to simply reassert your position.

    3. No point challenging prejudice and xenophobia? Why not? Ideology or social phenomena, they can and should be challenged particularly where the stories and myths created are untrue, fictions, designed to create further bigotry and so on. All points made above in detail by others. Challenging those social phenomena and /or ideology have proved effective in the past - also as documented above. As for "personal characteristics of individuals" what self-justificatory nonsense designed to perpetuate and excuse some unpleasant opinions whilst assertting that opinions can not be changed. Hmmm except of course personal prejudice reinforced by media validation and perception of right in authoritative mediums (questionable for the Star of course) will strengthen conviction. Challenges will and can be made and do change behaviour - the role of a responsible media is to report accurately - so the campaign has absolute right. Changing ingrained perceptions - well worked for smoking, drink driving, other levels of racial prejudice and so on and so forth. So why not this? Or are you dismissing it as you so want to believe that this anti-Muslim/Islam campaign of the EDL etc will somehow be won and your beliefs validated.

    The EDL is independent of mainstream media? Come come. Wishful thinking. Those people who have bigotry in whatever form, seek out validation from whatever source they can find. If the Sun was supportive of Muslims one day, they would reject it, if then reporting an anti-Islamic story the next they would embrace it. Instead the independent media referred to is probably large amounts of vitriol and bile dripped blogs - hardly relevant.

    So now will you answer the question. These are not hypothetical posturings or musings but your own views?

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  38. Anon (13:16)

    The Faith Matters report you have linked to encourages people to "challenge hostile attitudes towards Muslim minorities," and also to "challenge the myths and half-truths peddled by groups such as the EDL."

    Anyone who has spent any time browsing the EDL wall will see the heavy reliance they have on any newspaper article with an anti-Muslim bias. Members leap on stories from The Mail, The Star, The Sun etc, anything that affirms their view of Muslims as "other".

    If you are judging the public feeling of "widespread hostility" based on the actions of the EDL, it is worth remembering that their group represents a tiny percentage of the public as a whole. Compare numbers at EDL demos to the Stop the War march, and the more recent student protests and you will see what I mean.

    If looking at Facebook group numbers, it's also worth remembering that the Rage Against the machine campaign last year attracted over a million members within a couple of months. The EDL fan page has taken much longer to gather it's 63,400 or so members, most of whom do not attend demos at all.

    Thank you for the link to the Faith Matters report, by the way. It was very interesting reading.

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  39. "There is indeed widespread hostility in Britain to immigrants in general, to Muslims in general, to Poles and more generally to eastern Europeans, and very specifically to Roma."

    Head meet wall. Then PROVE it, FFS! You saying this is the case means nothing without evidence to back up your claim. Put up or STFU, Anonymous, as our American cousins say.

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  40. @Press Not Sorry

    Remember also that facebook group member numbes always include those who detest the group but like to keep an eye on thier actions as well as a good number of people who will literally join any group they see in thier newsfeed. An EDL group with 63k members is unlikely to reflect thier real world following. It is even less likely to reflect number of people who actualy turn up to demos or even participate in the group/look at the facebook page.

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  41. Anon (20:17)

    Absolutely spot on. The EDL usually manage between 1,000 - 2,000 members at demos. Not only is the fanpage number of EDL a tiny percentage of the English population, but also real life numbers attending demos are a small percentage of their fan page numbers. This indicates that the EDL are a very small group, and could never be assumed to represent the general feeling of the country as a whole.

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  42. If the only section of the UK population hostile to immigrants / muslims is the EDL, and if they only represent a tiny fraction of the population, then presumably the vast majority of the population is not hostile to them. In fact if the Facebook following is their maximum support, then 99.9% of the UK population are not hostile to immigrants and muslims. Nice country, nice people, eh?

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  43. We know that the EDL is not the only section of society, but they were bought into the conversation. There are plenty of people outwith the EDL who hate foreigners too. The vast majority of the people here are still perfectly accepting and welcoming of immigrants.

    You are trying to say that the UK is an intolerant place and foreigners are not wanted here.

    If that's the case then why do we have one of the biggest tourism industries in the world?

    Why is the UK the second most popular destination for foreign students in the world?

    Why are so many highly skilled foreign people willing to come here to work and live?

    Why are there no boycotts of foreign owned brands or shops? IKEA, Volvo, BMW, Peugot, Ford, Lidl, Sky, Aldi, ASDA etc are all foreign owned and are some of the biggest names in UK daily life.

    Why have no anti-immigration parties ever done even remotely well at the general elections and only just about suceed in some council elections when turnout is very low?

    Please do tell us how the UK is intolerant...

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  44. Anon (11:02)

    The link to the Faith Matters report you provided says people should "challenge hostile attitudes towards Muslim minorities," and also "challenge the myths and half-truths peddled by groups such as the EDL." Now, I realise this disagrees with your outlook, but that's what it says.

    You may also notice, I didn't claim that the EDL are the *only* section of the UK population hostile to immigrants/Muslims. Those were your words, not mine. I said they are a small group who could not be *assumed* to represent the general feeling of the country as a whole. Deliberately misreading, or twisting my words to say what you want them to say doesn't really further your argument.

    You have failed to address the point that the Stop the War march, the student protests, hell, even the anti-hunt ban demo, all got more support than the EDL demos. If this intolerance to Muslims (and that's where this started, despite your disingenuous dragging in of other groups, such as Roma) was as widespread as you claim, the EDL would command higher numbers at it's protests.

    You also seem singularly unable, or unwilling, to respond to any of the questions people have asked. Since this is the case, I am not willing to spend any more of my time trying to debate with you.

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  45. wow that is really just plain arrogant, from those who refer to muslims as immigrants, islam is a religion not a race. a muslim can be english or american or from anywhere on the globe.
    you need to understand there PEOPLE that heave feeling's how would you like to be called hated and having the audacity to declare that a fact?

    ReplyDelete

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