Young British Muslims are launching their own publications to provide a different media narrative


Young British Muslims are launching their own publications to provide a different media narrative

The editors of two magazines targeting Britain’s 2.8m Muslims have spoken about why they felt the need to provide a different media perspective for the minority group. The Black Muslim Times UK is a website set up British Nigerian Halimat Shode which is updated with new features and interviews on a quarterly basis and seeks to better represent black British Muslims. British Muslim Magazine is a lifestyle title established in 2013 and aimed at a UK audience.

BMM co-founder Natasha Syed said: “The Daily Mail and mainstream publications have so many readers, and you just think one misrepresentation can take a very large readership to start thinking something completely different…And if they don’t put that right in follow-up features and follow-up blogs or whatever, I think they’re painting it a completely bad picture for readers.” Recent years have seen a number of British Muslim publications appear, Syed’s included. She said of the recent increase in Muslim media: “I think people are fed-up from the misrepresentation through mainstream media.

“To have that feeling that suddenly you’re not feeling that British because of all this news and all of this pollution of politics that takes place in news and media is actually quite depressing, it’s quite sad, and there’s absolutely no need for it…These magazines are created by mid-20-year-olds that at their age they should be doing other jobs, but they’re becoming publishers and they’re becoming website owners because they’re completely sick of reading media that just doesn’t represent them.”

However, Syed said that mainstream media portrayals of Muslims have improved over the years: “Now when you read something about a Muslim…through mainstream press, it is a little bit more sensitive, which is nice because it allows you to kind of carry on reading. “Their attention to detail is slightly more, so they will really go into finding out what the situation is.” She praised a story in the Guardian that corrected allegations that a Muslim woman drove into a group celebrating Eid as an act of terror, rather it was an accident. Mail Online issued an apology after referencing Muslim “hate cleric Abu Hamza” in the article breaking news of the Finsbury Park mosque attack.

Syed said publications such as the Black Muslim Times UK have been launched because the communities are “not being represented in the right way. We’re trying to say Muslims can do other things…there’s no point dividing us and trying to use a scaremongering tactic via news or via publications, websites or TV, it’s just not going to work.”

Titles offering a more positive image of British Muslims include: Sisters magazine, which publishes real-life stories with a religious focus to support Muslim women, and Muslim Lifestyle a title which focuses on lighthearted aspects of Muslim life. Syed said that with her title she has tried to “move the focus to something else which was more to do with travel, fashion and some lifestyle things that Muslims genuinely do on a day-to-day…and stay clear of the political side of the news. “The magazine definitely provides a kind of inspiration and advice for Muslims in Britain looking for luxury travel experiences, food, heritage and fashion.”

Source: Press Gazette

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