February 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
A few days ago I attended a seminar by an organisation called ENGAGE. I actually had no idea what the lecture would be about, and it was actually my father who dragged me there, only at the last minute I asked what it was about and he told me it would be a good idea if I attended because I was doing Journalism. That was the answer I got, no more information.
The lecture was held in Birmingham at the Muath Trust Centre in a small hall. We received a folder with information leaflets to flick through .There were some refreshments and a small exhibition which I quickly skimmed through. It mainly focused on Muslims in places of power, like MPs, Lords, Judges, martial artists etc and what they have done for the Muslim community. It also mentioned some statistics and quotes. The attendance was pretty low unfortunately, I guess that not even 50 people attended. However this turned out to be in favour as there were many questions at the end.
I have some information on ENGAGE below which I got from their website.:
ENGAGE is a not for profit company working towards enhancing the active engagement of British Muslim communities in our national life, particularly in the fields of politics and the media.
ENGAGE aims to achieve this by:
- Running seminars for Muslims on how to engage productively with the media and politics
- Training Muslims to effectively respond to derogatory and inflammatory news stories through providing media resources and training
- Working with other Muslim and non Muslim organisations to ensure Islamophobia is regarded as socially unacceptable as anti-Semitism and other forms of racism and xenophobia. We concur with the definition of Islamophobia contained in the OSI report, ‘Muslims in Europe- A report on 11 EU Cities’, that Islamophobia constitutes the “Irrational hostility, fear and hatred of Islam, Muslims and Islamic culture, and active discrimination towards this group as individuals or collectively”.
- Highlighting the work of journalists and other public figures that undermine social cohesion in Britain and foment anti-Muslim prejudice
- Encouraging voter registration and civic participation in British Muslim communities
– See more at: http://iengage.org.uk/about-us
There were two speakers, Professor Brian Cathcart, and the second speaker I only knew as Sufyan.
Brian Cathcart is a professor of Journalism and worked for the Independent newspaper. He has authored a few books: The Case of Stephen Lawrence and Everybody’s Hacked Off are just a couple. At the end of the seminar I got a signed copy of his book Everybody’s Hacked Off, which I will read soon and post a review.
They spoke about the Leveson Enquiry which was conducted by Lord Justice Leveson in response to the involvement of the police and press in the phone hacking scandal. ( related to The News of the World newspaper) Read more at their website here. They also spoke about the Press Complaints Comission (PCC), and how useless they really are.
Overall it was a very interesting view on Muslims in the Media, and what we can do about it. Yes complaining is hard, in fact we wonder if anybody in the PCC really cares if Muslims are demonised. Many of the headlines in useless tabloid papers read by the uneducated, use this method of false dramatic headlines to gain attention and fester hate against Muslims. And it probably infuriates a lot of people that they can’t do anything.
Unfortunately, this is a topic I know very little about, so I will have to do a lot more research to get my facts straight. If you are interested in the media, press, or generally sick of misleading insulting articles, and live in the UK I strongly recommend you attend one of these seminars. ENGAGE also has workshops, visit their website for information.