British Muslims Use Public Relations to Mend Shattered Image

British Muslims, London, UK

The past decade has brought tremendous changes in how the Muslim Community is perceived in Britain. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London, adepts of the second largest faith in the world have been associated by British citizens with killings, aggression and terrorist activity.

The dire image of the British Muslim community has been revealed by a YouGov poll conducted at the end of May 2010 commissioned by a relatively new foundation, the Exploring Islam Foundation (EIF), founded by a group of young British Muslim professionals deeply concerned about the public perception of their faith. The survey revealed Britons associate Islam with extremism and terrorism. Only six percent or respondents believe it encourages justice, while an overwhelming 67 percent think Islam encourages the repression of women, and 41 percent “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” with the idea that Muslims have a positive impact on British society.

In an attempt to challenge misconceptions about Islam and raise awareness about its universal values and contributions, the EIF concentrated on highlighting the excellent local efforts of various Muslims and Islamic organisations while trying to bring the true values of mainstream Islam in the public eye through constant PR efforts.

EIF’s first media campaign – “Inspired by Muhammad”- was launched in June 2010, a bold public relations effort featuring an ad campaign presenting three main issues and Prophet Muhammad opinion on each of them: women’s rights, social justice and protecting the environment. The ad employed images of Muslims linked to each of this values, all set in London’s means of transport, from the underground to bus stops and taxis.

The campaign was extremely successful and raised interest both in the UK and around the world, being picked up by media outlets from the Middle East, Mexico, the US, New Zealand and many other countries around the world. The campaign was backed by a website that got 200,000 hits from 160 countries in the first two weeks after its launch.

The British mainstream media displayed a positive attitude towards the campaign, expanding their programme content. BBC’s The Big Questions focuses on the “Does Islam need better PR?”  question, featuring poet Benjamin Zephaniah and the New Statesmen’s Senior Editor Mehdi Hasan, praised the campaign as an outstanding public relations effort for Islam.

The EIF is now planning a second PR campaign scheduled for January which will depict the history of coexistence and compassion between Muslims and Jews. The campaign, titles “Missing Pages” will voice solidarity with Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January and prove anti-Semitism goes against the teachings of Islam.

Comments

  1. Max says

    The source is here

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/19/embassy-row-930120260/

    It also states that 40% of British Muslims want to live under sharia law. So I don’t think we can say that this is just a few deviant representatives.

    The crusades happened nearly a thousand years ago so no I don’t feel responsible. Irish terrorists had a cause which was a unified Ireland. Hence it was possible to negotiate and find common ground as happened in the Irish peace process. Many Muslims want the restoration of a caliphate to rule the world in which everyone is subservient to Islam. You can’t negotiate with a religion whose purpose is do dominate.

    But lets just look at the evidence on the ground.

    Below is a list of atrocities committed by Muslims in just the last two days around the world, I can tell you to those who monitor such attacks they both typical and unremarkable. Look at the borders of the Muslim world, always bloody no matter which religion shares the same border.

    2010.12.21 (Turu, Nigeria) – Angry Muslims armed with swords and machetes assault a group of local Christian villagers, killing three.
    2010.12.20 (Mogadishu, Somalia) – Five civilians are killed when Islamic milita mortar a commercial district.

    2010.12.20 (Dera Bugti, Pakistan) – A father and son are shot to death in their hotel in a suspected sectarian attack.

    2010.12.20 (Mosul, Iraq) – A university professor and a young woman are gunned down by ‘Freedom Fighters’.

    2010.12.20 (Mogadishu, Somalia) – An old woman is among five who bleed out following a vicious al-Shabaab roadside bombing.

    2010.12.20 (Nairobi, Kenya) – Suspected Somali Islamists plant a bomb on a bus, which leaves three passengers dead.

  2. Alina Popescu says

    Max, I am quite curious about the source for your statement about the British Muslim Students…

    If we judged faiths and peoples solely on their deviant representatives, where would we get? the US is still the country with most (discovered and analysed) serial killers, how should we judge that? They also killed a lot of American Indians and it was a political decision. Romania had slavery in place long ago. And so on. Are you a Christian? Do you still feel responsible for the crusades?

    The British Muslims and Muslims across the world are not responsible for the terrorist acts you have mentioned. The people actually doing them are!

    Moreover, Muslim extremists are by far not the only terrorists in the world. Think Ireland, Spain, the crimes of the South American drug cartels, torture around the world, etc.

    While it is not surprising that their image as a community is affected, I think most intelligent human beings can learn how to put blame in the right place and not judge a community in its entirety for the crimes of some of their representatives.

    I know I would hate it to be judged for the racist, homophobic comments a few Romanians make…

  3. Max says

    Well is it any shock they have a bad image, it is not just 911 and the July 7 attacks, this is the community that has produced.

    A further failed attack on the tube.
    A failed bomb attack on a plane (shoe bomber)
    A failed attack on a nightclub, and further attack on scottish airport.
    A knife attack attempted murder of an MP.
    The first suicide bomber in stockholm.

    These are just a few I can remember quickly, but there are plenty more.

    Further just out on wiki leaks

    1 in 3 British Muslim Students think killing in the name of religion is justified.

    Quite frankly I am shocked that only 41 percent “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” with the idea that Muslims have a positive impact on British society.

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