Inaccurate Reporting Creates Hate, Division and Islamophobia
Several newspapers today (17 July 2023) have used misleading headlines to report on the planning permission granted by Westminster City Council (30 May 2023) for a Piccadilly Community Centre.
The factually incorrect and grossly exaggerated headlines have either suggested that the entire Trocadero building is being converted into a mosque or that a three-storey mosque is being constructed.
Both are false.
Situated in vacant space in the basement of the Trocadero, the Centre will provide an indispensable place for the Muslims who work, visit and live in the area and for whom prayer forms a cornerstone of their life. While the Centre will provide an area for prayer, it is also anticipated that this development will nurture much needed interfaith dialogue and in turn bring faith communities and community groups together utilising available space.
The outpouring of hatred online and in social media posts highlights the danger such ill thought through headlines create. This hatred translates into real life consequences including attacks on individuals and on mosques, and the media creating hate fueling headlines needs to consider their involvement more carefully.
As a Foundation, we are proud to support the Piccadilly Community Centre, its prayer space, local community initiatives and interfaith work. British Muslims are part of the fabric of our society and contribute in the most essential and remarkable ways, but unsurprisingly, we do not find this accurately reported in mainstream media.
Clearly some in the media feel that being critical of the Muslim community or knowingly creating headlines that will provoke anti-Muslim hatred is far more productive than reporting on the many positive initiatives. As an example, the Aziz Foundation is playing a crucial role by providing much needed Masters scholarships and internship opportunities, nurturing confident, articulate public leaders of Muslim background. Our internships include positions within the media, sadly the very media that often provokes such hatred.
We call upon the media to deal with their coverage of news items in a more professional and accurate manner and not in a way that will inevitably create hatred towards any group or individual.
Enough is Enough!