The Telegraph and a “Muslim MP”

This is a guest post by Sarah AB

Neil D, in his recent post ‘Strange Bedfellows’, quotes at length from a statement issued by Hope Not Hate about the EDL. Some commenters questioned this statement’s reference to a “seemingly endless onslaught against Islam from the national media”, noting that this ‘onslaught’, in so far as it exists, is only to be found in the tabloids. Today I noticed this headline on page 3 of the Telegraph: ‘Muslim MP on mobile faces drive ban’. It’s hardly an ‘onslaught’ but it did seem gratuitous to make such a point of the MP’s religion in the headline. And in the very short article there are two further references to her religion. It is (I think) hard to imagine the adjective ‘Muslim’ being replaced by ‘gay’, ‘Jewish’, ‘female’ or ‘black’. She isn’t the first, or only, Muslim MP, and her Muslim identity has absolutely nothing to do with her driving offence. It’s not hard to see why some Muslims, faced with little digs like this headline, as well as the endless ‘A Muslim ate my Hamster’ type stories in the tabloids, might become less receptive to articles targeting particular individuals or groups who happen to be Muslim – even when their natural inclination might be to agree with such criticisms.