Canadian media sucks at representing Muslims in Canada
Amira Elghawaby on the unflattering, unrelenting media spotlight on Muslims in Canada—and why journalists must do better
These Islamophobic themes in our media mean that struggling for social justice within our own faith spaces and calling for change can be a challenge. Fellow community members might see it as “airing dirty laundry” at a time when our communities are under intense scrutiny. Others might view it as fuelling the Islamophobes. We’re left wondering what we can safely say, and how we can call for positive change in such a divisive climate.
To top it all off, a third of Canadians have a negative perception of Islam and Muslims, according to the recent Environics Survey of Muslims in Canada. Other polling shows that people who actually know a Muslim will be far more likely to have a positive impression. But when our daily media diet is persistently negative, painting Muslims as a fifth column, barbaric, sexist, dangerous, deceptive, and problematic, how can we blame people for simply wondering—even on a most basic level—what gives?