PRESS RELEASE: It is deeply damaging for people to equate asylum seekers as terrorists


Islamic Human Rights Commission

PRESS RELEASE: It is deeply damaging for people to equate asylum seekers as terrorists.

13th April 2003

IHRC is greatly concerned at the increase in racist language used in media reporting. Media reporting is being used as a propaganda tool in influencing public opinion. IHRC has noted the overt and covert use of racist and Islamophobic language in the stereotyping of Algerians, in particular Algerian asylum seekers, making them synonymous with Al-Qaeda. The simplistic rationing coupled with the lack of evidence presented by reporters brushes aside the complex reality arguments based on a false premise.

IHRC has issued a briefing on the “Language, media and the public mind” – a case study of reporting of the ‘ricin’ incident in the UK earlier this year. This briefing hopes to raise awareness and stop readers passively reading, but encourages questioning and dissecting of the racist language that the articles are saturated in. It appeals to the intelligent reader, who will be able to recognise the chosen phrases, assumptions used in media reporting and the value systems behind their usage. The briefing itself gives examples with specific reference to the BBC articles on-line and analyses extracts. It exposes the overt and covert racist and Islamophobic stereotyping, with specific reference to the ‘ricin incident.’ The statements and arguments used are typical of general coverage in the media.

Television programmes contribute greatly to the systematic propaganda and demonisation of Algerians. Algerians have been victimised in recent documentaries, such as BBC4’s “Algeria’s decade of bloody conflict.” IHRC is concerned that tonight’s (13 April) broadcast at 9:00pm, on Channel 4 of a Dispatches ‘documentary’ on “Al Qaeda UK” will replicate some of these problems. IHRC fears an increase in the backlash that Muslim Britons are already experiencing.

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of IHRC stated:

“Algerians have become an easy target. They are being demonised by politicians and media again. Ministers from both the government and opposition are competing to be the most ruthless on asylum laws. Often, the media does not report with responsibility. It must resist fuelling public opinion with its use of racist language and be careful not to racially discriminate against communities by using racial labelling for the sake of cheap political point scoring”.

To read the briefing please fo to:

or click on the link below.

For further information, please call the press office on +44 (208) 902 0888 or (+44) 7958 522 196.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8902 0888
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