PRESS RELEASE: IHRC records increase in harassment as war on Iraq progresses


Islamic Human Rights Commission
PRESS RELEASE: IHRC records increase in harassment as war on Iraq progresses. Media jingoism to blame

24 March 2003

From the very inception of the war on Iraq, IHRC has recorded a sharp increase in incidences of harassment against the Muslim community. IHRC is deeply concerned at these recent developments, as previous IHRC press releases have raised the spectre of a potential backlash against the British Muslim community, especially from the far right, in the wake of increased hostilities against Iraq.

IHRC places blame on sections of the mainstream media and the employment of xenophobic and jingoistic language in recent commentaries on the war against Iraq. IHRC has taken steps to closely monitor media activity and expresses its dismay at the inappropriate and crassly insensitive use of language, especially by prominent media commentators, which is likely to impair, if not exacerbate already tenuous community relations. Undoubtedly, the main beneficiaries will be the BNP and their extremist acolytes.

In light of the recent upsurge in harassment, IHRC urges British Muslims to report incidences to the police and IHRC. Furthermore, IHRC is currently in the process of establishing a counselling service for (Muslim) women. The majority of Islamophobically-motivated violence is directed towards Muslim women on account of their visibility through the headscarf. This follows the ‘Precautionary advice for UK Muslims on eve of war on Iraq’ document recently issued by IHRC, which includes ’24 Safety Tips for Muslim Women’.

IHRC Chairman Massoud Shadjareh stated:

“Once again media chauvinism prevails, especially in the tabloid arena. Tinged with xenophobia and overtones of Islamophobia, we are witnessing a repeat of the same type of insensitive and lazy reporting witnessed over Afghanistan and 9/11. Of course we are disappointed at the repeat use of jingoism and the recycling of the same phrases of war. We issued our concern then and we do so again. The fact that there is a direct link between insensitive reporting and increases in Islamophobically-motivated violence reveals a great deal of irresponsibility on the behalf of certain media elements. As usual our calls for restraint have not been heeded in some media quarters”.

To read the ‘Precautionary advice for UK Muslims on the eve of war’, visit:

or click on the link below.

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

Islamic Human Rights Commission
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