Beyond "angry Muslims "? reporting Muslim voices in the British press

Meer, Nasar and Dwyer, Claire and Modood, Tariq (2010) Beyond "angry Muslims "? reporting Muslim voices in the British press. Journal of Media and Religion, 9 (4). pp. 216-231. ISSN 1534-8423

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Abstract

In this article we discuss the significance of how a variety of self-consciously Muslim actors have become increasingly discernable in public and media discourses in Britain. We show how within news reporting itself there is an observable variety of Muslim perspectives and that this marks a positive contrast with the more limited range of argumentation (publicly reported at least) at an earlier period in the emergence of British Muslim identities in the late 1980s at the time of the Rushdie affair. We maintain that a discussion of these developments would benefit from a vocabulary that can analytically describe the boundaries between, and content within, a variety of Muslim voices, as well as evaluate what their inclusion in mainstream public discourses implies for an understanding of more macro concerns around citizenship and nationhood. This article makes a tentative contribution to this goal by critically evaluating the inclusion and representation in the national press of British Muslim voices. We wish to draw attention to the ways in which the British case illustrates how relational notions of Muslim "fundamentalism" and "moderation" are present within the inclusion and representation of Muslim voices within news reporting. This can be illustrated by how Muslim actors are characterized as angry, ambiguous, and approving. What is crucial to note is that this amounts to more than simply including Muslim voices of fundamentalist anger.