The Daily Mail has run two Muslim-centric news stories over the past couple of days that have provoked some very interesting reactions. I’m not so concerned with the articles themselves in this instance, but much more with the reader comments that have followed.
The first story is pretty much overwhelmingly positive.
So, dubious use of inverted commas in the headline aside, that’s a good story for British Muslims. Of course – were you to read the report you’d see that it is about pride in Britain in general and features statistical analysis of all members of our society – Christian, Hindu, male, female, gay, straight etc. I guess the Mail have focussed on Muslims because, well, shouldn’t we all be surprised that they like Britain? What with all the poppies they keep burning and everything…
A man could go seriously insane highlighting examples of the Mail cherry picking data though, so let’s move past that and look at the comments. Surely this positive story will resonate with the readers somewhat.
Top rated comment:
Hmmm. So it’s not that Muslims are more patriotic than most Brits – it’s actually their fault for driving down most Brits patriotism by their presence. Gotcha. Note how immediately there’s a distinction between being British and being Muslim; you can only be one or the other – not both. Note also how the connection between being Muslim, being foreign, being an immigrant, being a refugee and being here illegally is instantly made.
Right. Another top rated comment:
It can’t be true because I gone done heard something different. Where did I hear that?
Remember – these are the highly rated comments. I can’t imagine how inflammatory the worst rated comments must be:
210 people do not want to see positive news stories about Muslims. 193 people think it right that someone born in this country is still regarded as an outsider because of their religion. Breathtaking and, I might add, not very British.
This story is about a local council printing up leaflets encouraging Muslims to keep their neighbourhoods cleans which was regarded as potentially inflammatory and they were “binned” before being released to the public. A junior official came up with the idea but a senior official stopped them being released – if anything it’s a story about a council being culturally sensitive.
Top rated comment:How odd. I don’t remember reading anything about Muslims complaining, imposing their world view or spitting their dummy out – I also don’t recall reading anything about “the tables being turned” but I must have missed all that because 2227 people clearly did read that.
Second top rated comment:So now the Muslim are responsible for littering AND they’re being allowed to get away with it because they’re Muslim. If a non-Muslim tried that they’d probably be locked up by Tony Blair or a Marxist thinktank.
Third top rated comment:And now things start to get seriously dark. How has the story about cancelled pamphlets descended into accusations of Muslims being “filthy?” In a national newspaper? And 1349 people agreed. From here on in it’s a free-for-all.They’re all filthy, and foreigners, and here to steal benefits. Another:They’re filthy AND forcing rent prices up. Another:They’re ruining the city with their filth. I particularly like how this reader is annoyed their previous comment wasn’t allowed, so they’ve incrementally reduced the level of accusation in line with what is acceptable. Another:Muslims are so filthy they leave shit in car parks. Another:They’re so dirty they’re bringing back TB.Muslim aren’t British. They’ve destroyed Bradford so much it should be demolished.Muslims are a benefit stealing infestation.They are an invading army.Something tells me Roy from Aberdeenshire has never been to a Middle Eastern country.Even the bad behaviour of non-Muslims is the fault of Muslims.
Let’s be perfectly honest for a second –
This is insidious, aggressive, unfounded, hateful racist bullshit. And judging from the complaints contained within other comments a great deal of messages are being turned away – so these are the good ones.
I’m not saying these people don’t have a right to have their opinions, no matter how knuckle-draggingly retarded they may be – but these are approved comments from the 2nd most visited news website IN THE WORLD. The Mail may not agree with what their readers are saying but each time one of their moderators clicks ‘approve’ on a comment accusing Muslims of being “filthy” they are sending a clear message saying that this sort of comment is acceptable.
Let’s be absolutely fucking clear about this – no mainstream news organisation should ever approve this sort of utterly unfounded racist slander. Ever. Even the BNP word their arguments better than this. I don’t care how militantly rightwing the Mail readers are – the newspaper, it’s editor, publishers, moderators and advertisers have a duty of care not to encourage or support the spreading of hate against any group of people.“Abusive comments are not allowed.”
This is way beyond the usual middle-Englanders, NIMBYS and disgusted of Tunbridge Wells that the Mail encourages communication from. This is the deliberate spreading of hate-speak and by continuing to publish comments that defame nearly 3 million inhabitants of this country the Mail is sending a message that that is perfectly ok to do so.
This is also way beyond the usual cowardly remarks, sly insinuations and cleverly ‘worded’ sentences which make up much of the Mail’s reporting on Muslims, and it’s also the first time I’ve seen proper, overt, celebrated racist claims making their way into the comments section. Yes they’ve always been there, but never with this kind of vindictive levels of abuse before.
Considering the abuse that Muslims receive on a daily basis from newspapers I would say it is a testament to their community and sense of pride that they remain the most patriotic of all Britons. Then again, it’s all probably a plot.