There was an environmental protest march this weekend in my city. It was organised by a Christian group as part of a wider national campaign. A Muslim organisation was also involved in a support role in this worthy cause, and their logo was discreetly placed in the corner of every banner.
The Muslims were a minority on the march, to be sure, but a visible and significant presence with their assorted beards, hijabs… and day-glo vests with the Muslim organisation’s logo on the back! At the main rally a nasheed group (Islamic songs) performed to the mixed crowd, and amongst the other speakers there was a Muslim environmentalist who spoke about humankind’s responsibility as guardians of the planet.
There was a nice warm atmosphere of solidarity, and there seemed to be a fair amount of press and media covering the event. I looked forward to the positive coverage of Muslims it would generate.
I returned home, threw off my marching boots and switched on the local BBC news first. They covered the march, explained the issues, mentioned the Muslim organisation by name, showed footage of the Muslim nasheed artists performing, and Muslims in the march itself. Lovely
Then I switched over to catch the independant news channel. They covered the march alright. But, shock horror – where the blazes did all the Muslims go?? The report seemed to have edited them out entirely, beards, hijabs, vests and all. They focussed on the main Christian organisation, a pop star and a lady in a funny hat. No mention of the Muslim organisation, no hint that Muslims were involved, not even a whisper from the nasheed artists. Muslims had been whitewashed out of their version of events as if we had never existed.