Vidal, whose original article explored the experiences of Muslim women who had been victims of Islamophobic hate crimes, expresses her dismay at the volume and type of abuse directed at her online following the publication of her article.
She discloses the popular memes which have come to shape people’s perceptions of Islam and the consequences of that antipathy in the form of attacks on Muslim women. For example, she notes the correlation people make with Islam’s “treatment of women,” with “honour killings” and “halal meat” as reasons explaining their prejudice. But, as she rightly points out, the perception is steeped in a disposition that is plainly anti-Muslim and far removed from some pious concern for the welfare of women or animal rights.
Vidal notes the flippant reaction of those responding to the serious matter of criminal behaviour, as hate crimes indeed are, with remarks like “What is the problem? Can’t Ninjas take care of themselves?”.
She also bravely contests the false premise popularised by a fellow Telegraph columnist determined to downplay the volume of anti-Muslim attacks and their steady rise.
Vidal asks if the dismissive reaction to anti-Muslim hate crime is “because we are subjected to so many negative images of Muslims that we have become desensitised?”
Academic analysis certainly bears out the steady shift in negative attitudes and the explosion in the volume of media output that negatively portrays Islam and Muslims. A point further adumbrated in the Leveson Inquiry report published last November. How interesting that the Telegraph Media Group has staunchly resisted the adoption of the cross-party Royal Charter which, being more Leveson compliant than the one proposed by the industry itself, stands some chance of curtailing the excessive anti-Muslim output that has become so entrenched in the print media.