1st August 2010
On the 23rd July 2010 the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) presented the results and recommendations of their UK study concerning perceptions of Islam, Muslims and how Islam is presented to the wider society. After a successful press conference that was held at the London Muslim Centre, iERA was pleased to see positive reports in both the ethnic and national media, ranging from Sky News to The Guardian.
In spite of this there have been some journalists and bloggers misrepresenting iERA’s research objectives and their analysis of the results. iERA would like to make the following points clear,iERA is an organisation dedicated to disseminating mainstream Islam to the non Muslims coupled with efforts to positively contribute to British society, for instance the report provided a number of recommendations one of which mentioned “In light of this we recommend that a plan for positive engagement between Islam and Muslims with the wider society is required to dissolve the current apathy and indifference.”
- iERA will continue to engage with the wider society in a positive way and will always encourage the Muslim community to engage in British society.
- iERA’s main research objectives have been stated clearly in the report, “The paper seeks to use the results of the research to inform organisations involved in Islamic dawah [presenting Islam to the wider society]. This research paper will present the results of the non-Muslim perceptions questionnaire, provide insights and implications of the findings and provide recommendations for the Muslim community and oranisations involved in presenting Islam to the wider society.”Journalists such as Andrew Giligan from The Daily Telegraph have misconstrued the analysis of the research, by calling the study a poll, the study is not a poll, it is a research paper conducted under best practice guidelines, readers are encouraged to see the ‘Methodology’ section of the report.
- The summary section of the research is a reflection of the analysis made by iERA researchers, however some journalists seem to have deliberately misconstrued the analysis of the research. For instance when the report summarised one result as “63% did not disagree with the statement that Muslims are terrorists” Andrew Gillian for example argued that this is not true by stating that this includes 39% neither agreed nor disagreed. However if journalists were to actually read the report and not just focus on the summary they would see that the apparent neutrality has been analysed to lie on the negative spectrum, as the report states “To the statement ‘Muslims are terrorists’ 63% did not disagree, however, and this was a trend with all of the ‘agree or disagree’ questions, there was an apparent expression of indifference and neutrality as 39% neither agreed nor disagreed. This indifference or neutrality still exhibits negative perceptions due to the fact that the statement has severe implications and that there was an option to disagree.”
iERA would like to encourage all those who are interested in the research to fully read the report as most of the misrepresentations of the study will be clarified.