Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The context

For some reason, unknown to most of us, there has been an excessive media and academic focus upon the Muslim community in Bradford. The suggested reason is that Bradford was, during the eighties, at the leading edge of political campaigns in relation to multiculturalism. The good news post September 11 is that the centre of political activity has now shifted towards London as Muslims have begun to make headway in policy circles. This means that the focus on us here is less intense. Nevertheless, we remain familiar with the odd journalist or academic who continues to visit us here and ask the occasional question. This focus upon the Muslim community has meant that there has developed a cyclical relationship between representation and action, we do things and watch them being portrayed in the media etc. The focus has been negative: religion as a problem, Muslims as a problem, Muslims as backward, troublesome or difficult – Muslims as a ‘bad news’ story. The result is a compounding of a problem. Since we have no ownership of the media commentary on ourselves or the academic outputs, then we remain objects in other peoples’ lives. This weblog is an attempt to provide some space for discussion on Bradford Muslims by Bradford Muslims. It is open to all to contribute. I welcome contributions from everyone as long as they are reasonable, constructive, anti-sectarian, honest and well-mannered – I define all of these criteria from within the Islamic framework. Contributions can include anecdotes, analysis, criticism, commentary and reflection.