Islam campaign needs punchier approach

There’s a new advertising and PR campaign out today that aims to improve the British public’s perception of Islam and Muslims.

Launched by the Exploring Islam Foundation, it covers media relations, online activity and an outdoor advertising campaign at bus stops, tube stations and on taxis.

With the headline “Inspired by Muhammad,” the campaign portrays Muslims using their faith to contribute positively to society and focuses on women’s rights, social justice and the environment.

Given the general tenor of the media coverage of Muslims, it’s surprising that it’s taken so long for someone to come up with this kind of promotion. A YouGov poll commissioned by the Foundation found that more than half the public associate Islam with extremism and terrorism.

So there’s a long way to go before people have a more balanced view. And while one can’t expect a Max Clifford to wave a magic wand and transform perceptions overnight, it’s a pity the Foundation couldn’t have come up with a punchier approach.

Having a former MTV presenter telling us that Muhammad supported the environment hardly gets to the nub of people’s issues and concerns with the religion and its followers.

Still it demonstrates a recognition that the Muslim community needs to start working hard to change people’s perceptions in the UK.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.