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Title: The Muslim News : playing Muslims in the media : pitch, penalties and sport champions
Author: Mezghanni, Samar Samir
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 5348
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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The portrayal of Muslims in British mainstream media, particularly newspapers, is a subject of significant academic interest. Previous studies find that British newspapers frequently represent Muslims as a distinct and homogenous group, associating them with terrorist groups and framing them as a cultural threat. Orientalist representations have been observed, depicting Muslims as inherently problematic. Nevertheless, Muslims' own self-representation remains understudied and underexamined. This research analyses the discourse of the Muslim News, the oldest, most enduring English-language newspaper catering to Muslims in the United Kingdom. Using Corpus Analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis, this thesis explores the similarities and differences in the discourses of the Muslim News and British mainstream newspapers from 1998 to 2009. The findings reveal that, while reproducing some narratives observed in mainstream press, the Muslim News (the MN) is introducing new representations that 'pitch' alternative stories about Muslims in the media. While sustaining certain representations, such as the collectivisation of Muslims, the MN challenges mainstream discourse. It highlights Islamophobic attacks that Muslims are subject to, including their negative portrayal in mainstream press, and suggests that these hegemonic representations are part of a 'Muslim penalty'. Furthermore, the MN counters mainstream news by taking Muslims outside the frames of representation that associate them with terrorism, conflict and violence. Sports coverage consistently emerges in the MN as an important space to re-negotiate and reframe mainstream media discourses on Muslims. Sports stories maintain newsworthiness while enabling the MN to diverge from the negative coverage of Muslims in mainstream press and celebrate Muslim champions. Comparing such representations in a newspaper by and for Muslims to those produced by mainstream press further exposes contemporary Orientalist discourses and should be a subject of further study.
Supervisor: Suleiman, Yasir Sponsor: Center of Islamic Studies ; University of Cambridge ; Open Society Foundations
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Muslims in the UK ; Muslims ; Media ; Orientalism ; Media representations ; Sport ; Discourse analysis ; Corpus analysis ; Media discourse ; Muslim News ; Self representation