Today’s Times has a lovely example of positive spin. The headline is: ‘Rise in Muslim birth rate as families ‘feel British’. The story which gives rise to this headline is that:
‘Almost a tenth of babies and toddlers in England and Wales are Muslim, a breakdown of census figures shows.
‘The percentage of Muslims among the under-fives is almost twice as high as in the general population. In an indication of the extent to which birth rate is changing the UK’s religious demographic, fewer than one in 200 people over 85 is Muslim.
‘One expert said it was foreseeable that Muslims who worshipped would outnumber practising Christians.’
I suppose that The Times should be congratulated for reporting at all a fact which most of our media refuse to touch. The majority still go along with an ‘expert’ quoted in the Times story who warns that ‘the one-in-ten birthrate statistic could “generate alarmism”.’
There are certainly a lot of people who go along with that line of thinking. Something big may be happening, and people can see it is happening, but best not to mention it in case people are ‘alarmed’. Elsewhere in the piece there is an account from Batley in West Yorkshire of how the growing young Muslim population there has led to ‘pubs, hospitals, houses and public buildings’ being turned into ‘Muslim private schools, madrassas, mosques and a Sharia court to satisfy rising demand from families.’
But it is interesting that even with these and similar stories the Times decided that it has to give a happy ending positive headline spin – with Muslim families allegedly feeling increasingly British. What is the source of this claim? Since the headline as a whole consists of a verifiable fact, drawn from the 2011 census and then this claim, surely it must be something solid?
Well no, the idea that the increasing Muslim population is feeling increasingly British is simply an opinion voiced by Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, the assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain. He doesn’t seem to see the large increase in the Muslim population of the UK as posing any particular challenges and is quoted saying: ‘I just wouldn’t want our fellow citizens to be alarmed by an increase in number… This generation is very much British. They feel very much this is their home.’
All of which nicely demonstrates part of the pickle this country is in. Even the papers that will report on one of the biggest underlying stories of our time, and one which demonstrates an unprecedented change in the make-up of our country, must on all accounts be turned into a good news story. And since expressing any worries about the fact is undoubtedly terribly bigoted and nasty, we’ll all just have to nod our heads, keep our fingers crossed, mouth the same platitudes and all put our collective future in the hopes of Sheikh Mogra.