Muslim Council ramps up pressurised media team

LONDON - The Muslim Council of Great Britain (MCB) has been forced to double the size of its press office to cope with heightened media interest since the London terror attacks.

MCB media committee secretary Inayat Bunglawala said: "In the past month the press team has been expanded from eight to 16 to cope with the number of calls. The events in July also mean we have to monitor the media more closely."

Despite the heightened activity, the MCB, led by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, MCB Secretary-General,  has ruled out taking on a PR agency – an in-house team led by Bunglawala is handling all enquiries.

"We thought about taking on an agency, but decided training young British Muslims to do the work was more important,' said Bunglawala. 'The press team is made up of volunteers who are mainly university students, and we teach them how the media work and how to deal with them."

This Friday the MCB is set to promote its second 'Guide to the British Media' seminar, to be held at the Islamic Centre of England on 17 September. Bunglawala said the one-day conference would aim to 'develop the skills needed by British Muslims to ensure a better and more accurate representation of their faith and values in the media'.

Professor Greg Philo, research director of Glasgow University Media Group, will deliver a general lecture on the UK press, while a panel of editors will give talks on how to respond to islamophobia, such as by getting letters published.

"The message we are trying to get across is that it is important for Muslims to take steps to correct misconceptions, rather than just rail against islamophobia," explained Bunglawala.

"Many misconceptions in the press are driven by a lack of understanding rather than anything malicious. We need to train British Muslims to tackle this by responding in a way that will result in positive coverage."

Last year's event attracted 120 delegates, but more are expected this year in light of recent events.

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