When I picked up my paper this morning, my eye was drawn to the headline, “The tsunami was the will of God. Allah knows best”, attributed to “Muslim leader”. Inside, the paper quoted a range of religious leaders’ reactions to the tsunami, all of whom described the event in fatalistic terms. Iqbal Sacranie’s comments were more considerate and constructive than the Buddhist representative’s:
What might have precipitated the tsunami was a lot of people coming together who had the karma for a short life and, to an extent, this is perhaps a reflection that these areas were over-populated.
By highlighting the Muslim leader’s comments, the paper was exploiting the latent islamophobia that has grown over the last few years. It may be a good way to attract the reader (it worked for me), but it is the little digs such as this that lead to prejudice becoming culturally accepted.