IN HIS latest Advertiser column, Croydon North MP Steve Reed pays tributes to the contribution of Muslims to Croydon and British society as a whole... MUSLIMS in Croydon, as across the rest of the world, are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan. The month is marked by fasting during daylight hours and offers an opportunity for reflection, compassion and prayer. We are fortunate to have a large Muslim population in Croydon contributing to our borough's rich cultural diversity. The Muslim contribution to world culture, science and the arts is enormous. How tragic, then, that the portrayal of Muslims and Islam in the media is so unbalanced. Research shows that up to 90 per cent of national newspaper reports about Muslims are hostile and scaremongering. Apart from being a complete distortion of Britain's Muslim population, the vast majority of which is peace-loving and neighbourly, the relentless focus on negative stories leads to "Islamophobia" – inciting fear of Muslims, breaking down community relations, and even leading to vicious hate attacks. There is a tiny minority in every community who cause trouble and they deserve to be exposed and stopped, but no other community experiences such unbalanced reporting as Britain's Muslims. Ramadan is the perfect time to remind ourselves how Croydon's Muslim community benefits us all. A Croydon Muslim youth group has raised thousands of pounds to fund research into multiple sclerosis, the Muslim Association of Croydon regularly offers free food to the homeless, and Croydon Mosque raises money and provides blankets for refugees fleeing war in Syria. These are just three out of many examples of the fantastic work our Muslim community takes part in all year round. This Ramadan, let's celebrate our Muslim friends and neighbours and show them how much we all value the wonderful contribution they make to Croydon's diverse community.
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