MEMBERS of the Muslim community have voiced their concerns about how Islam is being portrayed a year on from the September 11th attacks.

Islamaphobia has undoubtedly increased over the past year according to one local Muslim body. And a recent report out recently highlighted how many Muslims do not trust television news channels coverage of the so-called war on terror.

Ibrahim Master, Chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques said: "Islamaphobia has had a field day over the past year. A tiny minority have been given more coverage in the media than the law-abiding majority."

"We all understand loss of life last year but since it happened Muslims have been vilified across the globe."

"The actions of the Americans and British Government in targeting Muslim countries has also heightened tensions. For instance the need to wage war on Iraq. The majority of the community is against such actions We have in the past raised a petition against this and asked Tony Blair not to do anything that would endanger civilian life."

Preston's Yusuf Motala said, "All Muslims are being perceived as terrorists, I have experienced it first hand myself. The racist comments have become more and more acceptable to some members of the wider community. And the mainstream media are to blame for this."

"They continue to fan the flames of Islamaphobia. People have tended to forget about the millions who suffer across the world, especially in Muslim countries."

They're views were backed up by a report out this week about how the majority of Muslims across the country do not trust news reporting on British television since September 11.

More than 70% of those interviewed felt that British as well as American TV news bulletins were selective in what they broadcast, in particular the coverage of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and the portrayal of Islam, the study by the British Film Institute (BFI) and Open University (OU) found.

The scepticism was fed by the different perspectives and analyses of the events of September 11 offered by Middle Eastern and Asian satellite TV stations such as Al Jazeera and information available on the Internet, researchers said.

Richard Paterson, in charge of research at the BFI, said,"TV news is central to the public's understanding of political issues. It is the only medium that brings world events into people's homes and traditionally this information has been accepted unquestioningly.

"We found that viewers watching the same news bulletin will interpret information differently depending on their existing knowledge and viewpoint. This may explain why some Muslim viewers believed that Islam was portrayed negatively by some TV news, but why this was not evident when we analysed the content."

The BFI and OU analysed more than 50 news bulletins from 18 TV stations including BBC, ITN, Sky News, CNN, Al Jazeera and Asian station Zee News over four separate days in the period between September 11 and December 13.

A team of 20 researchers interviewed 320 viewers, of whom 80% were British Muslims and 20% were of white British ethnicity, interviewed to provide a comparison for the results.