Is Telegraph racist?

Azfar Rizvi
4 min readJul 18, 2019

Who should be singled out for practising restraint when it comes to alcohol?

So as my last tweet blew up, I’ve gotten some push back on this from my right-wing friends and colleagues. Mostly men who insist this correction was not necessary.

There are several reasons why I feel this is such a poorly written, divisive, and prejudicial dog whistling tweet. And I thought I’d share these reasons here in the spirit of collective learning. I could be wrong, so I welcome any critique.

Of course my perspective comes from someone who identifies as a Muslim, lives in a non-Muslim country, has conversations daily with non-Muslims about our ‘values’, and as a journalist whose detractors are primarily conservative, republican or the extreme right.

Non-alcoholic sports celebrations have been a thing since the 2000s. Long before Muslims came to the fore, there was conversation amongst the Jewish and the Mormon communities here in North America and EMEA. There was also a consideration of how minors were involved in the community, and how abysmal could the exposure to alcohol be. And yet unlike this tweet, we never hear mainstream media talk about these faiths, and values because let’s face it: it is easy to sell a headline if it is adversarial and against a less potent community. The Telegraph will not be able to sustain if it picks up on those who pay its bills. And therein lies my belief that the choice of words and the content of this particular tweet remain problematic. If not deliberate.

Everytime media singles out Islam and ignores that alcohol is forbidden in several other global faiths, we’re perpetuating a certain narrative. Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Mormonism, and the Bahai faith just to name a few where alcohol is prohibited/discouraged. (Zoroastrians?) Also these public sports celebrations have had participation from young volunteers and minors. So the world of sports has been talking about this for a very long time. But when was the last time we saw a major media…

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Azfar Rizvi

Journalist-turned award-winning filmmaker. Writer. Chai drinker. Pakistani Canadian in Contemporary America! | W: AzfarRizvi.com