The Global Muslim Travel Index 2022 expects tourism to rebound to 2019 levels by 2024 (Shutterstock).

Islamic Lifestyle

Newswrap: Islamic lifestyle

Malaysia tops the Global Muslim Travel Index 2022; Study shows Muslims portrayed negatively in US, UK, Australian and Canadian media; The International Exhibition and Museum of the Prophet’s Seerah to open in Rabat.


Malaysia tops the Global Muslim Travel Index 2022

Malaysia has once again secured the top ranking in the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2022, followed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia in joint second position. In the fourth position, it is non-OIC countries Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Thailand.

The UAE took fifth position, Qatar sixth, Iran and Jordan seventh, and Bahrain ninth position alongside

Uzbekistan. Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, and Morocco took 12th position. Pakistan and Tunisia took 17th position, while Lebanon and Maldives were joint 19th.

The index estimated that international Muslim tourist arrivals were 160 million in 2019, dropping in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A rebound is expected in 2023, to 140 million tourists, and returning to 2019 levels in 2024, with 160 million tourists. The GMTI’s pre-pandemic projection of 230 million arrivals by 2026 is now slated to be reached in 2028, with expenditure to be $225 billion.

The index ranked 138 destinations on how prepared they are for the Muslim-friendly travel market and the key drivers of development.

Muslims under 40 and women are expected to drive tourist demand, accounting for 70% of the 2 billion Muslim population, while Gen Z and millennials account for 50%. Women account for around 45% of Muslim travellers.

Growth is to be particularly strong in the Asia Pacific region, with overall flight trends expected to lead to an estimated 430 million more passengers than in 2021.

Study shows Muslims portrayed negatively in US, UK, Australian and Canadian media

A study on the evolution of media portrayals of Muslims and Islam over the decades found “overwhelmingly negative coverage, not only in the United States but also in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.”

The researchers downloaded 256,963 articles mentioning Muslims or Islam from 17 national, regional and tabloid newspapers in the US over a 21-year period from 1996 to 2016. Articles relating to Catholics, Jews and Hindus were also collated.

“Our central finding is that the average article mentioning Muslims or Islam in the United States is more negative than 84% of articles in our random sample. This means that one would likely have to read six articles in US newspapers to find even one that was as negative as the average article touching on Muslims,” wrote the authors Erik Bleich and A. Maurits van der Veen in The Conversation. Their book “Covering Muslims: American Newspapers in Comparative Perspective” has just been published by Oxford University Press.

For Catholics, Jews and Hindus, the proportion of positive and negative articles was close to 50-50, the research shows. By contrast, 80% of all articles related to Muslims were negative.

The study also collected 528,444 articles mentioning Muslims or Islam in newspapers in the UK, Canada and Australia. “We found that the proportion of negative to positive articles in these countries was almost exactly the same as that in the United States.”

The study noted that scholarship has “shown that negative stories generate less favourable attitudes toward Muslims. Other studies that looked at the impact of negative information about Muslims also found an increase in support for policies that harm Muslims, such as secret surveillance of Muslim Americans or the use of drone attacks in Muslim countries.”

In January this year, a British study also confirmed such negative bias: Dinner Table Prejudice: Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain, while a study released by the Muslim Council of Britain in December 2021, showed that 60% of online media articles and 47% of TV clips associate Muslims or Islam with negative aspects or behaviour.



The International Exhibition and Museum of the Prophet’s Seerah to open in Rabat

With Moroccan city Rabat the Culture Capital in the Islamic World for 2022, an exhibition is to be organised on the Prophet Mohamed’s (PBUH) seerah (life). According to IQNA, the exhibition will “highlight the message of Islam which promotes justice, peace, mercy, tolerance, coexistence, and moderation, based on the Holy Qu’ran, the Noble Sunnah, and Islamic history. The Exhibition employs advanced technology to give visitors a real-life experience of the Seerah and historical events.”

The International Exhibition and Museum of the Prophet’s Seerah is to open on 25 July at ICESCO Headquarters in Rabat.