A GUIDE for media to avoid reporting that can exacerbate hate crime towards Muslims has been published.

Glasgow Labour MSP Anas Sarwar helped produce the report which he hopes will show leadership to other countries.

The guide has been jointly published by the Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia with the National Union of Journalists and academics at Newcastle University.

The group found participants said “headlines hurt” and questioned why there aren’t more positive stories about Muslims in the media.

The report found that “terminology is often used without much regard for accuracy – such as the terms ‘hijab’ and ‘burka’ being used interchangeably” and said articles sometimes reference an individual’s Muslim faith when it isn’t clear why it is relevant to the story.

Mr Sarwar who has spoken out about his own experience of racism and islamophobia said the main aim in producing the guidelines is to improve the portrayal, accuracy, representation and terminology used about Islam and Muslims.

Mr Sarwar, chair of the Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia, said:

“Rightly or wrongly, people blame politicians and the media for rising divisions in society.

“The CPG set out to address these issues, and I would like to thank all the journalists and editors for their positive engagement with this ground-breaking initiative.

“These guidelines can demonstrate leadership from Scotland to the rest of the UK and other parts of the world. I hope this becomes a regularly used tool and acts as a quick guide for the media.

“By coming together to challenge all forms of prejudice we can build the tolerant and inclusive society we aspire to be. This is a fight for all of us.”

Report co-author Professor Peter Hopkins of Newcastle University said: “Our main aim in producing these guidelines is to improve the quality of press coverage about Islam and Muslims.

“We know from research that problematic media representations play a key role in fostering Islamophobia so we hope that this guidance will help to improve the portrayal, accuracy, representation and terminology used about Islam and Muslims, for the benefit of all.”