For my topic, “Terrorism, Muslims, and a Culture of Fear” I wish to investigate how and when the discrimination against Muslims commenced, the negative portrayal and manipulation of Muslims in the media, how much of an influence the media has on society and if it impacts people’s views on how they perceive Muslims.
By including relevant HSC concepts such as Belief Systems and Ideologies, Identity, Culture, Technology and by implementing certain methodologies it assists me to form my quantitative data. I have not commenced any primary research methods yet, however my Secondary Research Findings exemplifies the harsh biasness the media truly has against Muslims and how most terrorist incidents committed the media finds a way to connect it with to Muslims that might not have anything to do with it, therefore proving it to play a fundamental role in the macro world. Each media article researched played a crucial role in informing us about Islam and influencing how we respond. The research cumulated clearly presents how the media basically helped the terrorists achieve its goal by allowing them to become the representatives for Islam and Muslims in general. Therefore, it is clearly apparent that overly fabricated media coverage serves the Islamic State’s aim to turn Muslims and non-Muslims against one another.
Chapter 1 : Islamophobia
Islamophobia is defined as “ unreasonable dislike or fear of, and prejudice against, Muslims or Islam”. Islamophobic attitudes are usually due to the misinformation spread about Islam. On the account of incidents that took place over the past decades biased opinions escalated causing hatred for Muslims among society. The incident that stereotyped all Muslims to be terrorists in this case was the 9/11 attacks which completely changed the treatment of Muslims in society. As a result of the rise of Islamic extremism, misunderstandings occurred due to the complete change of people’s views on Muslims. On the morning of September 11th, 2001 al-Qaeda Muslim terrorists hijacked four American Airlines planes, and they flew two of the planes into in the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, while one crashed into The Pentagon, and the other crashed on a field in Pennsylvania these incidents caused the death of 2966 innocent people. The 9/11 attacks created a mass fear among society and this fear caused prejudice views on Muslims to spread.
Majority of the public believes not only terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, but Islam itself to be a threat to society. Aspects of hostility, violence, and terror are often tied in with Islam. Due to the hatred and fear presented by the public it increased the rapid growth of hate crimes in the world, even after 15 years of the 9/11 attacks. After the attacks, the “Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported a 1,700 percent increase of hate crimes against Muslim Americans between 2000 to 2001” (Anderson 2002).
Muslims are usually held responsible every time a terrorist attack occurs anywhere around the world even if there is no actual evidence proving that they caused it. Following the 9/11 attack, terrorism has often been linked with Muslims and Islam. The 9/11 incident caused extreme racism against Muslims to occur globally which still affects Muslims to this day.
Chapter 2: Media Manipulation
Islam is portrayed as populated by ‘an undiﬀerentiated mob of scimitar-waving oil sup- pliers’ (Said, 1980: 19) or as a religion of irrational violence that subordinates its women (Said, 1980). In recent research, studies have found that the media repre- sents Islam as a monolithic, homogenized, or sexist religion (Korteweg, 2008; Mishra, 2007a). Muslims are often framed as heartless, brutal, uncivilized, religious fanatics (Shaheen, 2009), as militants and terrorists (Ewart, 2012; Ibrahim, 2010; Powell, 2011), or as societal problems (Bowe et al., 2013; Hussain, 2007; Ibrahim, 2010) within well-constructed war and conﬂict stories (Akbarzadeh and Smith, 2005; Poole, 2002)
The media plays a significant role in recounting prominent facts that the public should be aware of by selecting, broadcasting and specifying what events the public presents as fundamental and what the public should understand as a threat. Occurring on a macro level, the news media has a negative portrayal of terrorist related incidents in some countries and link it back to Muslims, even when they had nothing to do with it.
The negative portrayal of Muslims in the media affects Muslims in many ways. The medias is supplying false information to the public that Muslims are radical extremists. Not only is this information being extremely biased, it also alienates and dehumanizes innocent Muslims. A stereotype that Muslim women face is that they are poor, uneducated housewives. Due to this stereotype they have a harder time finding jobs and are discriminated against by believing the media. Another effect this stereotype has is Muslim children are isolated and excluded as other children could possibly fear them.
Muslims still face are still being discriminated against every day and the media might have a major role in influencing people to have a biased opinion as it is still portraying Muslims as terrorists this has been continuing for decades. However, some changes have occurred, the perception of Muslims are changing, and society is more diverse – people are more accepting of Muslims, and we are learning more about each other
By comparing views of the older generation and the younger generation and seeing how it differs shows how the older generation might have more of a biased opinion on Muslims considering they were closer when the 9/11 terror attack had occurred.
However due to media’s portrayal 9/11 attack words like “Terror “Killing”, “Terrorist”, “Bombing” society has a negative view on Islam and Muslims but this just a major misconception about Islam.
Chapter 3: Influence Of The Media
The media has a major influence in society. Its fabricated story plays a prominent role in influencing the public. The media have become the main source of information and communication for most people. The way the information is delivered has an influence on the majority of people. How the information is delivered can change people’s perspectives on them. Mass media use creates social order which ties in with the conflict theory. Muslims and Islam are turned against the rest of the world, as islamophobia continues and the media provides information on how Muslims are ruthless terrorists and the stereotyped being encompassed in movies such as True Lies doesn’t help. The media villainises Muslims as terrorists which plays a role in influencing people’s opinions.
Overall, Fear of terrorism contributes significantly to the association of terrorism with Islam The Secondary Research exemplifies the harsh biasness the media truly has against Muslims and how most terrorist incidents committed the media finds a way to connect it with to Muslims that might not have anything to do with it. The uncritical acceptance of terrorists’ claims and misinterpretation of Islam legitimises and unintentionally promotes Islamophobia.
My secondary Research which consists of websites, news articles and movies can reveal how the media affects the attitudes, norms and ideals of the general population. This encompasses how the media plays a major role in influencing individuals as their prejudice views on Muslims are mainly due to false information spreading in news articles and how in films such as True Lies, all characterise Islamic terrorist characters. This label has been going on for many years as it is an industry that usually depict Muslim characters as villains. Due to the medias portrayal of the 9/11 incident, a great deal of people have been perceiving Islam in a negative aspect. The media has a strong relationship with islamophobia, the portrayal and influence of Muslim and Islam.