Western Media’s Tryst With Islamophobia

862 Views Updated: 01 Jul 2017
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Western Media’s Tryst With Islamophobia

It is one thing to condemn terrorism and another to condemn certain beliefs and practices of Islam, but the Western media seems to have forgotten this difference. The media tends to shape public perception, but irresponsible coverage of news just for the sake of TRPs speak volumes about the misuse of this power. Also, there is no one isolated incident where the media appeared to have had an issue with Islam, there have been quite a few, especially in the past couple of years.

Take a look at some of these.

Incident in the US

In November 2015, two hosts from a reputed news channel in the United States got into an argument with a French anti-Islamophobia activist, lecturing him about French Muslims having to accept the responsibility for Paris attacks. One of the hosts didn’t hesitate from asking why no one in the French Muslim community was aware what the attackers were up to. He further raised a question about why no one from the Muslim community had condemned the terrorist attacks, which was certainly not the case. This organization had been critical of terror attacks whenever they had occurred and even signed an open letter to ISIS penned by 120 Muslim scholars, deconstructing its theology.

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(Image Courtesy: Ghandara RFE/RL)

The UK has had its fair share

A similar incident occurred in Britain in April 2016 when the press regulator, IPSO found a well-known newspaper’s article headline, “UK mosques fundraising for terror” misleading. This led to the paper having to issue a clarification that mosques in the UK were not involved in the illegal activity in any way. Just a week before this incident, another popular tabloid was forced to issue an acknowledgment that its headline “1 In 5 Brit Muslims’ Sympathy For jihadis” was significantly misleading.

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(Image Courtesy: The Guardian)

Spain wasn’t far behind

A Spanish newspaper, one of the most renowned in the country, did not consider checking the facts on the so-called news it was serving to the public, necessary and ended up publishing a doctored image of a Sikh guy from Canada on the front page as a terrorist. Someone altered a selfie, replacing the iPad he held with a Quran and adding a suicide vest, which made news agencies all over the world declare him one of the terrorists behind Paris attacks.

(Image Courtesy: Los Angeles Times)

Besides these, there have been some other occasions as well where the Western media’s prejudice towards Islam and Muslims came to light. Speculation on the religion being somehow involved whenever a random act of violence is committed to becoming a typical scenario in the news reporting these days. Journalists love scoops and hate to miss one, and for this, they are ready to insinuate, hypothesize and suggest ludicrous scenarios, just to spark curiosity among the masses.

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(Image Courtesy: Global Research)

In this day and age, the fearful environment created by politicians and media obscures the reality and presents us an entirely artificial scenario, which could not be farther from the truth. Islam and its followers have become two of the most prominent targets in the media. Aljazeera took the bold step to report a study on the British media which found that improper reporting on Muslims by the press contribute towards the hostility and Islamophobia in public.

A recent survey conducted in 11 countries with considerable Muslim population gives a glimpse into the mindset of the followers of Islam. When people were asked about their views on ISIS, the favorable reaction or support for the terrorist organization did not rise beyond 15 per cent in any of these nations. This percentage is even less than the number of Americans who believe in the UFOs and consider global warming a hoax.

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(Image Courtesy: Spacing Magazine)

The reason that media’s Islamophobia is a big deal is that it has significant consequences. It could be among the major reasons which led to more than half of American governors opposing to let Syrian refugees into their states even though they were forbidden to do so by the constitution itself. It could also be the reason why a Muslim man was thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight after a passenger heard him talking on the phone in Arabic. We trust the media to provide us real, unbiased information whenever something happens but it has become a cycle to see television hosts and anchors bash Islam and its followers.

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(Featured Image Courtesy: New Statesman)

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