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Global, political, social and economic development has in recent years distressed the relations amongst European, western and Islamic cultures strongly.[1] With time now, there has been unsettling changes worldwide since Non-Muslims and Muslims became preys of violence and terror by persons pretending to act in the title of Islam. As a result there occurred an increased misunderstanding and prejudice against Muslims in the media by the sophisticated media sources.in this era wars begin, continue and end with media.[2] The Media shapes the peoples opinion and reports by their censorship hence can be used as an important weapon. The media forms how we see the world.

It is common that emergencies often determines the policy making process of the public. These reveal journalists’ vital role in communicating the information. But choosing destructive and alarming names for groups that influential policymakers distaste, are all parts of tricks in the media.[3]

In this day and age, several media campaigns are going against Muslim and the Islam culture. A lot of Western media with large financial assets and several channels show rough images of Islam to their communities. [4]The Muslim groups at the same time are trying to convey positive messages through their media, however their efforts are not fruitful due to the global saturation of the western media.

The World Trade Centre attacks of September 11, 2001 are still felt and the deeply affected is the American Muslim group. Since the attacks Muslims in the US have been violated economically, politically and socially, amidst these this discriminations are clear misunderstandings about Islam hence development of Islamophobia (deep social anxiety towards Islam).[5]Polls directed between 2001- 2009 show American misunderstandings concerning Islam. Almost 45 percent of Americans assumed that Islam is more likely to inspire violence among its followers than other religions; also 36 percent of Americans did not recall any beliefs of the Islam faith .The two most publicized images in the media are of the Muslim male who is a terrorist and the veiled woman. [6]Most media, use these images to portray the male as being fundamentalists and the female as being subjugated by her religion.

As a result of the attacks, the government of America modified and added on immigration policies and security measures. These joint enactments of the CLEAR Act and Patriot Act culminated in increased tailing of Muslims. Muslims were and are still being denied formal charges and council while being held for long periods of time. Scrutiny of Muslims is constant in mosques, library records, bank accounts, and places of work and on the Internet.[7] A year after the 9/11 events ,the Attorney General broadcasted the introduction of the National Security Exit Entry Registration System (NSEERS).this  The program was functional to men from Muslim countries living in the United States. They were expected to report for multi-phase registration .This program proved futile in two ways. Firstly, they did not put clear information regarding the requirements and secondly, the program used inhumane detention methods on Muslims resulting to violation of human rights and mistreatment.

The U.S. CLEAR Act and Patriot Act negatively influences the civil rights of Muslim minority groups and have resulted in the devastation of Muslim community and the U.S. Government relations. In addition, use of racial profiling has encouraged media stereotyping.[8]

Muslims face social discrimination and physical abuses U.S. Department of Justice report allegations of abuse that include:  internet, telephone, threats, assaults, vandalism and bombings of houses, companies, and mosques.[9] These assaults generate fear throughout the Muslim community are as targeted in safe places such as their homes and the mosque, ten years after World Trade Centre attacks a debate has rose in the mainstream media outlets against building of mosques around the nation.[10]

Muslim professionals have stated that they have been discriminated against when it comes to employment. They report being called names by co-workers, like terrorist or Osama, and protest that their bosses do not allow wearing the headscarves or partaking in prayer times.[11] The wide spread nature of this hatred perpetrated by the media can be seen in the comments of well-known public figures, for instance Franklin Graham a Christian evangelist said during an interview in one of the western medias that the God of Islam is not the Sovereign God plus he is not the God of the Christian faith and that he firmly believes that it is a different God concluding that Islam is a very wicked and evil religion. Pope Benedict XVI also referred to Muhammad’s offerings as inhuman and evil. Mary Jo O’Neill, advocate of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said, there has been a level of spite and hostility that is appalling.[12]

Even before the World Trade Centre attacks the views of Muslims in the United States had already been tarnished this can be traced to intentional myth making by film and media, coming up with images categorizing the unwanted ‘other’ in its midst. A few days after 9/11 attacks almost all news channels were showing images of what the hijackers looked like resulting to Americans turning their fright and hatred on to anyone who resembled the faces of the suspects. The media only served to fuel the hatred.[13] Ever since 9/11 the media has continuously depicted the Middle East as unappreciative for the assistance that the United States has purportedly brought. Complete with dishonest lies and reporting part of the stories, it is not a surprise that 600,000 dead Iraqis were never named or counted.[14]

Media outlets in the U.S. do not report facts about the war in Iraq it only tells a side of the story. These media represent Islam as fundamentalism, extremism and radicalism. Definitely, in the current world where the role of media is vital, the image of authenticity can be worked to distort the actual facts. The media have tried to depict Muslims as terrorists posing a threat to the security to the western nations. By this, they try to justify the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the recent years, this method has led to the advent of Islamophobia. Diminutive efforts have been made to answer to these negative campaigns. On the contrary, the actions of terrorist sets that kill people, aid their media to show that they are mutually preys of terrorism.

The consciousness raising of  experts, scholars and media analysts after the 9/11 period  through the media has created a problem for legislators and the public as they look for answers to queries like: What are the reasons of radicalism and anti-Americanism?, Why do they dislike us?, What do Muslim women think about their position in Islam? , Is Islam harmonious with democracy? What are the origins of global terrorism? And many more. Consequently, a reader is trapped between the opposing positions of superficially competent experts as well as a new force of Islamophobic authors who participate in a heretical reading of Islam and Islamic history.[15]

The logic of threat to the Muslim cultural uniqueness is heightened by a predominant feeling that a powerful and secular West inflicts its ideals upon the Muslim world. For instance ,When asked a question like ,what do they dislike most about the West in their own words?, the most recurrent answer across all Islamic countries for both political  and moderate radicals was sexual and cultural promiscuity then; ethical and moral corruption and finally hatred of Muslims.[16] Another source of hatred comes from the representation of Muslims in the Western media.

A study by Jack Shaheen in his manuscript, Reel Bad Arabs- How Hollywood Vilifies a People, established that the huge majority of Arab characters in 900 American films were complete racist characters. Imageries of day to day life and usual Muslims in their nations are almost non-existent or one-sided in the western media.[17] Additionally, the western media which are widespread in the Muslim world boost imitation of Western style, behaviors and values.

Television news are the most significant source of public information about world events.[18] Just about 80 percent of people rely on it as their leading source of news, Western media with huge financial means try to show a bad picture of Islam to their public.

Selected scholars are certain that there is a direct association between modern global communication and terrorism. Their readings show that most terrorists’ actions are propaganda. Terrorism is a secondary psychological approach which avoids at all costs direct connection with opponents.[19] Thus, without media attention terrorism disappears. After the world trade Centre attacks, the word terrorism and Muslim or Islam became synonymous in western countries.

The illustration of Muslims in the media recounts to the lack of taking and accepting of differences, the media creates public fear around the terrorist menace. One scholar said terrorism war is a war of images and the ones that are most effective are those of victims of terrorism. On the flip side there is discrimination related with Islamophobia which tries to show that Muslims are a threat to safety. The emphasis on terrorism merges TV coverage of Muslim news and the central image is Islamic Terrorism.[20]

Due to frequent repetitive destructive propaganda by the numerous media sources, religious and cultural prejudices against the Muslims have gone round like wild fire. The media, is further interested in dramatic news than functional constructive news.[21] It is well known fact that Islam condemning goes on in the western media. Western countries like the USA majorly take up very hostile attitudes towards Islamic countries like Libya, Iran, and Iraq who challenge USA authorities. USA not only reprimands them brutally (as for instance bombings on Iraq and on pharmaceutical factory in Sudan) but also starts publicity warfare against Islamic countries and its people in their media.

Out of frustration, some militant youth carried out ferocious attacks on some American establishments (for instance, bombings on the World Trade Centre). As a consequence of this a regular American has a very bad prejudice toward Islam and Muslims as it is thought to be a religion of violence and fanaticism.[22] In the same way the internal radical violence in Algeria has spread over to France. The Algerian radicals carried out bombing occurrences in Paris too as it believes the French Government collaborates with the Algerian authorities in eliminating Muslim militants, hence this leading to strong prejudices against Islam among the French.

During the development of history there have been journeys from one country to another and from one region within a country to other regions. These conflicts are not new. Muslims and Christians fought on the query of control over Palestine and these historical wars are known as the crusades.[23] The enthusiasm with which these wars were battled between Muslims and Christians made crusade synonymous with fanaticism and thus a new phrase crusading spirit came into reality. It was the crusades that instigated great deal of confusion about Islam in western countries through the medieval period.

The image of Muslims’ holy book in one hand, and blade in the other, was the conception of these crusades.[24] Likewise, the Muslim conquests on North India led to image of Islam as vicious religion in the thoughts of many Hindus (though just a few Hindus were partners in these attacks). All of These images are being recovered in the modern settings to work for present-day political interests. Nevertheless, due to propaganda buildup an average Hindu thinks of a Muslims as violent and fanatic. The media again plays a significant role in spreading such images and ideas.[25]

According to several studies, Muslim Australians normally experience discrimination, racial slander, actual violence and threats of violence. Others observed that a general inconsiderateness towards Muslim cultural practices like refusal to allow prayer breaks and negative judgments about their dressing and names.[26] The studies in their conclusion stated that Muslim Australians were highly experiencing discrimination along the theme that Muslim Australians are possible terrorists, that there was no home in Australia for Muslims and that Muslims should reject their cultural practices and integrate .Muslim children and women were specifically defenseless in Australia and reported sentiments of fear of attack or cruelty at home and even in public places. Muslim Women recounted being verbally and physically abused on a daily basis with intimidations such as I am going to tear that scarf off your head and crash your bag over the top of your head and smash it in, as described in when cultures disagree.

Development for the public longitudinal needs of Muslim women in Sydney, Muslim and Arab Australians gave detailed accounts of their kids undergoing intimidation and bullying in institutions, thus many parents resort to admitting that they have no other choice but to send their children to Islam schools, not essentially for the education, but for their security and safety.[27]

Concern has been amplified in Australia since the Bali bombings and the responsiveness given to the controversial readings. Some analysts speak about the Muslim issues and the need for Muslim Australians to integrate, while on the other side others maintain that the Australian people should continue to embracing multiculturalism.

Conclusion

It is clear that the Muslim who is citizen or non-citizen in westernized countries continuously face difficult and extreme challenges from social, political, economic and institutional discrimination. The people are pursued in order to be influenced by political interests.[28] This manipulation is eased by the power of mass media and which now the media is not only print but also in electronic form. These media play great roles in spreading inter-cultural and inter-religious prejudices. The pictures about some culture and religion fabricated by media may not be factual but can play complete mess by distributing strong prejudices against specific groups. The media’ responsibility has become very crucial in this modern time. Electronic media even more so.[29]

But the media can take part in positive contributions as we have to exhaust every possible way to promote the dialogical life-force among the disagreeing groups.[30] There are also clear strategies that can assist in alleviating some of the misunderstanding and hatred of Islam and Muslims. Islamic establishments and societies can provide a platform for education on Islam and offer outside members to Islamic seminars and get-togethers to cultivate better relationships with the outside community.[31] Also an American chronicles of Islam can be created, comparable to the African-American narratives. These can assist to expand the average American’s understanding of Islam and its basic code of beliefs. With increased knowledge, abuses and discrimination are more likely to be done away with ultimately.

The image of Islam and Muslim in the western media has to transform for the better and Inter-culturalism has to substitute Islamophobia.

Reference

Benazir Bhutto .Islam, democracy, and the West. : New York: Harper, 2008.

Des Freedman & Daya Kishan Thussu .Media and terrorism: global perspectives.Los Angeles: SAGE, 2012.

Doris A Graber. Media power in politics. Washington, D.C, 2007.

Harris E Metzler. Country reports on terrorism. Hauppauge, N.Y., 2007.

Robert Spencer & Jeff Riggenbach .The politically incorrect guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Blackstone Audiobooks, 2007.

Shahram Akbarzadeh & Fethi Mansouri .Islam and political violence: Muslim diaspora and radicalism in the west. London; New York, 2007.

Stephen Hess & Marvin L Kalb… The media and the war on terrorism. Washington, D.C., 2003.

Steve Drake & Joanne Azern. 9/11 backlash: being Muslim in America DVD. Silver Spring, 2005.

[1] Benazir Bhutto. Islam, democracy, and the West. : New York: Harper, 2008.

[2] Ibid.,34

[3] Doris A Graber. Media power in politics. Washington, D.C, 2007.

[4] Benazir Bhutto. Islam, democracy, and the West. : New York: Harper, 2008

[5]  Steve Drake & Joanne Azern. 9/11 backlash: being Muslim in America DVD. Silver Spring, 2005.

[6] Shahram Akbarzadeh & Fethi Mansouri .Islam and political violence: Muslim diaspora and radicalism in the west. London; New York, 2007.

[7] Des Freedman & Daya Kishan Thussu .Media and terrorism: global perspectives.Los Angeles: SAGE, 2012.

[8]  Steve Drake & Joanne Azern. 9/11 backlash: being Muslim in America DVD. Silver Spring, 2005.

[9]  Ibid.,6

[10] Des Freedman & Daya Kishan Thussu .Media and terrorism: global perspectives.Los Angeles: SAGE, 2012

[11] Stephen Hess & Marvin L Kalb… The media and the war on terrorism. Washington, D.C., 2003.

[12] Doris A Graber. Media power in politics. Washington, D.C, 2007

[13] Ibid,.66

[14] Harris E Metzler. Country reports on terrorism. Hauppauge, N.Y., 2007.

[15] Benazir Bhutto. Islam, democracy, and the West. : New York: Harper, 2008.

[16] Ibid.,71

[17] Shahram Akbarzadeh & Fethi Mansouri .Islam and political violence: Muslim diaspora and radicalism in the west. London;  New York, 2007.

[18]  Doris A Graber. Media power in politics. Washington, D.C, 2007.

[19] Des Freedman & Daya Kishan Thussu .Media and terrorism: global perspectives.Los Angeles: SAGE, 2012.

[20]  Stephen Hess & Marvin L Kalb… The media and the war on terrorism. Washington, D.C., 2003.

[21] Doris A Graber. Media power in politics. Washington, D.C, 2007.

[22] Robert Spencer & Jeff Riggenbach .The politically incorrect guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Blackstone Audiobooks, 2007.

[23] Robert Spencer & Jeff Riggenbach .The politically incorrect guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Blackstone Audiobooks, 2007.

[24] Ibid.,12

[25] Ibid.,29

[26] Ibid.,33

[27] Des Freedman & Daya Kishan Thussu .Media and terrorism: global perspectives. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2012.

[28] Doris A Graber. Media power in politics. Washington, D.C, 2007.

[29] Ibid.,46

[30] Ibid.,48

[31] Benazir Bhutto. Islam, democracy, and the West. : New York: Harper, 2008.

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