Critical analysis of Islamphobia in the West and the Media Dr. Syed Abdul Siraj Abstract



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Critical analysis of Islamphobia in the West and the Media
Dr. Syed Abdul Siraj

Abstract

When the Muslims were enjoying scientific and cultural grandeur in Spain, at that point in time, London and Paris were just villages. Animosity between Muslims and Christians is a result of misunderstanding, fear, and hatred (Richard Stone, 1997). Islamphobia and hatred against the Muslims can be found in the rhetoric of Christian saints in Byzantine period claiming Islamic beliefs as blasphemous and Muslims are nothing short of evil predecessor of the Antichrist.
Islam Spread quickly to the West after its inception. The Western elites became highly involved in propagating the negative image about Islam .As a result not only was battles fought but also a war of words was initiated against Islam and its people. After the after 9/11 incident, the Western politicians and media often used inflammable rhetoric in claiming that Islam is radical which represents terrifying, deadly, and invisible threat to the world peace. Muslims are portrayed in the media as terrorists
No matter how secular and non-practicing, law abiding, taxpaying, peace loving person, Muslim is always mentioned in the west by the media, the politicians and the people around as not a natural part of the western culture. Muslims in the West are always looked down graded and they are portrayed as terrorists and fundamentalists. Pakistan and Iran are in particularly portraying as Champions of Islam and a great threat to the world. The cartoon controversy was not about freedom of expression in the West, but it was about Islamphobia.
Key words: Islam in the West, Islamphobia, Post 9/11, Western media, Image of Islam.


Islam in the West: historical perspective

Islam came to Europe through army, trade, labor force and scientific research. Soon after the inception of Islam, the Arab invaded Sicily and then conquered Spain. Muslim ruled Spain till 1614. There was a close relationship between Germany and Ottoman Empire. Nielsen (1992) reveals that the origins of the Muslim community in Germany lie in the close relationship between Germany and the Ottoman Empire through periods of war and peace. Even earlier, Muslims had settled in the southern German states after the second siege of Vienna in 1683. After that period Prussian kings often employed Muslim soldiers. It is the same link that allowed the Ottoman sultan to patronize the mosque built in a Muslim cemetery in Berlin in 1866. The economic and diplomatic relationship between Turkey and Germany thus has deep roots. The picture is the same for France and Britain, where many immigrants arrived during the last century. Seamen from Africa and Asia settled in London and other ports cities in UK. (Halliday,1992). The first mosque was opened for these seamen in 1889 in Liverpool but it did not survive due to the First World War. In 1944 King George VI inaugurated the Islamic Cultural Centre on a site near Regent's Park in London, in exchange for a site in Cairo for a new Anglican cathedral (Halliday, 1992).


In the last century, Egyptian students, scholars and business people settled in France. Before the First World War Muslims immigrants from Algeria migrated to Marseille region for jobs in the olive oil refining and related industries. According to Halliday (1992) during the First World War Moroccans, Algerians and Tunisians joined the civil and defense industries. It was in recognition of this that the French allowed the opening of a mosque in Paris in 1926. In fact, migration of Muslims was encouraged by the European governments themselves due to want of labor in the post-war reconstruction, particularly in menial and arduous jobs which could not be done by the native Europeans (Halliday, 1992). This writer wants to make a note here the European should not forget that Muslims were actually invited by their governments.
Islamphobia in the West

Islam being the unadulterated and compassionate religion grew very fast in Europe in the last few decades and is still growing in the West. Nevertheless, the West has many stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam that are due to the media, prejudice, and ignorance (Smith, 1999). Islam is often looked down upon as an “extremist”, “terrorist”, or “fundamentalist” religion. Stereotypes about Islam are not new to Western culture. Problems can be traced back 1400 years. At that time, Islam and Christianity were involved in the Crusades. Islam spread quickly to the West, and started threatening the position of the Christian Church and the ruling class. The Western elites, mainly the governments and the churches, then became highly involved in negative propaganda against Islam. As a result, not only were battles fought against Islam, but also a war of words was initiated to make sure that Islam would not have any converts or sympathizers in the West. These kinds of actions and feelings that the West had long ago still seem to be the case in the West today (Hassan, 1995).


Commenting on Islam, John of Damascus who sanctified himself as a saint in both the Eastern and Western churches said that Islamic beliefs are sacrilegious and Muslims are nothing short of evil predecessor of the Antichrist (Armour, 2002). Whereas the Christian faith takes its teachings directly from God. (Eric Gormly, 2004). Bashy Quraishy (2003) views that the Christians insulted the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with names as 'false Prophet', 'a mad man' and 'an impostor'. The Quran was labeled as a copy of the Bible. He said that there was every effort to undermine and destroy Islam by the Byzantine Empire and the Christian church. The spread of Islam in the Eastern part of the Europe during the Caliph Omar worsened the situation, as the Christians thought they were forced to live under Islamic law (Eric Gormly, 2004). The slaughter and looting during the Crusades in Holy Lands by Europeans expanded this hostility and misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians (Armour, 2002). The exaggerated and fabricated Western Christian writings on the crusades inflamed the enmity by the use of demonizing language for Muhammad and Muslims (Esposito, 1995) This practice is still going on by publishing blasphemous cartoons of Muhammad PBUH in the Western press.
Bashy Quraishy (2003) argues that Crusades, Arab conquest of Spain followed by sacking of the Moors, Turkish Ottoman Empire's in roads in the heart of Europe and colonization, the oil price crises of 1973 and the Islamic revolution in Iran have developed anti feelings in the West against Islam. “After the end of the cold war, Islam was perceived as threat to the West. “Gulf War against Saddam Hussein is a classic show of force against a tiny dictator to scare others to tow the line” (Bashy Quraishy 2003).
Said (1995) argues that Western historical scholars write from a position of superciliousness and lack of respect about Asia and Middle East. Contemporary American politicians as well as some Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians often use reductionist and inflammable rhetoric in claiming that Islam is Radical which represents terrifying, deadly, and invisible threat to the world peace. They further view that Islam has replaced Communism as the largest threat to the West (Eric Gormly, 2004). The inadequate, inaccurate, simplistic, and sensationalist rhetoric have added to the problem by painting a negative picture of Islam and has further inflamed anti-Muslim sentiments (Haddad & Haddad, 1995).
Edward Watson Howe wrote that, "What people say behind your back is your standing in the community." Regardless the inroads Islam's paranoid protagonists believe they have achieved, whether by exploiting what has transpired to be the West's imprudently accommodative justice system, whether by exploiting what most non-Muslim Westerners perceive to be Islam's tradition of violence against those who openly oppose its expansions, nothing will change the fact that the majority of Western "kaffirs" quietly realize by now that Islam the religion is the real culprit here - the terrorists and hate-driven imams who give substance to its terrifying ideology are logically but dreadfully secondary (Devolin, 2008).
The British Runnymede Trust report 1997 as mentioned by Christian Christensen in his article on ‘Islam and the media’ highlights the following elements about perception of Islam in the Western minds:

  • Islam seen as a single monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to new realities.

  • Islam seen as separate: (a) not having any aims or values in common with other cultures; (b) not affected by them; (c) not influencing them.

  • Islam seen as inferior to the West –barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist.

  • Islam seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, engaged in a ‘clash of civilizations’.

  • Islam seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.

  • Islam seen as diverse and progressive, with internal differences, debates and development.

  • Islam seen as interdependent on other faiths and cultures: (a) having certain shared values and aims; (b) affected by them; (c) enriching them.

  • Islam seen as distinctively different, but not deficient, and equally worthy of respect.

  • Islam seen as an actual or potential partner in joint cooperative enterprises and in the solution of shared problems.

  • Islam seen as a genuine religious faith, practiced sincerely by its adherents.

  • Criticisms made by Islam of ‘the West’ rejected out of hand.

  • Hostility towards Islam used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.

The 34th Islamic Conference Foreign Ministers (ICFM) expressed grave concern at the rising tide of discrimination and intolerance against Muslims in Europe and North America. The Conference termed Islamophobia the worst form of terrorism and called for practical steps to counter it. The OIC ministers described Islamphobia as a deliberate defamation of Islam and discrimination and intolerance against Muslims. “This campaign of defamation against Muslims resulted in the publication of the blasphemous cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a Danish newspaper and the issuance of the inflammatory statement by Pope Benedict XVI,” they said. During a speech in Germany last year, the Pope quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said the Prophet had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things. The Pope’s remarks aroused the anger of the whole Islamic world (Siraj Wahab, 2007).


Siraj Wahab (2007) reports that OIC foreign ministers condemned the distortion in the Western media of Islam and Muslims in the context of terrorism. “The connection of terrorists and extremists with Islam in a generalized manner is unacceptable,” they said. “This is further inciting negative sentiments and hatred in the West against Muslims,” they said. The ministers also pointed out that whenever the issue of Islamophobia was discussed in international forums, the Western bloc, particularly some members of the European Union, tried to avoid discussing the core issue and instead diverted the attention from their region to the situation of non-Muslims and human rights in the OIC member states. The foreign ministers said prejudices against Islam were not helping the situation. “Because of Islamophobia, millions of Muslims in the Western countries, many of whom were already underprivileged in their societies for a variety of reasons, are further alienated and targeted by hatred and discrimination.” The selective application of the existing legal frameworks and anti-discrimination and anti-blasphemy laws in Western countries also came in for criticism. “They are being applied in a selective manner when the victims are Muslims,” the ministers said.


Islamphobia and the Western leaders

Western leaders express the following comments about Islam and Islamphobia:


Nick Griffen, leader of the racist, anti-Muslim British National Party: "Muslims are the biggest problem at present, for several reasons, because they have the highest birth rate, which means their communities need living space - that's what the ethnic cleansing is about. They have political corruption in their own countries, and when they have a chance to get council places they are there for graft. Most important of all is that Islam is an aggressive religion." (The Guardian, Jeevan Vasagar, May 30, 2001).
Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister said: "I don’t know something called International Principles. I vow that I’ll burn every Palestinian child (that) will be born in this area.” (In an interview with General Ouze Merham)
Vladmir Putin, Russian Prime Minister: "Islamic Fundamentalism is a danger growing like virus.'EU/Russia: Is European Silence On Putin Outburst Good Manners Or Good Politics? (Russia Weekly, Jeremy Bransten, , 14 November 2002).
Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister: "Europe must revive on the basis of common Christian roots…” "We should be conscious of the superiority of our civilization, which consists of a value system that has given people widespread prosperity in those countries that embrace it, and guarantees respect for human rights and religion ... This respect certainly does not exist in the Islamic countries … [the West would] continue to conquer peoples", [as it had] "already done with the Communist world, and the moderate Arab states."Berlusconi breaks ranks over Islam, John Hooper and Kate Connolly in Berlin (The Guardian, September 27, 2001)
George Bush, President of the USA:"Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity …You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror" (CNN, 6 Nov. 2001)
John Ashcroft, U.S Attorney General:"Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for Him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you" (Los Angeles Time, February 16 2002).
October 30, 2006, Jack Straw said he felt "uncomfortable" speaking to Muslim women wearing the full-face veil known as the Niqab, calling it a barrier to community relations. Prime Minister Tony Blair also, trermed the Niqab a "mark of separation."
Islamphobia and Western media

Media reports about Islam are incorrect due to ignorance which leads toward hatred for Islam in the West (Hassan, 1995). Agha (2002) argues that the West has identified a new enemy, a new demon in the form of “Radical Islam” by replacing Red menace of the Cold war This “Radical Islam”, he viewed that Muslim in the West are considered as fundamentalists or terrorists. These views expressed about Islam and Muslims are due to the western mass media. Reporters who cover the Muslim world often know very little details about it. The major factor that contributes to Islamic stereotyping in the West relates to the selection of words in media. Some common names heard or seen in the news about Muslims are “extremists” or “terrorists”. The media rarely use more neutral terms such as “revivalist” or “progressives” (Hassan, 1995).


Said (1997) states that over 100 movies filmed in the past three decades revolve around a story-line where Middle Easterners are depicted as terrorists. Although Said (1997) ensures that this form of negative portrayal is not unprecedented for other ethnic, religious or racial groups, he argues that unlike any other portrayals in today’s media, these representations seem officially sanctioned. “Malicious generalizations about Islam have become the last acceptable form of vilification of foreign culture in the West; what is said about the Muslim mind, or character, or religion, or culture as a whole cannot now be said in mainstream discussion about Africans, Jews, other Orientals, or Asians” (Edward Said, from Covering Islam, 1997). Said (1987) observed that the tone of the Western media was against Islam, and the Western media portray Islam as a violent and destructive religion for individuals and civilization (p. 93).
Mughees (1995) indicates that image of Iran in the U.S. media was portrayed as a threat to regional peace, security and the interest of U.S. and Israel. The Western media generally portray Iran as a “terrorist”, or a “fundamentalist” country. The Western media is not only critical towards Islam but also helps to promote stereotypes about Muslim world and Islamic values. The U.S. media often portray Christianity as a symbol of tolerance and free market economy, while Islam as a religion of non-tolerant people (Mughees, 1995 pp. 41-42). Mughees (1994) while analyzing the coverage of Algeria’s Islamic Movement (FIS) in the U.S. elite press argues that due to the stereotypical perception of Islam and Islam as being a great threat to US interest, the Islamic movement in Algeria was misperceived and misinterpreted.
Quraishi (2001) views that no matter how secular and non-practicing, law abiding, taxpaying, peace loving person, Muslim is always denied in the West by the media, the politicians and the people around as a natural part of the western culture. Quraishi says that Muslims are judged by the parameter of Islamic faith—a religion perceived by the West as extremist. Muslims in the West have always been looked down graded. The Western media portray Islam and the Muslims negatively by interpreting their laws and customs out of context and equating them with terrorists and fundamentalists. Pakistan and Iran are in particular, portrayed as champions of Islam and a great threat to the world (Quraishi, 2001).
Poole (2000), in her article ‘Framing Islam: An analysis of newspaper coverage of

Islam in the British Press’ summarized the common themes as follows: “Islam is a threat

to British society and its values. Islam/Muslims are deviant, irrational, different and unable to fit in British society. Islam is an antiquated religion, Muslims are undifferentiated, Islam is marginalized as newsworthy on the basis of dominant news values and women are marginalized as significant actors” (Poole 2000, p. 162). In addition, she also pointed out that Islam is represented as “media villain” (Poole, 2002, p.

41). Similarly, Edward Said states that “in west, the Arabs are frequently presented as a menace, a terrorist, a shadowy figure who operates outside the accepted value system and is therefore to be feared and mistrusted” (p. 15). In addition, Perlmutter described “communism as a disease and Islamic fundamentalism as a plague” (Perlmutter, 1993 cited in Hanan, 2006, p. 156).


Poole while analyzing British press from 1994 to 2004, felt that Muslim viewpoints were under represented and that they were depicted integrative way, for example, Islam and Muslims are a threat to Western security and values, Benn and Jawad document the western media portrayals of Islam as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist. While analyzing the western media regarding Islam, Egorova and Tudor conclude that media used expression like “Islamic bombs” and “violent Islam”
During the inaugural ceremony of the Sydney Olympic 2000, a commentator on the German TV was commenting on the delegate of each country’s sporting achievements and its culture and society. Every time a delegation from Muslim countries such as Algeria, Sudan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan was introduced with the remarks of Islam, terrorism, fundamentalism or civil war (Bashy Quraishi, 2001). The Western media misinterpreted and misrepresented Islam, Muslims and Muslim countries and consider Islam as a potential threat after the fall of communism, The Western media view Islam as a conservative, backward and extremist religion and a threat to the West, Christianity and Judaism (Noshina, 2006).

Islamphobia after 9/11 Scenario

The 9/11 incident has globally divided the world between Islam and Christianity, now termed as the “Clash of Civilizations” (Huntington, 1996). Following the 9/11 incident, however, media around the world began to focus on the negative image of Islam. President Bush declared a "Crusade" on terrorism. Tony Blair—the faithful supporter of the USA declared this war as “war against fundamentalism”. He said: "This attack on the USA is an attack on our civilization, our democratic values and our way of life". Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi went to the extent of declaring Islamic civilization much inferior compared to the Christian West. An American military expert, William Taylor, was interviewed on CNN on 16th Sept. He said: "There is no concrete proof as to who has done this but I think there is a great possibility that militant Muslims are involved in this."


The attack on New York’s World Trade Centre has opened the floodgates to a new wave of hatred and discrimination against the Muslims all around the world. The 9/11 incident has given opportunity to the racists in Europe and the USA to attack the Muslims, police to harass them, politicians and journalists to revile their religion (Kenan Malik, 2005). (Muslim Council of Britain). Soon after 9/11, there were attacks against the Muslims in Europe and USA and derogatory words like Nigger, Paki, Fundamentalist, Ghetto, Ethnic gangs, Criminal second generation immigrants were used for the Muslims community (Iqbal Sacrani, 2003). This situation made Muslims powerless and frustrated.
Bashy Quraishi (2001) observes that TV reports, newspaper articles, radio broadcasts and internet chats were flooded with key-words like Islam, fundamentalism, terrorism and war. He further observes that words like extremist Muslims, fundamentalists, militant Muslims, Osama Bin Laden, Muslim terrorist groups, and Islamic terrorism were used again and again on the networks. Mogens Carme, a Danish Member of European Parliament, said at his party's annual meeting: "All western countries are infiltrated by Muslims. Some of them are nice people, who are waiting to kill us all when they will be sufficient in numbers". The former Prime Minister of Britain, Lady Thatcher, accused Muslims and said in an interview to Times newspaper on 4th Oct: "The people who brought down those towers were Muslims, and Muslims must stand up and say that that is not the way of Islam. I have not heard enough condemnation from Muslim priests." Kaddour (2002) maintained that the incident of 9/11 created a great opportunity for the media to freely propagate stereotypes about Muslim world. The media depicted Islam to be filthy and evil….Islam now breath fear. The so–called war against terror became a war against Islam…Men in beards and women in veils now became hard-line terrorists.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission monitored 344 Islamphobia attacks in the 12 months following 9/11, most of which were minor incidents like shoving or spitting.


Home Office figures released July 2002 revealed a huge increase in the stop-and-search of Asians under the government’s anti-terror laws. Journalists and even the Home Office all shouted Islamphobia. KM The EU report did find cases of mosques being vandalized and Muslims being insulted and threatened. But, in the four months after 9/11, there were only around a dozen serious physical assaults on British Muslims. It doesn’t speak of a generalized climate of physical attacks on Muslims, of Islamphobia in that sense does it? Ahmed Versi (editor, Muslim News) After September 11 we had the largest number of attacks on Muslims. Shareefa Fula (Muslim Youth Helpline) argues that Islamphobia is causing among the Muslim community depression, mental health, suicide and suicidal feelings, substance abuse – be it drugs or other forms of substances sexual abuse, and self harm. Muslim in Europe and USA feel isolated, criminalized and neglected.

According to the EU survey, 50% of immigrants are unemployed. There is often found discrimination in the labor market. Muslims are allocated socially poor areas, their youth are not given equal opportunities. Minority children are spread over different schools against their families’ permission. Media are very hostile and often portray Muslim minorities as uncivilized, primitive and a problem for the continuation of European culture. The anti-Islamic propaganda badly affected the Muslim community in the West and the USA. International terrorism became synonymous with Islam. Attacks on Muslims resulted in many deaths of innocent people. Damages to the property, harassment of Muslim women and girls on the streets and children in the schools and boycott of co-workers have been widely reported. Many Europeans have started saying, "Get ready for the gas chambers".


Bashy Quraishi (2001) analyzed six national newspapers and two national TV Danish channels and found that 75% of media coverage was about Islam and nearly 60% of the material was negative stories. Jack G. Shaheen, author of two books on the subject, said: "There is an unending barrage of the same hate-filled images, portraying Arabs as less than human. Not only are they bashed and vilified on a constant basis, the religion is thrown in too. Hurtful and harmful stereotypes do not exist in a vacuum. Continuously repeated, they dehumanize people, narrow our vision and blur reality." Shaheen told the "Los Angeles Times: "Arab families were never shown on TV or film. You never see people who look like and act and behave like other people" (p, 134).
Runnymede Trust, a British charity organization, stated in its September 2001 bulletin: "It could be argued that the media portrayal of the alleged perpetrators of these acts of terrorism is racist and Islamphobia. A glance at the media coverage of the last weeks is sufficient to establish that reporting of the event is unbalanced and likely to stir up feelings of Islamophobia". "The News", a Pakistani International newspaper published in London, very clearly pointed out in its editorial: "The Western media can continue to react to Islam with hostility, fear and ignorance. Or it can try to understand the faith, its traditions and its history. Instead of portraying Muslims and Islam in derogatory terms, the West should seek to explore the positive. There is so much they would appreciate and learn."
The Issue of Muslim Women Vail

The need to unveil Muslim women has remained a Western obsession for centuries. In the book Colonial Harem (1987), Algerian writer Malek Alloula analyzed picture post cards of Algerian women produced and sent by the French in Algeria in the period between 1900 and 1930. Alloula exposed the colonial gaze on Algerian women by explaining the photographer’s fascination with veiled women and the accompanying need to unveil them. He documented the "double violation" committed by the photographer who "will unveil the veiled and give figural representation to the forbidden" (p.17). Thus, Steet (2000) commenting on a 1924 National Geographic magazine picture of Muslim pilgrims on their way to Mecca wanted to "slap the hand entering from the photograph’s left frame and holding open the woman’s robe, exposing her breast" (p. 7). Both Alloula and Steet offered a critical intervention in the act of forced unveiling of the Muslim woman by the West. Stories about Muslim women living in the non-Western world were often stories about political violence in Kashmir, Rwanda, Nigeria, Bosnia, West Bank, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc., where Muslim women frequently figured as victims of rape, torture, stoning and patriarchal oppression.


El Guindi (1999) accused the Western media of harboring hostility against the veil "often under the guise of humanism, feminism or human rights" (p. xi). She argued that veiling in contemporary Arab culture is largely about identity and privacy. It may also imply rank and status, power, autonomy and/or resistance. Thus, modesty and seclusion are not the only characteristics of a veil although these two elements are most emphasized in Western writings on Middle Eastern women (El Guindi, 1999).
Majority of the Post-9/11 media coverage led to the assumption that Muslim woman is hidden and submissive. The veil has become the typical hate against the Muslims women in the West. Veil was not an invention of Islam; nor is there any exhortation in the Qur’an that women should veil. Veiling as a practice, particularly among wealthier classes, pre-existed the rise of Islam, especially in Syria and Arabia. It was also a custom among Greeks, Romans, Jews and Assyrians, and not peculiar to Islam (Ahmed, 1992, p. 55). Byzantine women in the Christian era, before the Arab conquests of the eastern Mediterranean, and pre-Christian Greek women had, for example, been subject to shelter from the public stare and to veiling. The veiled woman, in these contexts, was often perceived as the ‘respectable’ woman. The Qur’an demands modesty of dress and an avoidance of sexual display in public (Ahmed, 1992).
Conclusion

The Western Media are very hostile and often portray Muslim minorities as uncivilized, primitive and a problem for the European culture. The anti-Islamic propaganda badly affected the Muslim community in the West and the USA. International terrorism became synonymous with Islam. The western media with a precise agenda portray Islam and the Islamic world issues from specific angles by covering one side of the picture, resulting in negative images in the mind of the Westerns such as Islam being a harsh and extreme religion. This effect is quite in line with the cultivation research by Judith van Evra who found out that viewers who have less firsthand experience about certain issues are more likely to be influenced by the media than a viewer who has more information about the issue. This campaign of defamation against Muslims resulted in the publication of the blasphemous cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a Danish newspaper and the issuance of the inflammatory statement by Pope Benedict XVI.


Muslims in Europe and USA feel isolated, criminalized and neglected. They are subject to discrimination in the labor market, located in socially poor areas and Muslims youth not given equal opportunities. There are evidences of attacks on Muslims which resulted in many deaths of innocent people, damages to their property. The Muslim women and girls are harassed on the streets and children in the schools. Many Europeans have started saying, "Get ready for the gas chambers.
In order to avoid the bad feeling and animosity among the Muslims and Christian world, the stereotypical negative image of Islam by the Western media must be stopped. Muslims should attempt to reach more achievable goals by promoting co-operation among themselves. Muslim individuals should become involved in social welfare and missionary activities. Muslim leaders and writers need to do more serious thinking. There is a dire need of reputable Muslim and non-Muslim think tanks, academics and NGOs’ in the US and UK and other leading European countries for cooperation in monitoring and countering anti-Islam campaigns. The Muslim think tanks and NGOs in the Western countries should be encouraged and urged to develop closer contacts with their non-Muslim counterparts and to remain engaged in regular contact and dialogue. International media should be properly cultivated to motivate them to be more responsible in carrying out their responsibilities.
About the Author

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Prof. Dr Syed Abdul Siraj is working as Chairman, Department of Mass Communication and Dirctor Regional Services at the Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad



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