Media Distortions Encourage Religious Discrimination


By Md Hamim’18

              Religion has always been at the center of conflict. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have struggled to find their place in certain societies, and their followers have also faced prejudice. Muslims around the world are currently facing harassment and hate because of ISIS, who is trying to impose upon the world the ideas of radical Islam.

              The media has also helped in the spread of anti-Islamic ideas and the fear of the religion, Islamophobia. At heart Islam is a religion of peace, and nowhere in the holy book Quran is violence promoted. The media, in order to garner attention and increase viewership, portrays the ideology of ISIS as the true face of Islam. There is also another underlying purpose the media is trying to achieve.

             According to Hatem Bazian, a lecturer at University of California and co-founder and professor of Islamic law and theology at Zaytuna College,”by constructing Muslims as the new, feared other, the racists are able to reclaim the civil society arena under the guise of defending society but on the basis of reconstituting the segregated and Jim Crow past.” He said this on an interview with the Independent Media Institute, a nonprofit media organization.

                 With the election of Trump the idea of “making America great again” by getting rid of the race and religion of people, who don’t fit the image of a white and Christian America, seems to have gained progress. Almost two-hundred years ago, it was the blacks who were being segregated and abused, now Muslims have become the target with the recent conflicts between the West and the Middle East.

                   It is not to say that everyone who supports Trump and his ideas are cold hearted monsters. There are certain percentages that feel America has lost its former glory as more groups were let into the country, and Trump’s actions have been matched with similar thought process.

                 According to a poll and study done by the Pew Research Center, “While Americans still feel coolest toward Muslims and atheists, mean ratings for these two groups increased from a somewhat chilly 40 and 41 degrees, respectively, to more neutral ratings of 48 and 50,” based on the scale of a thermometer.

                     It goes to shows that people in America are becoming more tolerant towards not only Islam, but other beliefs as well.

             The hate and fear of Islam isn’t only due to the media or ideas of Trump, it truly is because of ignorance. The media refuses, as do many others, to be educated in the ways of Islam. Instead it is far easier for them to believe muslims are a violent group of followers, who do not know the meaning of peace.

                   “It is the nature of media to report on the novel, the sensational, the bizarre, the dramatic, the extraordinary but not the ordinary occurrences in life. Hence, with regard to Islam, it does not report about peace-loving Muslims,” said Dr. Belinda F. Espiritu, in her article Islamophobia and the “Negative Media Portrayal of Muslims”, February 29, 2016.

                This ties to the points being discussed here, the media is trying to mislead the populace through the use of yellow journalism, so that they could get a larger audience. Another point is that the media also has a secret agenda to fulfill, as they get the public more riled up about Muslims and their beliefs.

                  There are certainly those who are not caught up in the lies of the media, and they continue to fight towards tolerance and respect for other’s race, culture and religion. When the population starts to think for itself instead of blindly following, then there will be change.          

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