An area of popular research throughout the last two decades is the study of mainstream media and it’s depiction of individuals that follow the Islamic faith. It is evident that Muslims encounter countless stereotypes through the lens of Western media consumers. This essay will highlight events occurring after the September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre attacks and ultimately display the Islamophobia present within politics. It is through this research that I will outline the stereotypes prevalent whilst providing contemporary media examples. Overall, this essay will argue that Islamophobia is prevalent in contemporary Western media; however, combating this Islamophobia is also evidently visible. Furthermore, due to certain media structures such as corporate ownership dominance and cultural consensus, Islam is viewed as the antagonist of Western culture. Overall, this essay will focus on the two evident spectrums of media coverage of Muslims and their religion as a topic of discourse. Through this essay I will aim to conclude that though extreme Islamophobia is prevalent in Western media, there is many media outlets that look to eliminate Islamophobia and Xenophobia altogether. The media coverage that will be analyzed will be highlighting Quebec’s political party; Parti Quebecois’ proposal for secular changes to the Quebec Charter and the recent Boston Marathon Bombing media coverage. I will begin this essay by defining the phrase “Islamophobia” and it’s significance within Western media coverage. Islamophobia is an ideology that radiates negative meanings to Muslims and Islam, thereby giving rise to negative attitudes and discriminatory practices against Muslims and Islam (ethnic). It is the fear of followers of the Islamic religion and negative views on the religion as a whole. Islamophobia leads to many negative depictions of Muslims. Moreover Islamophobia is described as the belief that Islam is inferior to the west (GoGale). Also, it is studied as, “ barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist; Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a clash of civilizations” (GoGale). If one were to have the same views against another religion or ethnic group in the West, it would be considered racism. However, as stated by Gema Martin-Munoz, this is not the case with Islam. She claims “Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices against Muslims and the exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society. Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal” (GoGale).
Islamophobia and the Hijab:
It is one of the reasons that the hijab is a controversial issue in contemporary Western societies and media. The lack of knowledge of reasoning behind the decision of Muslim women to cover their heads leads individuals to assume that these specified women are oppressed as a result of clear sexism in the Muslim religion. Also, Islamophobia is also prevalent with regards to the hijab as many Western media outlets describe it as a symbol of terrorism (examples will be described shortly). Overall, Islamophobia in the West is the fear and negative depiction of Muslims and Islamophobia with regards to the hijab is to view one choosing to wear it as a representation of oppression and terrorism. I will begin this section by summarizing the events for the two aforementioned political events. First, the Boston Bombing occurred on April 15, 2013 at the Boston Marathon. Two brothers were considered the alleged criminals for building and planting two pressure cooker bombs that exploded near the finish line of the marathon. This caused the death of three people and wounded more than 260 (Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Seeks Dismissal of Some Charges). Tamerlan Tsarnaev aged 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev aged 20, were involved in a police chase that evidently resulted in the death of the older brother, Tamerlan, during a police shootout, while Dzhokhar was eventually caught hiding in the Boston...
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