Term Paper: Islam and Terrorism

Pages: 8 (2282 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] d.). The politicization of scholars, experts and media commentators in the post 9/11 period has created a minefield for policymakers and the general public as they search for answers to questions like: "What are the causes of radicalism and anti-Americanism?," "Why do they hate us?," "What do Muslim women think about their status in Islam?" "Is Islam compatible with democracy?," "What are the causes of global terrorism?" other such questions. This often subconsciously leads a reader and positions them amongst the midst of positions of seemingly qualified experts who are nothing more than Islamaphobic authors who engage in a revisionist reading of Islam and Islamic history.

This increase in Islamophobia was in turn reflected in the way media outlets addressed and stereotyped Muslim populations (Media Smarts, N.d.). Though there are relatively sparse efforts to deliberately frame Islamic coverage positively in an attempt to counter Islamophobia, many of the portrayals of Muslims contributed to the formation of harmful Islamic media stereotypes. The most prevalent Islamic stereotype is the radical Muslim insurgent, bent on waging jihad, or holy war, against the West. This stereotype usually represents violence as an inseparable part of being Muslim, as well as religion as justification for violent actions (Media Smarts, N.d.).

Examples of this kind of stereotype can be seen in an array of different sources pretty much all the popular media channels. One specific example would the character of Sayid Jarrah on ABC's hit series Lost can serve as a prime example (Media Smarts, N.d.). Jarrah is the only Muslim central character on the show that consequently used to work for the Iraqi Republican Guard. This character is portrayed shown using torture to extract information from prisoners on several occasions during the series. Even though the directors use part of the storyline to illustrate the fact that Jarrah is now a member of an anti-terrorism squad, but his actions are repeatedly portrayed as inherently violent and he is well trained and willing to use torture to benefit his objectives. These images are at least somewhat responsible of the general sense of fear that many Westerns have developed with respects to Muslims in general.

Figure 4 - Jarrah Pictured Torturing another Charecter (Lostopedia, N.d.)

Conclusion

There is a common stereotype that persists in the West that associates the Islamic faith with violence and terrorism. Islam is the fastest growing beliefs systems in the world today and is known as one of the seven primary world religions. Yet, primarily due to violent extremist groups within the religion, Islam has been perceived by many to be a brutal religion that includes provisions for terrorism; specifically through its concept of "Jihad." Findings from the 2005 Pew Global Attitudes survey on attitudes toward suicide bombing and civilian attacks and other measures of support for terrorism offer some revealing perspectives on this question; most notably, the survey finds that terrorism is not a monolithic concept -- support for terrorist activity depends importantly on its type and on the location in which it occurs

However, there are significant variations that appear in countries that also have similar religious beliefs which suggest there is much more to the equation than the contributions of religion alone. This increase in Islamophobia was in turn reflected in the way media outlets addressed and stereotyped Muslim populations. An example was illustrate by the character of Sayid Jarrah on ABC's hit series Lost who is a violent man who, though he denounces terror, uses torture to further his ends. Such illustrations create a public that can is fearful and this can be illustrated disparities in an unjustifiable general perception of Islamic terrorism that is dynamic in the face of current events such as the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Works Cited

AFP. (2008, February 27). Major survey challenges Western perceptions of Islam. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i5ajtNJ0qTTRMBSFpYngMOjrmDbQ

Imam, M. (N.d.). The Perception of Islam and Muslims in the Media and the Responsibility of European Muslims Towards the Media . Retrieved from Cuturelink: http://www.culturelink.org/conf/dialogue/mesic.pdf

Kidd, T. (2009). American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism. Princeton University Press.

Lostopedia. (N.d.). Syid Jarrah. Retrieved from Wikia: http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Sayid_Jarrah

Media Smarts. (N.d.). Media Portrayals of Religion: Islam. Retrieved from Media Smarts: http://mediasmarts.ca/diversity-media/religion/media-portrayals-religion-islam

Powell, K. (2011). Framing Islam: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of Terrorism Since 9/11. Communication Studies, 90-112.

Shelnutt, K. (2011, July 11). Survey: American perceptions of Muslims got worse after bin Laden's death. Retrieved from Chron: http://blog.chron.com/believeitornot/2011/07/survey-american-perceptions-of-muslim-got-worse-after-bin-laden%E2%80%99s-death/

Wilke, R. (2006, May 23). Where Terrorism Finds Support in the Muslim World. Retrieved from Pew Research: http://www.pewglobal.org/2006/05/23/where-terrorism-finds-support-in-the-muslim-world/ [END OF PREVIEW]

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