Islamophobia is a prominent example of moral panic. It is the dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, to the fear and dislike of all Muslims (Quraishi, 2005). There has been a significant growth in Islamophobia due to the increase of media reports portraying Muslims and Arabs in negative light after the September 11th attack.
Islamophobia has always been problematic in the lives of many Muslims. Through the media ,its toxic nature has also spread to the public domain as well . It is quite evident that the Western media has and continues to negatively portray Muslims and Arabs in both the news media and film. According to El-Farra (1996), many newspapers make liberal use of terms such as fanatics and extremists, in addition to the term ‘terrorists’ to describe individuals from the Middle East. In 1995 when the Oklahoma City bombings occurred, many early reports also suggested it was the work of Muslim terrorists, thereby reinforcing the notion of Muslims as anti-American criminals. In addition to the explicit discriminatory attitudes being expressed freely about Muslims in the news media, there has been much concern regarding a similar phenomenon in film. Shaheen (2003) has extensively studied stereotypes pertaining to Arabs in film. He describes how many of the films depicts, “Arabs are brute murderers, sleazy rapists, religious fanatics, oil-rich dimwits, and abusers of women” (p. 172).
Examples of Anti-Muslims cartoons.
After the September 11th attacks in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were of Saudi Arabian origin and all were of Muslim faith, Arabs and Muslims was subjected to increased scrutiny and racial profiling at airports. Many of the Muslims and Arabs have also complained of being detained without explanation and was made to undergo hours of questioning and even arrest without cause.
Immigration authorities from the US also initiated a program and gathered around 83,000 young men from Muslim countries and subject them to a series of questioning, and collection of their fingerprint, photographs. More than 14,000 of the men were deported and forced to leave their families as most of them were charged for minor immigration violations.
Media was used to further reinforce the islam moral panic issue in the case when Fox News radio host Mike Gallagher suggested that airports have a dedicated “Muslims Only” line in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, stating “It’s time to have a Muslims check-point line in America’s airports and have Muslims be scrutinized. You better believe it, it’s time.”
In summary, the media should provide an un-bias view when reporting. The Agenda Setting Theory and Media Representation Theory has been greatly abused especially in regards to Islam and Muslims. They are deprived of their basic rights and this affects lives of those innocent people when their image has been tarnished unjustly.
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Stoking racism after 9/11 http://socialistworker.org/2004-2/513/513_04_Scapegoating.shtml
The Silenced Victims of 9/11:Part I http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/millennial-media/201109/the-silenced-victims-911-part-i
Anti-Islam Cartoons http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqPWB95iOGs