On Islam: Muslims and the Media

On Islam: Muslims and the Media

On Islam: Muslims and the Media

On Islam: Muslims and the Media

Synopsis

In the constant deluge of media coverage on Islam, Muslims are often portrayed as terrorists, refugees, radicals, or victims, depictions that erode human responses of concern, connection, or even a willingness to learn about Muslims. On Islam helps break this cycle with information and strategies to understand and report the modern Muslim experience. Journalists, activists, bloggers, and scholars offer insights into how Muslims are represented in the media today and offer tips for those covering Islam in the future. Interviews provide personal and often moving firsthand accounts of people confronting the challenges of modern life while maintaining their Muslim faith, and brief overviews provide a crash course on Muslim beliefs and practices. A concise and frank discussion of the Muslim experience, On Islam provides facts and perspective at a time when truth in journalism is more vital than ever.

Excerpt

Large swaths of the general public only encounter Islam and Muslims in news stories when something tragic or terrifying happens, such as the 2017 attacks in London and Istanbul and the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. the representation of Muslims in these stories often portrays them as radicalized, irrational, and uncontainable terrorists or depicts their suffering in a desensitized and inhumane way. While a story will occasionally be found in which Muslims are humanized or their faith contextualized, the typical narrative people find in news media is one that distances Islam and Muslims, decontextualizes the faith and its believers, misrepresents the religion as a security risk, and presents a community that is, quite simply, not us. This portrayal was shockingly exemplified in the 2015 story of Ahmed Mohamed, a Texas teenager who was disciplined by his school because he took parts of a digital clock to school. He was handcuffed and arrested by police and charged with taking a “hoax bomb” to school. It was suggested that Mohamed was disciplined and arrested because he was a Muslim and, therefore, suspect.

This is and always has been unacceptable, but the current onslaught of misrepresentations of Islam and Muslims is quite possibly more terrifying than the images in news media themselves. the perpetuation of such a framing is helping build impenetrable walls of indifference, dread, and fatigue . . .

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