By: Devin Beck
A movement has been building around the western front of the world in the present 21st century. The Western world has been experiencing an Anti-Islam movement throughout this century. Since 9/11 many citizens of the United States and other western based countries have become more fearful of the religion of Islam. They are shown images of terrorist organizations and radical Islamist organizations that have scared some of the population into creating a deep fear and hatred towards the religion of Islam. Around 27% of Americans find Muslims favorable. Media has played a big role in creating this fear in the western world and I will analyze how Islam is portrayed in western media. I will also review how some of the media coverage encourages the Anti-Islam movement.
The video in the link above was taken from the Hannity show on Fox News. The video is titled Radical Islam in America: Is Islam truly a religion of peace? This title provokes the thoughts of the viewers before even watching the video. It connects the viewers to view if Islam is a violent religion and discuss the question internally based on the experience they have had with the religion. In the video Hannity has a panel of experts on to discuss the same question that appears in the title. Hannity brings up in the first part of the discussion different terrorist organizations that are based on the religion of Islam. He doesn’t discuss that there are other terrorist groups that are deeply enriched in different religions, just the fact that these groups base their belief system on radical Islam and the strict interpretation of the Koran. Hannity also brings up the question of if you read the Koran literally is it a religion of peace? I learned in our class that most Muslims don’t base how they live their life off of the Koran, they base how they live off of the Hadith. The Hadith is about Muhammad and how he lived his life, and Muslims try to follow his ways in their lives. I feel that since Hannity doesn’t bring this up in the discussion, he doesn’t want to bring up all the facts about Islam or he is uneducated about the religion.
Throughout the video it is clear that Hannity was taking a stance against Islam and not presenting the religion in a better light as he did with Christianity. This outcome provides viewers with a more biased outlook on the religion, because they are not getting all of the facts and are getting information through the perspective of someone who has taken a stance against Islam. This presents a challenge to many Americans, because they are faced with perceiving the religion in a certain way and only have media sources like this one to judge it on. It could become very dangerous in fueling an Anti-Islam movement that is gaining force due to the view of Islam in the west.
Real Time with Bill Maher: Islam throughout a violent religion?
In the next clip it shows the debate between Bill Maher and Ben Affleck on if the religion of Islam is a violent religion. Bill Maher is a known atheist and hold talking points on his show Real Time with Bill Maher about different topics and issues that arise in the political and religious arena. In this debate the certain issue of leaving the Islamic religion and being killed because of it arises. Most individuals around the world would categorize this behavior as an extremist point of view, but in the debate Bill holds it accountable to all Muslims. He says that a billion Muslims hold the view and belief that murder is correct when leaving the religion. This point makes it seem that all Muslims are terrorists that are bent on violence and killing all the non-believers. That is simply not fact and a very hard stance against the Muslim community. With Maher throwing out these words, it downgrades and hurts the religion of Islam and makes it look like a violent based religion in the eyes of Americans when in reality only the extremist hold these viewpoints.
I believe that the western world has created this Anti-Islam movement, because of lack of information and disinformation that media sources are putting out. Many read the Koran in English and assume that whatever they read is all truth, but technically it is not the Koran in English. The only true Koran is written in Arabic and when you translate that to another language some of those beliefs and information gets twisted in the process of translation. It comes down to how the media portrays different religions and how the viewer’s interpret that information. The only way to get around the problem is to educate ourselves on the various religions before making a judgment on them.
Author Unknown, “Radical Islam in America: Is Islam truly a religion of peace?”, Fox News, 10/13/14 http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/hannity/transcript/2014/10/13/radical-islam-america-islam-truly-religion-peace
Author Unknown, “Radical Islam”, Real Time, 10/6/14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vln9D81eO60
Taylor Wofford, “Islamophobia in America on the Rise, Poll Shows”, Newsweek, 7/31/14 http://www.newsweek.com/islamophobia-america-rise-poll-shows-262478