Over the recent months anti-Muslim acts have been on the rise in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Countless mosque/Islamic Center vandalisms, attacks, and beatings on mosque goers have occurred throughout the Fall of 2016. Different accounts of these occurrences are shared with the world via the internet, television, and newspapers; each with their own versions of the story. These stories are each skewed in their own way based on the reasons behind the anti-Muslim acts.Media bias is the biggest factor in the decline of respect towards those who practice the religion of Islam.
In the weeks and months following the Orlando nightclub shooting, the police force of the Fort Pierce, Florida area found themselves at the mosque, where Omar Mateen, was known to have prayed many times. In one incident, a man who was leaving the mosque after 4am prayer and was beaten. CBS News covered this incident and in their article they mentioned Omar Mateen three times and what he his infamously known for, the Orlando nightclub shooting, twice (1). Mentioning Mateen and what he did multiple times directly adds to the growing problem this mosque is facing, Islamophobia. The article need not mention Mateen at all, or at least not more than once, for the story was on a victim beaten outside the mosque and not Mateen himself (1). Despite the authors seemingly unvoiced opinion for either side of the situation, they mention Mateen so people can connect to why the story is significant. The Orlando nightclub shooting made world wide news, thus a story about the mosque from the area the shooter was from would draw more attention than the other stories mentioned. Another incident that occurred at this mosque was arson. These two articles throughly covered this mosque attack 2 and 3. The first article (2) was quite emotionally invoking and full of fluff. The author mentioned not only Mateen’s connection to the mosque but also Moner Mohammad Abusalha’s connection to the mosque (2), evoking senses of sadness, anger, and questioning to the legitimacy of the mosque and it’s leaders. The other article (3) although throwing in some other anti-Muslim acts that have occurred recently, focuses on the arson mosque attack in Fort Pierce on the anniversary of 9/11. This author’s frequent mentioning of 9/11 is to bring about, in the readers, emotions of sadness and anger with the memory of those attacks from fifteen years ago (3). The author is biased in their writing of this article due to their own strong feelings towards 9/11 and the Orlando nightclub shooting. A third article covering the arson at the mosque Omar Mateen was known to visit was from NBC Miami. This article, like the other two mention Omar Mateen about as much as they do the assailant (4). Just like the others this article also mentions 9/11 and briefly details how the man committed the arson.
Some recent mosque attacks occurred outside the United States. The coverage on these stories are not as in depth or biased as the anti-Muslim attacks that occur inside the U.S. In Kabul, Afghanistan a mosque was attacked back in September. It was a suicide bomber during prayer but the number of killed and injured persons is not widely agreed in the articles. One article set the death total at around 30 or so people and the injured at around 80 (5), while another says between 27 and 32 were killed while 50 or so were injured (6). Both of these articles describe in detail the scene after the bomb went off and are very unbiased in their writings of the incident. The stories written by Americans of mosque attacks like the one in Kabul tend to be more unbiased than the stories written by Americans of mosque attacks that occur in the United States. Being from an entire different country than where the incident took places helps the author not be able to bring their own feelings as much into the story.
Another mosque attack that occurred outside the United States in recent months was the mosque and center attack in Dresden, Germany. A short snippet article on CNN (7) played out the details of the attacks and the significance of the timing of said attacks. There was no fluff, no emotion, it was just meant to inform and get down to the bones of the story. An article on Aljazeera (8), unlike the CNN article, not only informed the reader on what happened but the background of tensions in that region. Although the article did show what group they suspected was behind the attacks because of their own bias towards the group, it was very well written reasoning and backed by actual events that had happened in the past (8).
In New York in the past couple months there have been, as some would claim, anti-Muslim attacks on individuals in the New York City area. In Brooklyn, New York two Muslim teen boys were beaten by an older man outside a mosque (9). From the title of the article, Man surrenders to cops after alleged attack on Muslim teens near mosque, it is quite clear that there is some skepticism on what happened for the incident to have occurred. As the reader goes through the short article it becomes clear that, although some wish it to be true, it is not so much a hate crime but just an angry man being overprotective of his girlfriend (9). Another incident that recently occurred in the New York City area was in Queens, New York where an imam and his assistant were shot dead (10). The article title, Queens imam and his assistant executed in broad daylight, invokes a more gruesome and violent tale than what actually happened. The author makes it appear as though the imam and his assistant were killed on the spot by getting their heads removed. In reality they were walking home from their mosque when they were shot in the backs of the heads and left dying on the sidewalk (10). The author only shared the information they felt necessary to share and they did not let it go unnoticed that they felt it was a hate-crime, despite there being no proof of a motive (10).
Anti-Muslim acts of violence and hate have been and will continue to be a problem and the media is a big reason for it. As long as the media is such a glaring presence in our every day lives. If the media is done away with, maybe these acts will not be so quickly and widely spread, causing attention seekers to go on notices. It is nearly impossible to be completely unbiased while a writing a story, but by sharing certain sides of religions and what is being done to those who practice said religions will not help any situation.
“Afghanistan Kabul Mosque Suicide Attack Kills Dozens.” BBC News. N.p., 21 Nov. 2016.
Ansari, Azadeh. “Mosque Attacks Rising; Civil Rights Group Cites Islamophobia.” CNN. Cable News Network, 13 Sept. 2016.
“Attacks Underscore Fears That Anti-Muslim Violence on the Rise.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 3 July 2016.
Hauser, Christine, and Alan Blinder. “Arson Suspected at Mosque That Orlando Nightclub Gunman Attended.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 Sept. 2016.
Jazeera, Al. “Germany: Dresden Mosque Bombed in ‘xenophobic’ Attack.” News from Al Jazeera. N.p., 27 Sept. 2016.
McGibney, Megan et al. “Queens Imam and His Assistant Executed in Broad Daylight.” New York Post. N.p., 13 Aug. 2016.
McKirdy, Evan. “Two Bomb Attacks Take Place in Dresden, Germany.” CNN. Cable News Network, 27 Sept. 2016.
“No Bond For Man Arrested in Arson Attack at Fort Pierce Mosque.” NBC 6 South Florida. N.p., 14 Sept. 2016.
Prendergast, Daniel. “Man Surrenders to Cops after Alleged Attack on Muslim Teens near Mosque.” New York Post. N.p., 06 July 2016.
Rasmussen, Sune Engel. “Isis Claims Responsibility for Kabul Mosque Suicide Bomb Blast.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 21 Nov. 2016.
By. Megan Caton