Do we make our own religious war with the help of social media?

Posted on December 13, 2016 by


“I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what media portrays me to be,” said Abdul Razak Ali Artan’s also now identified as the culprit in one of the most recent cases of violence that has made mainstream media and caught many viewers eyes, which with many viewers comes many assumptions. As a minority and woman I myself have faced stereotypes, hate, and discrimination from many groups of people throughout my nineteen years of life. I’ve been angry and disappointed at what mainstream media connotated my ethnicity and gender with, but personally have never had the audacity to hurt anyone in order to prove my anger or to make a statement. I can only speak for myself though, everyone on this earth has their own agenda and there comes a time where we individually need to become accountable for our own actions. Some work, go to school, have families, and etc but at the end of the day we do it to make ourselves and the people we genuinely love happy and keep ourselves going. Some are raised with a more solid religious background and some aren’t, that’s just a fact that takes from our different upbringings and minds sets, but the important difference is that we can coexist without belittling or at least fearing each other in terms of life or death. “Artan was profiled in the school’s student-run newspaper “Humans of Ohio State” series in August. He had just transferred from Columbus State and said he was struggling to find a place to pray in peace on the large campus.”, I’m not arguing nor justify for sympathy on behalf of Artan but what I am trying to interpret is that he was a regular human being lost and misguided like many people we love and care about. As college students, I’m sure we all can relate to the uncomfortable stress we carry from class to class some days because we all have our own demons right? Well what if everyone that saw you, saw you as equal to a demon how would you feel? That’s how Artan felt. “If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But, I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re just going to have it, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. I was kind of scared right now.” are the words that Artin put together to explain his fear prior to the attack in Ohio. I interpret his words with sadness a hint of self hate. As I did my research I saw that Artin was one that was raised very deeply into his religion and that is where he found his safe place, it can be somewhat compared to how cholos choose to be in gangs, or why white supremacists followers choose to join the KKK. “The belongingness hypothesis states that people have a basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others, and that caring, affectionate bonds from close relationships are a major part of human behavior.” So as I do my research and find many reasons as to what could have been this one attackers motives, one thing that it all comes back to on mainstream media is his religion? Yes he found comfort and had his rants but in a way he was made that way, with what the media created following the 9/11 attack. I once had a teacher tell my class in the middle of a lecture in high school that before 9/11 happened his version of a terrorist was a white male, but afterwards a revolution happened with the faces of those held accountable for the tragedy of 9/11. A new terrorist image was created with the help of media, which are middle eastern features. Which has lead to assumptions. Mohamed Atta, Marwan al Shehhi, Hani Hanjour, Ziad Jarrah are some the names of the people who took part on the fatal day of September 11th, 2001. Their nationality were linked to Egypt, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. Yet actions of a very few can not speak for actions of a whole group of people, just like if a little kid with a red hat were to come kick you in the kneecap, does that mean all kids who wear red hats are going to come and kick you every time? No it does not, it depends on the upbringing, level of education, and state of mind to determine one’s actions not just their religion, gender, or ethnicity. Each of us has a biased world view because we are all limited to a single camera perspective which makes it easy for media to bring us to our unconscious biases by blaming other reasons like “religion” accountable for some individuals actions. Many components play in someone’s crazy actions, an example that is portrayed differently in the media is the Dylan Roof case. He is a white male American Citizen “who has been charged with the murder of nine people after a brutal church shooting spree Wednesday night in Charleston, South Carolina”. This incident was much more brutal which left people dead and he was even as sick to of been in contact with his victims an hour prior to his attack. Many news stories have different opinions on why he did what he did but when I search none have anything to do with his religion. There seems to be more opinions on his mental health and family upbringing like “He used drugs heavily a lot,” said a classmate “It was obviously harder than marijuana. He was like a pill popper, from what I understood. Like Xanax, and stuff like that.” are some ways people steer toward the true problem that is presented, this man is a murder and needs to take responsibility for his actions as any other person should and find his true personal root motives. Very few articles and news covers involve any of his religious view at all, the closest thing I could finds that discussed his religious views is an article of a close family member which was his step mother Paige Mann as she revealed that Dylann was raised in a religious family, was so smart he was bored in class and was a germophobe for while. Our unconscious biases that we seem to let control our judgement more with the help of social media is “perpetuated by conformity with ingroup attitudes and socialization by the culture at large, the fact that white culture is dominant in America may explain why people of color often do not show a strong bias favoring their own ethnic group” . Many people are easily building their own narrative with religion, they don’t address the bigger picture of the person held responsible beyond their personal religious beliefs. So why does someone’s religion matter so much to other people in mainstream media? “Propagandists such as FOX have tried to make terrorism out to be an Islamic phenomenon, with the message behind their Islamophobia being that Islam is violent, and Christianity is peaceful.” which is an argument less American citizens need to consider because in all there is more that comes to play than religion. It’s the over all person and it’s our role as American citizens who consume the information to decide how we accept it, so instead of hate and segregation towards some ideological differences, we can try better at making sense of the bigger picture of one’s actual actions and true personal motives instead.


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