Religion & Politics: USF Fall 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Media & Muslims

After reflecting on our course discussions and material on Islamic faith I searched for an article that pertained to Muslims and their treatment in America. I found two disturbing articles about the prejudice and unfair treatment of Muslims currently going on in the United States. So many Muslims are treated unfairly in the United States due to post 9-11 resentment and one sided media reports. The first article I came across was titled “Officials of Airport Consider Response to Clash over Prayer” (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/02/us/02minnesota.html?_r=1&oref=slogin).
This article discussed the prejudice treatment of Muslims at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Apparently six Muslim clerics from a US Airways flight were removed after passengers expressed concern. The concern was voiced because of the Muslims repeated praying during the day. I believe this incident would not have occurred if there wasn’t still a great deal of anti-Muslim feelings in the country. The second article I came across was called “In U.S., Fear and Distrust of Muslims runs deep” (http://pewforum.org/news/display.php?NewsID=12045). This article discusses the still large resentment and distrust that many Americans feel against American born and foreign Muslims. In the article Jerry Klein, a radio host in Washington, suggested that all Muslims in the United States should be identified with a crescent-shape tattoo or a distinctive arm band.
Almost immediately after he made these comments the telephone lines were completely jammed. Many listeners called in and agreed with these horrible remarks. He soon came to confess that he was appalled that so many people agreed with his comments as they were a hoax. But he was still very surprised with some of the comments. The other part of the article discussed a Gallup poll this summer of more than 1,000 Americans which showed that 39 percent were in favor of requiring Muslims in the United States, including American citizens, to carry special identification. About a quarter of those polled said they would not want to live next door to a Muslim and a third thought that Muslims in the United States sympathized with al Qaeda, the extremist group behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. A poll carried out by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group, found that for one in three Americans, the word Islam triggers negative connotations such as "war," "hatred" and "terrorist." I strongly believe that constant bias media cover of the war in Iraq has made a huge contribution to these perceptions. I believe that the strong presence of hatred towards Muslims is partly due to the media and depictions of Muslims and terrorist on the news. I feel many Americans are misinformed about the Islamic religion itself and don’t understand. Religion in the United States is Pluralistic and should be better respected.

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