Islamophobia in Western Media - by Stephen Lendman
Post-9/11, Western media, especially in America and Britain, describe Muslims as fundamentalists, extremists, terrorists, and fanatics. Throughout the West, Islam is identified with violence, when, in fact it has common roots with Christianity and Judaism. Their tenets are based on love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not exploitation; and a just, fair society for people of all faiths. You'd never know it from Islamophobic media reports.
The Runnymede Trust identifies eight components, characterizing Islam as:
-- monolithic, static, and unresponsive to change;
-- having differing values from other cultures and religions;
-- being inferior to Western societies;
-- barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist, violent, aggressive, threatening, supporting terrorism, and clashing with Western civilization;
-- an ideology used for political or military advantage;
-- irrationally criticizing Western values;
-- warranting discriminatory practices that exclude Muslims from mainstream society; and
-- believing anti-Muslim hostility is natural and normal.
A 2004 UK Commission on Muslims and Islamophobia report titled, "Islamophobia: issues, challenges and action," said 1.6 million British Muslims live "on a diet of death, hypocrisy and neglect that is traumatizing and radicalizing an entire generation. What does the future hold" it asks? How can secular Britain accommodate religious Muslims? What's been done to counter Islamophobia's debilitating effects? Why has official action been absent? "Why is the antiracist movement so reluctant to address prejudice, hate and discrimination based on religion?" Is Western Islamophobia institutionalized, and at what cost?
Its societies are led by white, mainly Christian, middle and upper class men. They're responsible for serving all their citizens. However, non-Muslim white people institutionalize Islamophobia, instead of denouncing and expunging it.
It's a new term for an old fear since eighth century Europe. Key since the 1960s is the presence of 15 million Western European Muslims, millions more in America. Resource wars is another factor, mainly for oil and gas. Others include misperceptions of Islam, wrongly associating it with violence and terror, as well as exploiting this notion for political advantage. Supportive media reports then stoke fear and hostility, portraying Muslims stereotypically as dangerous and threatening.
In America, noted academicians like Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington promote a clash of civilization thesis, Huntington saying the West's underlying problem "is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power."