In most cases, people tend to view other cultures on the basis of a personal prism as opposed to a worldview approach. The Islam way of life is one of the areas that is covered using Western lenses and often misleads the audience through stereotypes and discrimination on Muslims (Morgan, 2016). The trend can be termed as Islamophobia, that is, the treatment of Muslim people with mistrust and associating them with negative elements. Scholars argue that Islamophobia is influenced by implicit bias, historical events, and cultural factors. The failure to have a realistic understanding of Islam has pitted Muslims against other individuals (Kaplan, 2006, 250. Nonetheless, the application of prejudice theories can help to shed more light on Islamophobia, its causes, and the impacts it has on the concerned parties.
Literature, cinema, and television programs are important platforms which help people to receive knowledge, develop ideas, and have a better understanding of the world. It is worth noting that past studies infer that media has a significant influence on the spread of Islamophobia. The proliferation of Islamophobia is said to result from the existing gap between the West and Muslims (Beydoun, 2016). An example is the fact that Muslim individuals in Western countries are often perceived as being a threat to security. It creates the impression that Muslims are not welcomed in Europe.
Nonetheless, this treatment has no foundation. Often, some Islamic teachings are radical and opposed to other religious groups. There is a widely held view that Islam is intolerable to other religions and supports global instability through terrorism.
The bombing of the World Trade Center and other attacks on European embassies did escalate the Islamophobia wave. In the USA, the war on terror impacted on the definition of Muslim individuals as they were treated as suspects (Ahmed, 2018). It is under the banner of the war on terror that media outlets began portraying Muslims as being a source of the threat. The campaign painted Islam as being an enemy of the USA and other European countries. In many European countries, Muslims are considered to be the most recognisable individuals due to the wearing of both abayah and jubbah. In males, the distinguished beards and clothing make it easy to locate them in publicsettings (Johnston, 2018, 170). In many media outlets, Muslims are presented as being fanatics and terrorists.
On the other hand, Islam is depicted as being religion that has a close association with terror activities and encourages its members to be aggressive other parties. Likewise, many Islamic garments such as Niqab are treated with suspicion and are often considered to harbour weapons(Cherkaoui, 2016). The spread of Islamophobia has increased the chances of violating the rights of Muslims. Nonetheless, the treatment of such groups can better be understood through the application of varying prejudice theories. They form the basis of understanding the preconceptions among many people and factors that propel negative stereotypes.
In his theory of personality, Rogers strives to explain factors that enable people to separate truth from fiction. Rogers infers that a human being is the locus of different experiences which may either be unconscious or conscious (Livesley, 2018). The theory asserts that the concept of incongruence can be used as the basis of separating reality and self-concept. Incongruence is evident when content in the media does not wholly reflect real-life settings (Nilforooshan, 2016, 8). The more people permit other sources to influence their ideologies and beliefs, the more they are likely to become less genuine or authentic. There is the view that many of the media cast negatively influence on the ideologies or beliefs that people have towards Muslims.
Rogers’s theory notes that all human beings have an actualising tendency. It also defines all people as being good and upright in nature. Additionally, all human beings are painted as having the predisposition to improve their innate goods (Veraand Turistiati, 2017). Nonetheless, the self-actualisation process is influenced by both psychological and biological factors (Weiner, 2017). The personality theory mainly focuses on psychological factors that are primarily affected by media outlets. An upright or health person is thus in a position to present his mind correctly. However, thisis not the case in many Europeansocieties as mostindividuals are seen as beingaffected by impactbias (Flynn, 2018). The relationshipbetween the West and Muslim communities can thus be defined as being influenced by different media casts.
Other than portrayingMuslims as being fanatics, it is worth noting that many media outletscreate the view that Muslims have a close association with terror groups (Müller et al. 2016, 120). The theory explainsthat individual personalities have significant impacts on the relationship among society members (Helbling et al. 2018. 14). The theory can be applied in the case of Muslimindividualsand the discrimination they face in the USA. They are influenced by the widely held views that tend to paint the group as being violent (Rassool, 2016). Likewise, there is an increased tendency to follow the content that isportrayed in the media. The argument rests on the fact that such details are often seen as being a representation of the truth (Chao, 2015, 70). However, such a stand is misleading and subjects the affected group to increased levels of suffering and other complications.
The cultural theory infers that there is often the risk of evaluating other cultures on the basis of one’straditional values. Such a trend is termed as cultural relativism and often derailssmooth interactionsamongsociety members (Straub et al. 2002, 20). In a setting where the world increasingly becomes diverse, there is the need to ensure that there is upholding and respectingvalues of other groups. However, this is not the case in manyEuropeancountries as the way Muslims arehandledindicates that there is implicit bias (Kim, 2017, 8). An example isa fact that Muslims are portrayed as being fanatics, disillusioned, and violent. While this may be true for some militiagroups in the MiddleEast, it is wrong to judge all Muslims on the basis of such acts.
On the contrary, there is a need to understand and uphold the cultural values of the group. In the case of associating women veils with crime, it shows that there is a failure to understand the cultural meaning of veils to the group (Berkemeyer et al. 2016, 95). It further indicates that there is a tendency to ensure that Muslims assimilate the Western way of life. In a typical setting, it is expected that there would be upholding of values of all groups as well as respecting their diversity (Sayyid, 2018, 430). The increased levels of Islamophobia are a violation of the rights of the group and have in the past subjected many people to mental complications.
The effects theory isideal in exploring impacts that media has on the relation ofsocietymembers (Mashuri, 2019). The media is painted as being apowerful tool that has the effect of shaping relationships among society members and ideologies that are held by people (Leahy&Sweller, 2016, 115). In the case ofEuropean media outlets, they have had the effect of shaping the attitudes and beliefs of the audience towards the Muslim community. Manyscholars are of the idea that there is demonisation of Muslimindividuals in the West. The media associates the veil and other practices of the group to violence (Atkinson et al. 2017, 230). The onset of this trend can be linked to the bombing of the World Trade Center. Jackson(2018) infers that most of the presentations by the mediaoutlets are stereotyped and do not reflect the society.
In a nutshell, it is evident that media has greatly influenced ideologies held about the Muslim community in European countries. Since the bombing of the World Trade Center and other series of attacks, Muslims are mostly associated with terrorism and other criminal activities (Hassan, 2017). While there are many extremist and militia groups in the Middle East, it is misleading to term all Muslimindividuals as criminals. The effect theory infers that media is a powerful tool that has the ability to shape values and beliefs that are held by community members. Rather than using cultural relativism, there is a need to uphold the diversity of different cultural groups.
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