Look beyond the stereotype

2016-12-07 06:01

IN current affairs programmes we are constantly offered the image of Muslims as savage terrorists, killing innocent people with no remorse. No insight is given as to why some Muslim organisations carry out acts of violence.

What results from this is that the common people, the viewers of these programmes, recognise and accept only the labels, and therefore with Islam they associate negative images.

Being a Muslim woman, this is the misrepresentation that hurts me the most. With no insight into Islam, journalists and writers condemn the religion’s attitude to women. The Western media mainly present Muslim women in three ways - as passive women, as victims and as veiled women.

We are portrayed as being weak and submissive to a religion that seeks to oppress and dominate. The media fails to show that Muslim women are not only housewives, mothers and Muslims as portrayed by the media, but also students, researchers, entrepreneurs, domestic workers, artists, politicians, volunteers, activists, etc.

There is common agreement among Muslims that media reports involving them are selective, biased, and stereotypical.

If you want to know how many times Muslims condemn violence, just Google “Muslims against terrorism” or “Muslims condemning Isis” or any similar words and you will be amazed by the thousands of Muslim institutions, scholars and governments that are condemning and fighting terrorism while assuring everyone that this does not have anything to do with the peaceful message of Islam.

The majority of Muslims are peaceful people who have been affected by terrorism and violence more than non-Muslims. But the media are not interested in this positive news. They have created their own stereotype of a Muslim and use selective stories to reinforce this stereotype. We need to dig deep and get past the media’s misrepresentation of Islam and gain an accurate understanding for ourselves.

NURAIN SALOT

Mountain Rise

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