Islamophobia in Western media forms

May 16th, 2011

REEL BAD ARABS- How Hollywood vilifies a people.

More than 300 hundred movies nearly 25% of all Hollywood movies demean Arabs which contain bad slurs or make the Arab the core of a cheap joke

In films like The father of the bride 2 and Gladiator. and back to the future which use violent and demeaning portrayals of Arabs when the storylines have nothing to do with Arabs, they just use the Arab character as the stock villain.

The Arab woman has also been negatively viewed by Hollywood. The Arab women today is bright, intellegent, she’s someone who is exceeding in all professoions yet this reality is being denied by silver screens. The highly sexualized bellydancer has been with us since the begining of hollywood’s history inspired by early images of the orient, as a place of exoticism intrique and passion, But in recent years this images has dramatically changed, the arab women is now projected as a bomber or terrorist, added to this image in what Jack Shaheen calls bundles of black, veiled women in the backround in the shadows, submissive. It seems like the more arab women advance the more hollywood keeps them locked in the past.

politics and media, hollywood images are linked they reinforce one another.

“washington and hollywood spring from the same DNA”
The arab image began to change immediately after ww2 three things impacted the change, the palestinain israli conflict in which the us has unequivally supported israil, The oil embargo in the 70s which angered americans when gas prices went through the ceiling, and the iranian revolution which increased tensions between American and Arabs.

Moderate Muslims who are struggling to fight back against the negative media surrounding islam cannot find a platform to speak out and defend their identity and peaceful normal American citizens because this type of news is called soft news and would not do as well in the ratings. Firoozeh Dumas is one of those people who are trying to show the real face of Muslims in America, she tells her story about being turned down for an interview on CNN because they choose to do a story on a person who wrote a book about suicide bombers instead.

Hitler and Mussolini who were both Christians killed and terrorized hundreds of thousands of people but we cannot blame their actions on their religious views, So why do we take the terrible acts of a few terrorists and blame Islam for it? Islam is a beautiful and peaceful religion, there will be black sheeps in every community, that is just how it is, So why are Muslims around the world being depicted as terrorist and why is the religion of Islam being attacked for the misundertandings of others?

Sleeper cell : debate against Imam enlighting a terrorist who has been misguided in thinking what the true meaning of Jihad was. Imam discusses the true message of Islam.

Islam on Sleeper Cell 2: Imam challenges a terrorist to a debate with him if the Quran really encourages terrorism

News media

We all suffered on 9/11, my fellow americans suffered, there were muslim americans who were in the world trade center on 9/11 we share in that horror of what happen in our country, so for someone to tell muslim americans that we dont belong in this group who suffered on 9/11 that i believe to the other camp means that those people are ignorant and they are throwing in the towel against al-queda.

Annotated Bibliography

April 12th, 2011

Topic Statement: Islamophobia in the media.  Focuses on how Muslims are represented negatively on television, film, and news media.

Annotated Bibliography:


Nacos, Brigitte Lebens., and Oscar Torres-Reyna. Fueling Our Fears: Stereotyping, Media Coverage, and Public Opinion of Muslim Americans. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Print.

This well-researched book explores how Muslims in America are irresponsibly linked to terrorism and focuses on the negative implications. At the same time, the authors do not leave out the opinion of Muslim Americans, exploring their views about the American media and its influence, their attitudes toward non-Muslim Americans and, just as important, their opinions on post 9/11 U.S. counterterrorist policies and practices.

Said, Edward W. Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. New York: Pantheon, 1981. Print

Edward Said looks at how American popular media has used and perpetuated a narrow and unfavorable image of Islamic peoples. Also looks at how this has prevented understanding between the two cultures while providing a fictitious common enemy for the diverse American populace. Said refers to the media’s ability to control and filter information as an ‘invisible screen’, releasing what it wants people to know and blacking out what it does not want them to know. In the age of information, Said argues, it is the media that interprets and filters information—and Said claims that the media has determined very selectively what Westerners should and should not know about Islam and the Muslim world. Islam is portrayed as oppressive.

Hamdon, Evelyn Leslie. Islamophobia and the Question of Muslim Identity: the Politics of Difference and Solidarity. Black Point, N.S.: Fernwood Pub., 2010. Print.

A behind the scenes study on a Muslim community in Canada. The Muslim culture is inspected through this community.  Misunderstandings between Canadians and Muslims and among Muslims themselves are questioned and answered.

Karim, K. H. (2003). Islamic Peril: Media and global violence. Montreal: Black Rose Books.

The theoretical discussions in Chapters 1& 2 on the ways in which violence is represented in the news media, and particularly when violence is associated with Muslims — these discussions raise some very fascinating intellectual questions about the structural roots that lie behind the reductive (stereotypical)reporting of Islam and the Muslim world.

Journal Articals

Hussain, Amir. “(Re)presenting: Muslims on North American television”. Contemporary Islam.  Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010.

This article describes and analyzes the portrayal of Muslims on several North American television shows. Greatest detail is given to the two seasons of Sleeper Cell, the first show on American television created to deal with Muslim lives post 9/11. I deal briefly with Muslim characters on Oz for a look at portrayals of Muslim life pre 9/11. I also mention Muslim characters in Lost and 24 as well as some films to add further insights to my argument. These television dramas are compared with two comedies, Aliens in America as well as Little Mosque on the Prairie, the first Canadian television show to examine Muslim lives. The conclusion is that in dramas, Muslims are not recognized on American television as citizens of their own country, but instead are portrayed as dangerous immigrants with a religion that is both alien and wicked. Moreover, the religion as it is lived out on the television drama is one of violence—there seems to be no other substantive practice that embodies Islamic faith. The case is very different with regard to the television comedy.

Cemil Aydin, Juliane Hammer. “Muslims and media: perceptions, participation, and change”. Contemporary Islam. Springer Netherlands. 2009.

Addresses the ways in which Muslim are portrayed or misrepresented in the media. Also discusses Muslim participation in public and independent media production. Takes on the issue of self representation and speaking through the media. How Muslim public intellectuals take on the role of shaping and challenging public perceptions, political agendas of media outlets.

Ramji, Rubina. “Muslims and the news media”. Contemporary Islam. 2008. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008
How Muslims are represented in news media. A comprehensive collection of articles by academics and those in the field of journalism which investigates the content of these media representations and the process of communication and production of news.

Amir Hussain. “The Fire Next Time”: Sleeper Cell and Muslims on the Television Post 9/11. Small Screen Big Picture: Television and lived Religion. Ed. Diane Winston.

A look at how Muslims are characterized in American television.  In depth look on the series Sleeper Cell and how this show has different representations of Muslim characters.

Varisco, Daniel. “Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy.” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 28.1 (2008): 163-64. Print.

This essay is a historical summary of symbols used to depict Islam and Muslims, primarily in political cartoons.

Giroux, H. (1995). Animating youth: the disnification of children’s culture. Retrieved March

21, 2006 from

Maio, K. (1999) Women, race & culture in disney’s movies. Retrieved March 28, 2006 from

Chapter 5: Belief

February 15th, 2011

The idea of belief is predominantly a Christian term. Belief is a very important factor and necessity to religion. However, according to Nye, applying the term belief to Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist traditions is problematic because there is no exact translation to the word belief in their languages.

For example Muslims belief in Allah may be better described as knowledge rather than belief because a defining element of being a Muslim is to make a statement of faith known as the Shahadeh, which states “I testify that there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet”. Belief is an ambiguous term and an alternative word like knowledge can also be used.

Nevertheless an important criterion used by Europeans to determine the presence or absence of religion was the concept of belief. The means of understanding a religion, the differences between religions, and determining if a group actually had a religion or not was largely a matter of looking at what sort of beliefs that the other group had.

When conquering India, Europeans thought Hindus were a very diverse group of people since they had elaborate ideas of what their gods were and had a systemized set of religious beliefs, in contrast Australian and African groups were perceived as primitive and backward because of the absence of any clear beliefs or doctrines in God.  The Europeans maintained that the civilized thing to do was to convert them to a true faith in Christian traditions.

Video Example Savages – Pocahontas

Other info:

Reductionism argues that the objects of beliefs (deities, superhuman entities) are nothing more than human constructions that can be reduced to basics of human life. Mankind involuntarily creates God in his own image.

Non reductionist view states that the idea of the real as a matter of faith exists because it is believed in an experienced.

There are cognitive approaches to religion and belief. These theories of religiosity are based on 2 types of memory formation.  The imagistic mode works by intense traumatic experiences such as circumcision. The other is the Doctrinal mode which works by repetition and routine diffusion of knowledge and belief.

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February 14th, 2011

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