Islamophobia in Mainstream media

How have mainstream media and pop culture made it easier for Islamophobia to rear its ugly head now more than ever? What can we do to change this script and support our Muslim and Arab brothers and sisters?

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what's the what?

Islamophobia is at an all time high as of late, so much so that it is often even used as a platform by some of our politicians to gain support. In the face of one of humanity’s greatest tragedies, the Syrian civil war and the rise ISIL, it is baffling that at best, we are desensitized to these atrocities and at worst, actively adding fuel to the fire by sharing hate-speech on social media sites to even physically threatening or harming our Arab and Muslim Americans. But how has it become this severe? Islamophobia is even more rampant today than it was after 9/11. On either end of the spectrum, indifference or racism, there must be deep-rooted, highly influential perceptions to which we have been exposed that have made it easier for islamophobia to rear its ugly head. In our opinion, we’re looking at you, mainstream media.

 

a culture of fear

Unfortunately, as millennials, most of our upbringing includes representations in our media and pop culture of Arabs and Muslims meant to incite fear. Starting from our childhood with examples like, Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves to even Looney Tunes. Most of these depictions include violent men holding swords causing harm to the innocent protagonist. See for yourself:

 
 

From after 9/11 to present day with the current presidential election, the headlines we have grown up with have only perpetuated these stereotypes and fear towards these communities. 

 

Most problematic, there have been an overwhelming amount of examples directly associating Islam with terrorism. We see this in movies where a hijacker or martyr prays or proclaims “allahu akbar” (simply, in english: God is great) before inflicting harm on innocent civilians.  This constant juxtaposition of Islamic practices with suicide bombers and indiscriminate killing suggests that terrorism and Islam go hand in hand. By the media demonizing Muslims and Arabs, it comes as no surprise that one would be afraid of these communities.

 

a history of fear

Our nation has a long history of fear towards communities and  "-isms": The Soviet Union, communism, socialism, the Japanese, and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on...

And for every chapter of fear, like good ol' Faithful, media propaganda was there to incite it.

enough is enough

The point we’re trying to make here is that you don’t have to succumb to the fearful narratives that have bombarded your televisions and news feeds. We don’t have to let this be another chapter. If nothing else, the next time you see something that claims to represent Islam or the Middle East, ask yourself who created this piece of media, is it meant to make you feel afraid and if so, do you think it’s an accurate representation of this community?