Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Muslim Stereotypes in the Media

            Recently an Islamic organization uses San Francisco’s Muni buses to educate people about the Islamic religion. The organization has been posting advertisements outside of the buses that has a phrases like “why Islam” with a phone number below. The ads will appear on approximately 170 Muni buses and 10 cable cars (“Bus ads aim to shatter Muslim stereotypes). The goal of this is to help non-Muslims learn more about the religion and culture in hopes to remove the negative stereotypes.
            Muslim’s have been labeled and defined as terrorists, fundamentalists, fanatics and people that hate America. This has become the stereotype for Muslims because the media misrepresents their culture. In Hollywood films, Muslims are never just ordinary people. They are seen as terrorists that want to destroy America and ever since 9/11 people have associated the Muslim group to any terrorists acts. The reason they do this is first its entertainment and brings in profit but because most image-makers do not have the religious background or cultural background to understand Islam. 

            National media is guilty of this as foxnews.com published an article stating, “Muslim terrorist tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner packed with 300 people just moments before landing” (Mangalji). The Islamic faith is being portrayed through in mainstream media, as the terroristic acts are committed in the name of Islam. This is not true but that is not what the media is telling American’s to believe. The word Islam comes from the Arabic concept of “salaam,” or peace (Mangalji). However, America is giving a distorted view of the culture and are not educated enough about the culture so, we believe what the media portrays.

             It is important for American’s to be educated because of the culture-centered theory. Before making assumptions about a culture, one must explore and become educated. It is important to be respectful of other cultures and make sure one fully understands the culture before making claims that could be offensive. Media does not do this and make a mockery out of the Islamic culture.
            Americans don’t realize that the Middle East is one of the most misunderstood, misperceived, and stereotyped regions of the world. This is because we are not educated enough to understand their culture. So, in my opinion putting the ads on the bus is a great idea and will help non-Muslims understand more about the religion.

"Bus aim to shatter Muslim Stereotypes." San Francisco News, ABC7.com. 19 Feb. 2009. Web. 
Mangalji, Shamsa. "National media distorts image of Muslims."The Rice Thresher. 29 Jan. 2010. Web.

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