Islam Essay, Research Paper
Islam is portrayed and is commonly accepted as the most violent and largest direct threat to the West. This is a generalization made by most of the West, but it is not particularly the West or the Islamic people?s fault. There is constant turmoil in Islamic countries in the Middle East and these conflicts are what make the news in the West. The only representation in the media that the Islamic nation gets is that of war. Though most Islamic people are not violent, the select few that do participate in terrorist groups give the rest of the Islam nation a bad image.
The news today has to do with what people want to hear, not particularly what is worth while or even accurate. In the Daily Telegraph?s (English newspaper) foreign news page there is a story of an outbreak of violence by political protests in the Middle East. Patrick Bishop, the senior editor on Middle Eastern affairs, writes: “Western leaders are becoming increasingly concerned by the threat to democracy posed by the growth of Islamic fundamentalists extremism.” Other headlines from random British newspapers convey the same message: “Italy on security alert after Islam terror warning; Clinton to lead summit against Islamic terror; France fears protracted Islam terror campaign; Islamic fanatics gun down Briton in terror campaign” (Edward Mortimer). This is the message that the media is sending to all its readers and watchers about Islam. These headlines may have happened but if people continue to read these sort of messages day in and day out it makes them think that Islam is full of terrorists and murders out to end Western civilization. The press has presented Islam within a certain emotional frame, and it has made the violence in the Middle East seem like the main interaction between the West and Middle East.
Ever since the bombing of the World Trade Center on February 1993 the United States of America has stepped up its commitment to stopping terrorism. The general public after the bombing also took a new view on Islam, a negative one. The February 7 arrest of Ramzi Yousef made the world open its eyes to Islamic terrorists. The FBI is even involved in terrorist investigations and it does not help the image of the Islamic people that most wanted man by the United States of America is Usama Bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian. He is the leader of the terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda, which is one of the most active terrorist groups. His central issue is the United States presence in the Arabian Peninsula and the military presence in his former homeland Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden made a declaration in February 1999 in the name of his “International Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders.” He stated that “to kill Americans and their allies, both civil and military, is an individual duty of every Muslim who is able, in any country where this is possible.” These kinds of statements are immediately taken by the Western media and given to the public. The public of course reacts with anger and creates a bias against Islam, believing that they are all out to murder Americans.
Today movies are not only a huge entertainment attraction but they also influence the public with their views even if not done intentionally. The movie “True Lies” is about a secret agent trying to stop a terrorist group from detonating nuclear bombs. The terrorist group happens to be of Islamic origin. They say that they are fulfilling their duty of the Quran by eliminating the United States involvement in their home country. The Islamic terrorist group calls themselves the “Crimson Jihad.” Most scenes of the movies depict the Islamic terrorist group as raveling lunatics claiming that with the explosion of the nuclear bombs the Crimson Jihad will come raining down on the United States. Even though this is just a movie, the scenes will stick in people?s minds and when approached by anything Islamic they will make the connection between that and the movie.
The United States government also has something to do with the portrayal of the nation of Islam. For example, CNN aired a tape that was supposedly smuggled out of Albania, showing a Serbian massacre of Albanian civilians. FAIR (a respected nonprofit watchdog of the media, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) reported that the tape was not proven legitimate and that the company that gave the tape to CNN was working for Kosovo Albanians. Later journalists visited the spot of the alleged massacre and revealed that the victims were exactly victims of NATO shootings. FAIR reported other mistakes in other newspapers such as in the Washington Post, which reported that Saddam Hussein, expelled the United Nations inspectors from Iraq. The truth however is that Richard Butler, the head of the United Nations weapons inspection team in Iraq, withdrew his inspectors from Iraq for safety concerns after Clinton stated that he would launch air strikes because Saddam did not allow the inspection team to enter certain sites. FAIR has reported many other reports of this nature. This loose reporting sends the United States? public the wrong signals and is giving the public a bias. The reason news agencies would do this is that it makes better news and it makes the United States look like it is doing the right thing and a good job at that.
In the end, Western views of the Islamic nation will not change, they will continue to be negative. The news, television, and movies have ingrained the concept of the evil Islamic Empire that is out to murder Americans. Though there are Islamic terrorist groups that bring much violence to others, most Islamic people live peacefully and follow the way of the Quran.