In recent years, Islam and the people that prescribe to it have come under media scrutiny. This is because terrorism in the late 20th and early 21st century has become synonymous with Islam. This is not because other people from other religions are not perpetrating horrific attacks. Rather, there has been a spotlight shone on Muslims and Islam. Additionally, the attention that has been afforded Muslims is not without bias. There has been no separation between Islam and the act of terrorism. Additionally, there has been no separation between Arabs and Muslims. Calling all Arabs Muslim is like calling all Caucasians Christian. With the crisis in Syria, the scourge that is Isis and the United States Presidential Race all clashing, what has occurred is a perfect storm for the discrimination and alienation of Arabs and all people that prescribe to the Muslim religion. The one thing that unifies all these things, which is the common thread between all three is the media. Ultimately, the anti-Muslim sentiments have been used in conjunction with politics of fear and fuelled by media misrepresentation culminating in the current situation.
The aim of this paper is to explore how mainstream media representation of Muslims, Islam and Islamic Terrorism as played a key role in the discrimination and persecution of Muslims worldwide.
To better understand the role the media has played it would be best to look at one event in which information has been misrepresented. For the sake of this paper, the Syrian crisis and the refugee emergency that has occurred in its wake is what shall be scrutinized. The war is Syria has waged for over five years now. Whereas the other countries that were also part of the Arab Spring, like Libya and Egypt, have long stopped hostilities, the hostilities in Syria persist. Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan where the situation is marginally bearable, the situation in Syria has gotten to the point where people would rather risk death while fleeing than stay in their home country. Syria is bordered by Jordan and Lebanon to the South-West, Iraq to the South-East and Turkey to the North. Whereas Jordan and Turkey were initially able to handle the refugees that came in, it quickly became apparent that neither country could handle the capacity.
It is at this point that Europe became a prospective destination. Syrian refugees got into boats and braved the Mediterranean Sea in a bid to get into Europe. However, the migration of refugees was grossly misrepresented in the media and has led to heightened anti-Islam sentiments in Europe and America. Whereas some countries like German have opened their borders and let the Syrians in others have closed theirs and warned them not to try even. In America, President Obama offered to take in some refugees who were turned into a talking point by the Republican Party. It is important to take a look at the figures presented in the mainstream media as pertains to the movement of these refugees and the actual figures as represented by humanitarian organizations. Things to be assessed would include the actual number of refugees in Europe for Syria, the number of Syrian Muslims connected to terrorism; the number of Syrians being allowed into the United States and numbers that the media says are being allowed into the United States. Finally, so as to get a perspective of the whole terrorist issue, it is important to assess how many acts of terrorism have been perpetrated on U.S soil and how many of them were committed by Muslims. In this way, the paper will be able to approve or disapprove the thesis.