People believe in the media. It is considered a way to obtain A"truthful" information, unbiased, and unprejudiced. The media shapes political, social, and even moral viewpoints. So, it is unfortunate that the media is often very unfair in presenting different religions and different cultures, especially those in the Middle East.
Have you ever heard the terms, "Arab Terrorist," "Islam vs. The West," or the ever-popular "Islamic Fundamentalists?" I bet you can find many more examples of this in the media.
Let's clear up some of the misconceptions that the media often instills in many people about Muslims and/or Arabs. Often, the media classifies terrorists as Muslims before it even mentions the crimes committed. This was made obvious in the World Trade Center bombing in New York. I think I heard the names "Muslim," "Arab," "Islamic Fundamentalists" and "Arab Terrorist" more than I heard the word "crime" mentioned.
During the Oklahoma City bombing, the media reported (from reliable sources) that the bombing was most likely committed by Muslim or Arab Fundamentalists even before preliminary investigations were completed. This caused much prejudice in this country. Many mosques (Islamic places of worship) were destroyed and many Arabs were threatened. Later it was discovered that the perpetrators weren't Muslims (or from the Middle East), but were part of an American organization. What does being Muslim or Arab have to do with committing heinous crimes? Why does the media make it seem that Arabs or Muslims have a connection to crime or injustice? In fact, most of the one billion Muslims worldwide are not even Arabs, which is another point the media fails to make clear. Is this proper journalism?
In addition, the term "fundamentalist" is used incorrectly. A religious fundamentalist is one who believes in the fundamental, orthodox principles of religion. So why are people who are crazy enough to commit heinous crimes such as bombings or killings considered religious fundamentalists, when they are actually doing the opposite of what religion guides them to do? Labeling killers or terrorists as religious fundamentalists implies that their very religion engenders violent hate and injustice. This is untrue.
As a Muslim, a follower of Islam, and a human being, I feel disheartened that the media does such a poor job providing unbiased news. ?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.