Tyrrell, Emmett. "What Islamophobia? | The American Spectator". Spectator.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 July 2016.
After the Brussels Airport and Metro attacks on 22 March 2016, the USA Today carried the headline Islamophobia: U.S. Cities face an anti-Muslim backlash. The exact opening words in the article were that the cities across the USA are preparing for the next phase that inevitably follows a terror attack: anti-Muslim backlash". At the time, an Islamic relations spokesman confessed that the media outlets had not yet reported on any attacks on the Muslims after the Brussels attack. He concluded that Islamophobia had found its way into mainstream politics. Such situation makes a person want to know what exactly Islamophobia is.
A phobia is defined as an exaggerated fear of an object or a particular situation. Islamophobia would, therefore, allude to an exaggerated fear and hatred towards the Muslims and the Islamic religion in general. Such a situation is often perpetuated by negative stereotypes that result in the discrimination and eventual marginalization of the Muslim from the political, civic and social aspects of life. Research has shown that the vice has always been deeply sited in the society, but has increased in notoriety in the past decade perhaps as a result of the rise in incidences of terrorist attacks.
Bleich, E. "What Is Islamophobia And How Much Is There? Theorizing And Measuring An Emerging Comparative Concept". American Behavioral Scientist 55.12 (2011): 1581-1600. Web.
Islamophobia as previously stated is a word that was developed by the political activists, commentators in the public arena, and also international organizations to infer to the harmful rhetoric and acts that were directed at the Muslims and Islam in general especially in the so-called Western Liberal Societies.' It is therefore not surprising that the West has in many instances chosen to associate slam with the negative sentiments, stereotypes and has even painted a negative picture of it. The term has even been reported to have spread across the highest levels of international organizations. Mid 2000 saw the European Union try to confront the issue as the United Nations Secretary Kofi Anan called during a conference lamented that When the world is compelled to coin a new term to take account of increasingly widespread bigotry that is bad and troubling development. Such is the case with Islamophobia (p.1582).
Theorizing Islamophobia One of the most productive discussions regarding discussing the ways on how to formulate a working concept lies on the formulation of Islamophobia as a workable comparative theory. Gary Goertz, a political scientist, attempted to come up with an analysis that focused on the multidimensional and multilevel culture. He started by categorizing certain terms such as into three core levels that include the basic, secondary and indicator levels. In simpler terms, the primary level was used to describe the issue or the thing at hand, with the secondary level consisting of the main constituents of the element. When viewed from the same lens, the basic level concept of Islamophobia can be defined by through the use of secondary components that include negative indiscriminate attitudes or emotions that are directed towards the Muslims or Islam itself as religion. Such are the ontologically significant aspects of Islamophobia. The reason for this is because they are some of the aspects that that people hold the assumption that they have an influence on the societal interactions with which we care so much about. By following Goertz line of thinking then it is possible to identify as core dimensions the things that we regard as possessing casual powers when the object is in constant interaction with the outside world (p.1585). When focusing on the attitudes and emotions, one will realize that they both provide an emphasis on the on the evaluative and also the affective aspects of Islamophobia.
Sayyid, S. " A Measure Of Islamophobia". ISLAMOPHOBIA STUDIES JOURNAL 2.1 (2014): 10-25. Print.
It is also important to find the measure of Islamophobia in addition to the components that define it. Most studies show that many of the authors rely on indirect indicators of Islamophobia such as tracing its historical roots or even determining the socio-economic disadvantages that affect the Muslim communities. Such approaches though useful to some degree they use a conflating measure that does not offer a systematic baseline with which Islamophobia can be analyzed and compared across social groups, time or even the intolerance which is directed towards other minority groups. Some of the ideal measures that can be considered include structured questions or surveys through which the respondents can reveal the degree of indiscriminate negative emotions often directed towards the Muslim and Islam.
The extent and consistency of negativity of the emotions and attitudes of the respondents to some questions will give a picture of the expression of Islamophobia. The questionnaires provided, for example, will help the researcher to differentiate the various levels of the intensity of responses and also how much they adhere to Islamophobic positions. For example, people can be asked about their opinions if a mosque was to be built in their neighborhoods. The negative answers given will be used as an indication for Islamophobia. The most efficient way of measuring Islamophobia would, therefore, involve identifying some of the indicators that point directly to negative attitudes and emotions that are directed at Islam and Muslims.
Green, Emma. "The Objectification Of Muslims In America." The Atlantic. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 July 2016.
Most of the Muslims, who settled in Michigan and Oregon States of the USA, emigrated from Syria and Lebanon. Though they arrived almost the same time as the Jews, Catholics, and other religious minorities, the discussions about them are not the same as those of the other groups. Looking back at the attacks carried out by the Islamic State in France and Mali, one will realize that the hostages were required to recite the Islamic testament of faith so that their lives could be spared. Such kinds of extreme violence serve as the silent stories that elicit comments from the politicians and also in articles in the media. This has with time led to the categorization of Muslims in a certain mass that is often associated with terrorism. The comments by some of the presidential aspirants and also the move by the Congress to stop the resettlement of the refugees fleeing the war-torn countries of Syria and Iraq are just some of the notable consequences.
It is difficult to change the ways in which Islam is being viewed and represented by the American culture. The Muslim people have in many instances been forced to justify their religion and also swear that they are not in any way associated with any terrorist activities. The question that pops up when such scenes are witnessed is whether shared religious beliefs should elicit some sense of responsibility so that the Muslims voice their opinions concerning their Islamic terrorism. Such instances are created when more so when some of the beliefs are shared by Muslims and are therefore required to denounce the Islamic States interpretation of the Koran.
Imran Awan, Imran. "Opinion: Why Islamophobia Is So Dangerous - CNN.Com". CNN. N.p., 2014. Web. 14 July 2016.
Muslim stories, no matter how insignificant they always tend to generate more heat than positive reactions. Islamophobia in many societies is often propagated by the fear and the notion that the Muslims are poised to take over peoples jobs, their homes, and lives. These unmatched perceptions have been blamed for the rise in the intense polarization being witnessed in the society and eventually the clash of civilizations. Nowadays, it has become a common phenomenon for subjects such as the Muslim name Mohammed to generate far-fetched hatred towards the Muslims. The headline in the daily mail in January 2014 captioned One in 10 babies in England is a Muslim: Those practicing the religion could soon outnumber actively worshipping the Christians. What raises more alarm is the fact that the article was accompanied by images of two Muslim women wearing hijabs. Such issues show how pervasive the sense of online anti-Muslim hatred is quickly gradually finding its place in the society. Comments that follow such posts are often discriminatory in nature and if not checked will likely to brew more hatred towards the people associated with the Islamic religion.
It is important for all media outlets to exercise fairness when reporting on Muslims and Islam in general so as not to project any form of incitement or discriminatory remarks. Many other news outlets have been criticized for portraying Muslims and their Islamic religion in a negative light. Such stories only brew an atmosphere where the Muslims are demonized based on anti-Muslim narratives. The negativity being cultivated portraying Muslims as dangerous people hence creating the them versus us mentality. Imran notes that this trend needs to be reversed and that sanctions should also be imposed on any media outlet that creates Muslim stereotype.
Zine, Jasmin. "Anti-Islamophobia Education As Transformative Pedagogy: Reflections From The Educational Front Lines." The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 21.3 (2002): 111-118. Print.
The tragic 9/11 attacks to a greater extent managed to change the sociopolitical landscape for the Muslims across North America. Jasmine Zine, a scholar, gathered testimonies from Muslim immigrants and refugees who at the time of her research were not only having to contend with the grappling effects of poverty in Canada but were also battling the challenges brought about by Islamophobia. They narrated of how they had lived through the experiences of being racially excluded and discriminated on in addition to them being constantly having to deal with xenophobia. It had dawned on the religiously and racially marginalized Muslims that being part of the Canadianness was quickly turning into an unprecedented reality, and they were cautiously pushed away from the nation they regarded home. From time to time, they were treated as suspects with their national loyalty being questioned as the state even subjected them to sanctioned policies that included facial profiling (p.111). Muslims across the globe have not only faced individual but systemic acts as of discrimination as well as a form of retaliation to the 9/11 attacks for their collective guilt that is associated with the followers of Islam and anyone who for any reasons seems to resemble them. Parents and students from local schools also reported numerous incidents of Islamophobia. Such circumstances and other factors such as globalization and transnationalism and also the ever-changing political landscape present newer challenges for education in a pluralistic society.
Zine, during her research (p.112), noted that there was an urgency to come up with a crucial pedagogical response to adequately address and also challenge the rising cases of Islamophobia that was taking a toll on the Muslims drawn from all walks of life and social conditions. The most vulnerable population comprised school-going children and youth who received little or no support from their schools when dealing with the backlash that each one of them received on a daily basis. Most schools were either in denial or showed a definite resistance when it came to dealing with what they termed as a politically neutral arena of crisis management. It was then that she coined the term Anti-Islamophobia Education. She hoped to use her platform to name and define the experiences of Muslims that were as a direct result of Islamophobia and which we...
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