The Media, Islam, and Christianity
Social Media and Fear
Christianity and Islam are both the largest religions in the interview. Boasting in billions of followers worldwide, it's clear that the two religions have had a fundamental role in shaping the world. Whether it be from different interpretations, discussions, or even simplistic images or stories, it's these religions that have provide the foundation of many societies.
Despite the many differences people tend to announce between the two, there are also more than a few similarities as well. There are correlations between the Bible and the Quran, as well as similar figures found between the two. These similarities can help foster cooperation and peace between the two groups, and can also help create environments that promote healthy discussions and debates.
Even so, because of horrific incidents that have happened over the 21st century, many people have become discouraged. For instance, in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, many people began suspecting Muslims for being terrorists or terrorist-sympathizers, despite others saying otherwise. This attack fostered the fear against a group of people, many of whom were wrongly suspected of terrorism, which highlights the paranoia of American society.
According to NBC news, anti-Muslim attacks have grown 5 times since 2001. During his Presidency, Trump called for a Muslim ban that struck more than a nerve with the rest of America. Even now, many conservative Christians are afraid to talk with Muslims because of what happened. And with the rise of ISIS, people have started to speak out against Muslims.
The media is often infamous for its inconsistencies in portraying the Muslim religion. While many Muslims have denounced the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and declared themselves to be a religion of peace, many disagree. In fact, many people have struggled to adapt to a nation that has a growing population of Muslims, many of which go to school, own businesses, and even attend events with. It's worsened even further when with the media thrown in. According to Huffington Post, we are so influenced by the media that oftentimes, whenever Muslim and terrorism are thrown in, we are more likely to associate the two. This fosters negative attitudes that are later used to support unconstitutional legislation, much of which alienates many people, including Christians, from Muslims.
Christians, on the other hand, don't get that treatment. If anything, their religion may just be a minor detail in the midst of a tragedy. For example, the Klu Klux Klan has been identified as a hate group that preaches white supremacy. They've had a hand at the many deaths of African American population. Even so, they also identify as a Christian group. The shooter of a universalist church in 2008 was motivated by his own beliefs, and was motivated by extremist Republican values. Despite FOX News covering the incident, it didn't get as much coverage as other Islamic terrorist attacks did.
While a majority of Muslims are peaceful and condemn the terrorist attacks, there are other extremist groups that have branched off from their radical interpretations of it. Because of this, these attacks have garnered more attention than any other because of the devastation they cause.
- The horrific 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center has been the hallmark of America's start on the "War on Terror." This attack gave Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Queda, the opportunity to declare a holy war against the United States. It resulted in the deaths of approximately 3,000 people, and costed around $10 billion in damages.
- On April 2013, two bombs detonated during the Boston Marathon, which killed three individuals and wounded hundreds of others. The police found two individuals who were responsible for the detonation, both of whom were not connected to any terrorist group. Both were believed to have been motivated by extremist Muslim beliefs.
- On June 2016, an gay night club in Orlando, Florida as the scene of a gruesome massacre that left 49 dead and many others wounded. The shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS.
- On October 2017, a man ran his pickup truck down a crowded bike path in Manhattan. 8 were killed, and 11 were injured. Nicknamed "the deadliest terrorist attack on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001", the perpetrator was a influenced by ISIL, and said that he was proud of what he did.
While the words "Christian" and "terrorist" may not go hand in hand, there has been a history of violence. Even when the media doesn't often portray Christianity in such a way, many people are aware of this violence. This violence often takes the form of racism, prejudice, and discrimination against marginalized groups.
- The KKK is cited as an extremist white supremacy group that has been known for its violent acts in the past. The group has often identified as Christian, and have felt marginalized by the colored groups. Lynchings and brutal slayings have characterized the group's policies. However, even to this day no one knows how many the KKK have killed.
- In 1994, John C. Salvi attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Massachusetts. He was an extreme anti-abortionist and was hailed as a martyr to the extremist group, "Army of God." In his attack, he killed two receptionists and wounded many others.
- In Uganda, the Lord's Resistance Army is a self-proclaimed Christian group that was listed as a terrorist group by the United States. The army has been known for a number of human rights violations, including but not limited to; child sexual abuse, mutilation, and murder.
- Eastern Lightning is a Christian cult whose followers believe they must annilhate as many demons as they can. Like their other extremist groups, this group is known for its violence as well. CNN had reported in February 2015 that one woman was beaten down by a two members who told the woman to "Go to Hell." The woman was subsequently beaten down, and was then pronounced dead at a hospital.
The Paranoia of the Western World
Many of the individuals responsible for America's domestic terrorist attacks have often been white, male, and held extreme right-winged views. But despite the fact that 94% of terrorist attacks being caused by someone who wasn't Muslim, many people are convinced that being Muslim equates to being terrorists. However, what a lot of people don't see are the difficulties these muslims had to go through just to get here, to the supposed "Land of the Free", nor do they see that they're alienating their fellow citizens. In fact, all they see are terrorists and nothing more.
This is the result of a lack of conviction towards covering such controversial topics. According to The Conversation, a lot of journalists don't report on religion. Because of this, crucial knowledge about various religious topics don't cross over to the public. Misinformation can spread like wildfire, and can lead to devastating consequences. A study done The Pew Research Center showed that there are approximately 3.45 million Muslims living in America. Because many people have associated Muslims with being selfish, violent, and even greedy, as know, approximately 3 million may be affected by this misrepresentation. One extreme example is through the U.S President himself, Donald Trump, who tried enacting a Muslim ban that encroached upon basic constitutional rights.
The media is considered a vital source of information. From presidential debates, to global developments, its immeasurable, to say the least. But it's also been a source of misinformation as well. Many prejudices and discriminatory acts have been encouraged by the media, whether it be painting a dark picture of an already marginalized group, or even covering up the real source of the unrest.
Because of this, it's important for us to understand that while the media is important, it shouldn't be used to lay the foundation of our prejudices, nor be used to promote our beliefs. After all, not everyone thinks alike, and no matter how wonderful a thought it may be, in the end, it's still just that; a thought.
And a horrific one at that.
For More Information
- Fareed Zakaria GPS 2016 07 03 Why They Hate Us (Updated) - YouTube
An in depth investigation and discussion as to the big question, why the Islamists hate America and the west.