Misrepresentation of Muslims in the Media due to Islamophobia

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Muslim Radicalisation

Misrepresentation of Muslims

Mass Media Research

Mohit Arora


 

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Hypothesis
3. Descriptive Analysis of Variables
4. Synopsis
5. Methodology
6. Research Questions
7. Review of Literature
8. Congruent Research
9. Interview
10. Survey
11. Content Analysis
12. Limitations
13. Conclusions
14. References

 

Introduction

Islam has always been treated as an outsider’s religion in the west. A large population of Muslims settled in different parts of Europe and America. The Ethnocentric societies were threatened by the percolation of Islam in their lands. This led to the formation of ghettoised Muslim colonies. A major aggravation of hostility came after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Islamic Terrorism was conceived in the minds of people. The recent attacks in Europe such as in Paris (Charlie Hebdo), Brussels et cetera only seems to exaggerate the misconceptions about Islam.  Terrorism is instinctively linked to Islam. Islamophobia has led to an exponential rise in Racist attacks on Muslims in these countries. Selective interpretation of Islam, Enforcement of Sharia and Mass murder of innocents by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria along with the Refugee Crisis in Europe has only led to worsening of the situation. Moreover, misrepresentation of Islam and insufficient efforts of ethical journalism by the mass media has further led to degradation of Muslims and Islam.

With the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976, the Preamble to the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation. Secularism in India means equal treatment of all religions by the state.

However, certain incidents in the past have deliberately attempted to disrupt the secular fabric of India. Communal Riots in Godhra (2002, Gujarat), Babri (1992), Muzzafarnagar( 2013), Malda (2016, West Bengal)  clearly signify the communal tension that exists in our country. Islam has been branded as a “Cultural Threat” to the Hindutva Ideology. Misconceptions and stereotypes prevail abundantly in our society. The Hindu versus Muslim phenomena has existed for more than two decades. Islam has been always been a victim in the country. Islamists have been labelled as ‘Anti-Nationals’.  The rise of Bharatiya Janata Party supported by its right-wing ideologue driven RSS has highlighted the fragility of the Muslim minority in the country. The Dadri Lynching Case, Jawaharlal Nehru University Fiasco and the Anti-National debate on saying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ are some of the events that highlight the hostility that is being broiled against a specific community.

The role of Indian Media in all these issues has been extremely disappointing and appalling. Circulation of unverified new items, rampant practices of bias, insensitivity towards communities, and presence of partisan press supporting the ruling parties is a common sight nowadays.  The media has diverted its aim from presenting news objectively and ethically to following a trend of sycophancy and sensationalisation.

Muslims in the country have been suppressed under the weight of government apathy, societal intolerance and abandonment by the media. The progress of the country is shackled unless we as a nation learn to respect the pluralism and diversity that exists in our country and the collective goal of secularism cannot be realised without a sense of responsibility and morals in today’s journalists. Social awareness and education through mass media can help mitigate the stereotypes that exist in the society and provide a platform to preach the ideals of peace and brotherhood as propagated by Islam.

Hypothesis:

Misrepresentation of Muslims in the media due to Islamophobia

Descriptive Analysis of Variables

Misrepresentation:

Misrepresentation is the action or offence of giving a false or misleading account of the nature of something.

The research in this account shall focus on studying the perception of Muslims and that of Islam as percolated into the minds of general audience by the mass media. The evidential conclusions can be co-related with the actual teachings of Islam to signify the discrepancies that exist between the general perceptions and actuality. Thus, parallels can be drawn and findings be applied on larger scale to erase any fallacies.

Muslims:

Muslim relates to a person who follows the religion of Islam, a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the Quran. Muslims consider the Quran to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet and messenger Muhammad.

The universe of Muslims in this research reports confines itself to the Muslims residing within the territorial boundaries of India.

Islamophobia:

An exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life.

The term “Islamophobia” was first introduced as a concept in a 1991 by the Runnymede Trust Report and was defined as “unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.”

Islamophobia in India exists as a veiled concept. The importance of the topic lies in the fact that India as a nation is perpetually segregated on the basis of religion and caste based politics. Muslims constitute   14.2% of the Indian population yet they are still represented as an alien community in the media. Islamophobia that arises out of communalism and vote-bank politics is a significant hindrance to the progress of the nation. The idea is to highlight such discrepancies and study the factors that lead to public opinion in this regard and emphasise on the need to be responsible when representing such ideas in mass media.

Synopsis

The media is a significant social agent, with the potential to influence community perceptions. Its influence can seriously impact on minority groups by subjecting them to exclusionary pressures by implying that they hold ‘alien’ characteristics which do not correspond with the values and ethos of mainstream public. Such an alienisation of a particular community/religion is a result of xenophobia. The Media shapes public opinion and covers realities by their censorship.

Many attempts have been made in the past to disrupt the secular fabric of India. The crisis is aggravated when such ideologies percolate into a popular belief and certain unwanted/immoral attitudes are casually associated with a certain caste/community. Stereotyping Muslims and giving them voice only in relations to terrorism and violence is at the heart of the Islamophobic campaign. Newspaper articles, TV shows, books, popular movies, political debates, and cultural conflicts produce ample evidence of the stigmatization of Islam within the dominant culture.

The emergence of social media has empowered the common man to easily utilise the platforms of mass media to share, comment on and propagate the already existing misconceptions about minority communities. The offensive stereotypes of Muslims have led to an increase in acts of hostility, intimidation, and discrimination against the Muslim community.

The present research aims to establish the trends in media that lead to conceptualising Islam as a polarised religion. The vision is to study and understand the various stereotypes that exist in the society and fathom the reasons for their existence. The effects of such misconceptions shall also be focused upon extensively.

The hypothesis evolved from intrinsic observations and general perceptions of Islamic communities in the society. Careful observations and particular discussions were carried forward to realise the hypothesis in its true sense.

The report shall focus firstly on the application of the term Islamophobia in the Indian scenario, that is, the pre-conceived notions that prevail in the society against Muslims. Secondly, the report will analyse the media trends in representation of Muslims by scrutinizing three national newspapers. Thirdly, the report will try and conceptualise the effect of misrepresentations on the development of the Islamic community in India.

 

Methodology

Survey:   

Survey is a fact finding study. It is a method of research which involves collection of data directly from individuals. Survey method of conducting research is the most versatile of all methods of research. It is also the only practical way to obtain detailed first hand information on different topics or different aspects of the same topic.

Survey method was undertaken to study the existing notions prevailing in the society on Muslims and Islam. The questions aimed to identify characteristics associated with the terms and thus, gather insights to understand the existence of such notions. It also aimed to acquire opinions on ways to remit discrimination against Muslims.

Interview:

Interview is a dialogue with the objective of collecting information about a problem. According to Good and Hatte, “Interview is a fundamentally a process of social interaction.” In an interview two persons are not only present at the same time at the same place but also affect each other emotionally and intellectually. It is a direct method of inquiry. The purpose of the interview is not only to collect details about the interviewee but it is to probe into the inner life of the interviewee. Thus, the method includes direct as well as depth study.

An interview was conducted with an Islamic Scholar to underline the real factors that lead to Islamophobia. The objective was also to highlight the effects of oppression on the Islamic communities in India.

 Content Analysis:

Content Analysis is a method of studying and analysing communication in a systematic, objective and quantitative manner for the purpose of measuring variables. It is a method popular with mass media researchers because it is an efficient way to investigate the content of media such as the number and types of commercials on TV and in print media.

Headlines and Content of 3 leading English Broadsheets were analysed comprehensively over a period of 3 months to analyse media trends in portrayal of Muslims and Islam.

 

Research Questions

  1. How are Muslims and Islam misrepresented in the Indian media? What stereotypes, prejudices, features and images are propagated in the media?
  2. How does the general audience perceive Muslims and Islam as percolated in their minds by the media?
  3. Is the perception of Muslims and Islam by the public affected by the existence of Islamophobia? Do incidents of communal violence, vote-bank politics, caste-based candidates and hate-speeches elevate the sense of Islamophobia?
  4. How does such a representation affect the personal development of a Muslim identity?

Review of Literature

  1. The Hindu:

A blog featured in The Hindu titled “Media and Muslims”. It explicitly mentions that Muslims are indeed misrepresented by the media. It states the example of the 2006 Malegaon blasts. One of the victims of the blasts was a Muslim girl who was invariably branded as a “Pakistani”by news reports without confirming the fact. The article also mentions how certain individuals have started their own publications solely for purpose of relaying correct information about the Muslim community to avoid misrepresentation.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/blogs/blog-free-for-all/article4657442.ece

 

  1. Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project:

It is an initiative of the Centre for Race & Gender. It focuses on a systematic and empirical approach to the study of Islamophobia and its impact on the Muslim community. It recognises the widespread consequences of Islamophobia and condemns cherry-picking of Muslims in the media to support pre-determined ideological positions. It recognizes the individuality of every Muslim and dismisses any derogatory generalisation.

http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/islamophobia

 

  1. The Hindu: A Tale of Communalism

The article published on March 10, 2016 highlights the ignorance of violence against Muslims and the concept of majority versus minority communalism. The author is of the opinion that acts of mass violence by the Majority Hindutva groups are not considered as Anti-National while trivialised sloganeering by minority groups is labelled as ‘Anti-National’. The article further explores the misconceptions of Islamic Terrorism as comments that the victims in any riots will always be Muslims. It blames the government for orchestrating vote bank politics and thus, furiously takes forward the case of minority suppression in the country.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-tale-of-two-communalisms/article8332198.ece

 

  1. The Indian Express: No Country for Islamophobia

The article published on March 15, 2016 draws parallels between the concept of Islamophobia in the West and India. It assumes that Islamophobia in India is relatively absent in comparison to the West. It questions Islamophobia in contemporary times with the rise of BJP at the centre and rising communal incidents. However, the article concludes that in India there is an atmosphere of Islamophillia, that is, assimiliation of Islam and respect for each other’s religion along with certain practices to create fear of Islam on news channels, newspapers and social media.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/no-country-for-islamophobia/

 

Congruent Research

“The Portrayal of Islam in the Indian Mass Media” by Ms. Nafisa H Kattarwala is a study on a similar topic. The research scope includes content analysis of Newspapers and Bollywood Films.

It introduces the theme of misrepresentation of Muslims in the Mass Media through a comprehensive study of Historical media.

It elaborately covers issues such as the 2002 Gujarat Riots wherein Muslims were killed incessantly and the media misrepresented Muslims as the culprits. It also presents a juxtaposition of the rise of Mr. Narendra Modi from an accused Mass murderer to the Prime Minister of India.

The research also talks about the various Bollywood movies that go against stereotyping Islam and portray Muslims in a positive light. Examples include Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2000), Sarforosh (1999), Mission Kashmir (2000) and Rang De Basanti (2006).

The research concludes that the Indian Mass Media has on one hand dodged the responsibility in saving the face of Islam when it is constantly regarded as a Religion of terror and on the other, though with the absence of utmost dedication, the Bollywood movies have attempted to bring in a new era of secularism by inculcating ideological interpretation of Islam rather subtly.

 

Interview with Ms. Yasmin Hashmatullah

Introduction

The objective of the interview is to analyse Islamophobia in depth and measure its impact on the Islamic communities residing within India.

Ms. Yasmin Hashmatullah is a History Teacher at Jai Hind College, Mumbai. She is a well educated Sunni Muslim who is keenly interested in Politics, Women Empowerment and Religious equality. She has actively voiced her opinions and been part delegations seeking equal rights for Islamic women.

Q1. What are your views on Islamophobia?

Islamophobia is a threat to secularism. Islam is a teacher of love and peace. It shows us the path of living together peacefully. Not only has Islamophobia disturbed the secular structure of our country but also the benign image of Islam.

Q2. Do you think that the media has played an active role in misrepresenting Muslims?

There is no concrete evidence to accuse media of misrepresenting Muslims. The media has just acted as a tool of representing Muslims as they are generally perceived in the society. The media has not played an active role in misrepresenting the community. However, it surely has failed in its role of acting as a watch dog during tenuous times of communalism. Rather than misrepresenting Muslims, the media has under-represented Muslims. It has also failed indeed, drastically, to voice its own secular opinions in matters of affecting the sidelined communities.

Q3. What are your views on Stereotyping of Muslims in Bollywood Films?

It is true that certain characteristics are always associated with the representation of Islam but I do not agree to the view that Bollywood has been used as a proxy to misrepresent Muslims. There have been movies such as ‘My Name is Khan’ where the protagonist’s only aim in life after losing his son in an Islamophobic attack is to prove to the world that Muslims are not terrorists. One cannot deny the presence of subtle stereotypical interplays present in the plot but that is more to do with ignorance than polarising Islam as a religion.

Q4. What are the difficulties that Muslim Youths face today?

Islamophobia has led to governmental ostracism of Muslim Youths. Statistics reveal the plight of Muslims in government jobs. Although Muslims form the largest minority community in India, employment share of Muslims in government jobs is saddening. Educational institutions also lack the sensitivity to deal with Islamophobic existence in our country. The percentage of Muslim students in government schools continues to dip exponentially. Disregarding Madrasas as educational institutions has left thousands of children without any avenues for further education.

Q5. Do you think the right wing Ideology of RSS and BJP has aggravated Islamophobia in India?

The major cause of Islamophobia in the country at present is the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideologue RSS. Propagation of Hindutva Ideology is rampant that despises the presence of other religions in India. Islamophobic attacks such as the Dadri Lynching Case is an example. The secular construct of the country is under threat with power in the hands of caste driven politics. Diversion to developmental and progress oriented politics is necessary for the looming burden of Islamophobia to disappear.

Q6. What factors do you think are important for mitigating misconceptions about Islam and Muslims in India?

The primary step towards secularism should be taken by the government in respecting the pluralism that exists in the country. In a democratic society, the government is a representative of the citizens. Thus, a secular government implies a secular nation. Educational Institutions shall be freed from the shackles of caste based politics. Also, the media should take up responsibility of presenting news in an unbiased way and standing up against any communalistic activities occurring in the society. Ethical Journalism must be practiced to ensure social awareness about sensitive topics in an objective manner.

Analysis:

The interviewee agrees to the hypothesis albeit not wholly. Ms. Yasmin Hashmatullah is of the view that misrepresentation of Muslims in media and its consequences are not only due to Islamophobia. She believes that Government apathy and Social ignorance play an important role in perceived degradation of Islam as a religion. The opinion focuses on the effect of societal attitude towards Muslims on the developmental opportunities to today’s Islamic youth in India. The interviewee hints rather subtly that Islamophobia exists not due to media misrepresentation but due to planned efforts by right wing groups. However, the interviewee aligns her opinions with the ideological aspect of the hypothesis and cannot deny the relevance of misrepresentation of Muslims in the media due to Islamophobia on the future of Islamic youths residing within India. Thus, the analysis concludes that the interviewee upholds the hypothesis and approves of it.

 

Survey

Form Sample

Misrepresentation of Muslims in Media

It seeks to gather your views on contemporary issues that Muslims in India face.

 

Q1. Age

 

Q2. Religion

 

Q3. Describe Islam in one word

 

Q4. Are you aware of the term Islamophobia? Islamophobia is the fear towards Muslims and Islam.

 

Q5. Do you think Indian Media often misrepresents Islam and Muslims in a negative way?

 

Q6. Do you think Bollywood has generalized Muslims as villains/antagonists?

 

Q7. Do you think recent events like the Dadri Lynching case depict Islamophobia in our country?

 

Q8. Have you witnessed caste discrimination in real life?

 

Q9. Do you think vote-bank politics causes caste discrimination? (vote bank is a group of people from a single community/caste)

 

Q.10 What do you think is the most important factor to protect Muslim against such discrimination?

Education

Social Awareness

Ethical Journalism

Secular Politics

Other

_________________________________________________________________

Survey Forms Tabulation

Q. No. Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Total Interpretation
Respondent Yes-2 No-1 Yes-2 No-1 Yes-2 No-1 Yes-2 No-1 Yes-2 No-1 Yes-2 No-1
1 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
2 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves
3 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
4 2 2 1 2 1 2 10 Approves
5 1 2 2 1 1 2 9 Disapproves
6 1 2 1 2 2 2 10 Approves
7 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
8 2 2 2 2 2 1 11 Approves
9 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
10 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves
11 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves
12 1 2 2 1 1 1 8 Disapproves
13 2 2 1 2 1 2 10 Approves
14 1 2 2 1 1 1 8 Disapproves
15 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves
16 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves
17 1 2 1 1 1 1 7 Disapproves
18 2 1 1 2 1 1 8 Disapproves
19 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
20 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
21 2 2 1 1 2 1 9 Disapproves
22 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
23 2 2 1 2 1 2 10 Approves
24 1 2 1 1 2 2 9 Disapproves
25 2 2 1 1 1 2 9 Disapproves
26 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
27 2 2 2 2 1 2 11 Approves
28 1 2 2 1 2 2 10 Approves
29 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves
30 2 1 1 2 1 2 9 Disapproves
31 2 2 1 2 2 1 10 Approves
32 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves
33 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves
34 2 1 2 1 1 2 9 Disapproves
35 2 1 1 2 2 2 10 Approves
36 2 1 1 2 2 2 10 Approves
37 1 2 2 1 2 2 10 Approves
38 2 2 1 2 1 2 10 Approves
39 1 2 1 2 1 1 8 Disapproves
40 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
41 1 2 2 2 2 2 11 Approves
42 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
43 2 2 1 2 1 2 10 Approves
44 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
45 1 2 2 2 1 2 10 Approves
46 1 2 2 2 2 2 11 Approves
47 2 2 1 2 1 2 10 Approves
48 2 2 1 1 1 2 9 Disapproves
49 2 2 1 2 1 2 10 Approves
50 1 2 1 1 1 2 8 Disapproves
51 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves
52 1 1 1 1 1 2 7 Disapproves
53 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 Disapproves
54 1 2 1 1 1 1 7 Disapproves
55 1 2 2 2 2 2 11 Approves
56 1 2 1 1 1 1 7 Disapproves
57 2 1 2 2 2 1 10 Approves
58 1 1 1 2 2 2 9 Disapproves
59 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
60 2 2 2 2 2 2 12 Approves
61 1 2 2 2 1 1 9 Disapproves
62 2 2 1 2 1 2 10 Approves
63 2 2 2 1 2 2 11 Approves
64 2 2 2 2 1 2 11 Approves
65 2 1 1 2 2 2 10 Approves
66 2 1 1 1 2 2 9 Disapproves
67 2 2 1 2 2 2 11 Approves

 

 

 

Survey Analysis

Open Ended Questions

Universe: The target audience comprised of individuals between 18-50 years.

Demographics of Respondents:

Number of Respondents: 67

Q1. Age:

Average Age of Respondents= 26.3 Years

Q2. Religion:

Cultural Composition of Respondents
Muslims 30 (44.7%)
Hindus 23 (34.3%)
Jains 9 (13.4%)
Parsi 1 (1.4%)
Others 4 (5.9%)

 

Q3. Describe Islam in One word

Number of Responses= 59

Classification:

A). Healthy Responses: The responses reflect Islam as a religion of Peace and Brotherhood.

Number of Healthy Responses= 38 (64.4%)

B). Unhealthy Responses: The responses reflect Islam in a negative way; for example: “abused”, “forced” et cetera.

Number of Unhealthy Responses= 11 (18.6%)

C). Neutral Responses: The responses equalise Islam simply as a religion devoid of any specific characteristics.

Number of Neutral Responses= 10 (16.9%)

 

Q10. What do you think is the most important to protect Muslims against discrimination?

Number of Responses= 67

 

Options Responses Percentage
A) Education 19 28.3%
B)   Social Awareness 24 35.8%
C) Ethical Journalism 9 13.4%
D)  Secular Politics 11 16.4%
E)    Others 4 5.9%

 

Closed Ended Questions:

Question Numbers= 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Score 6-9 10-12
Interpretation Disapproves Approves

 

 

Q4. Are you aware of the term Islamophobia?

Yes= 48

No= 19

 

Q5. Do you think Indian media often misrepresents Islam and Muslims in a negative way?

Yes= 56

No= 12

 

Q6. Do you think Bollywood has generalised Muslims as antagonists?

Yes= 30

No= 38

 

Q7. Do you think recent events like the Dadri Lynching case depict Islamophobia in our country?

Yes= 45

No= 12

Other= 5

 

Q8. Have you witnessed Caste Discrimination in real life?

Yes= 41

No= 27

 

Do you think vote-bank politics causes caste discrimination?

Yes= 55

No= 12

 

Result:

Approvals= 47

Disapprovals= 20

Conclusion:

The survey is directly proportional to the mentioned hypothesis and upholds the misrepresentation of Muslims in the media due to Islamophobia. In-depth analysis highlights the awareness of Islamophobia amongst the respondents is quite high and also majority of them have represented Islam in a positive way. The respondents collectively agree to the presence of caste based discrimination in the country. The outcome also denotes that the respondents do not think that Bollywood misrepresents Islam. The survey concludes that Social Awareness is the most important factor in dealing with the problem of communalism. The findings of the survey thus, approve of the hypothesis.

 

Content Analysis

Times of India

Unit of Analysis: Muslims

  1. Muslims love their country

The seminary clarified that those who wish to treat the “land of Bharat as their mother, then this is the person’s individual religious belief and that the person cannot force others (to believe in this).”

  1. This heaven for cows is run by Muslims

The article talks about a protective cow shed run by a group of Muslims in times where communalism over animal slaughter has torn the nation apart.

  1. Mass prayer by Muslims for peace

For peace and communal harmony in the country a week-long programme of mass recital of sacred prayer ‘Ayat-e-Kareema’ by Muslim men and women began at different places like Shakar Talab, Jalalipur and Kaji Sadullapura in the city on Friday.

  1. Govt harassing Muslims

JVM (P) chief Babulal Marandi on Tuesday said “a sense of fear runs throughout the Muslim community in the state” under the current BJP-led state government.”The fear is not without reason.

  1. Balasore mazar unites Hindus, Muslims

At a time when there are raging debates over chanting of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, ban on beef and communal hatred, a mazar in Balasore is a picture of communal harmony.

  1. Nationalism is in the DNA of country’s Muslims: Naqvi

New Delhi, Mar 30:  Amid media reports claiming three Madrassa students were beaten for allegedly not chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said giving the slogan is “not a fashion, but passion” and stressed nationalism is in the blood of country’s muslims.

  1. Muslims greet Hindu parade with petals

The message was not lost on anyone in the city, considering the fact that communally sensitive Bareilly has seen major riots in 2010 and 2012.

  1. Centre playing Muslim card’

By attempting to do away with minority status of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia university, Narendra Modi government at the Centre was furthering its communal agenda and playing the Muslim card.

  1. Hindus, Muslims celebrate Holi in Pak

A Holi function was organized at Mirpurkhas in Sindh province of Pakistan under the aegis of Progressive Human Foundation (PHF).

 

  1. Muslim groups urge for peace & harmony

A group of Sunni Muslim organizations has termed the brutal ISIS a by-product of the Wahhabis, a puritanical form of Islam professed by Saudi Arabia during a conference titled `Counter Terrorism’ in Jaipur on Friday.

  1. 2 Muslims herding buffaloes thrashed, hanged in Jharkhand

Local MLA from the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) Prakash Ram claimed that Hindu radicals were behind the killings. Reports said villagers who protested the deaths claimed the victims were targeted as they were cattle traders.

The Hindu

1.   Islamic State recruit held at Pune airport

PTI | NEW DELHI, APRIL 5, 2016

A suspected ISIS recruit was detained at the Pune airport on Tuesday as he was leaving the country and flying to Dubai for onward journey to Syria. Officials identified the youth as Raoof Ahmed

 

  1. Understanding the IS

We cannot understand the Islamic State by just focussing on the Shia-Sunni-Salafi-Mongol sectarian conflicts (“Understanding the Islamic State”, April 4). Looking at it objectively, there is no connection between Islam and the brutality of these terrorist outfits.

 

  1. Combative Fadnavis stands his ground

SATISH NANDGAONKAR | MUMBAI, APRIL 5, 2016

‘Whether or not I remain Chief Minister, I will continue to chant Bharat Mata ki Jai’

4.   Kaba Imam says Muslims in India living in harmony with others

PTI | LUCKNOW, APRIL 5, 2016

The Imam of Kaba shrine in Mecca, who is on a visit to India, has condemned acts of terrorism around the world and said that Muslims in the country are living with love and harmony with other communities.

 

5.   Understanding the Islamic State

MOHAMAD BAZZI | APRIL 4, 2016

Like its predecessors, the group reads Islam’s history and its foundational texts selectively, choosing the thinkers and parts that fit into its vision of brutality. It is important to remember that, for a long time, there have been other paths.

 

6.   The need to pre-empt nuclear terrorism

The world’s major nations seeking to develop nuclear power, with one notable exception, gathered in Washington last week for the Barack Obama administration-led Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), a platform to discuss strategies to block terror groups such as the Islamic State from obtaining radioactive material and setting off a “dirty bomb”, or worse.

 

7.   Why migrants are Europe’s litmus test

PARVATHI MENON | APRIL 4, 2016

There is an inexorable link in public discourse between terror attacks and the migrant crisis.

 

8.   Old versus new Muslim parties in TN

UDHAV NAIG | CHENNAI, APRIL 4, 2016

Grand old Muslim parties face competition from outfits that emerged post-Babri Masjid demolition

 

9.   Stand promotes ‘terrorism’, says VHP

Days after Rashtriya Swayamsevak (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said there was no need to force anyone to say Bharat Mata ki jai (Glory To Mother India), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a part of the larger Sangh Parivar, hit out at the Darul-Uloom, Deoband for passing a fatwa labelling the slogan “un-Islamic”.

 

10.  Deoband fatwa says no to worship of ‘Bharat Mata’

MOHAMMAD ALI | MEERUT, APRIL 1, 2016

In a fatwa issued to Muslims, the seminary said the slogan goes against “tauheed” (the idea of worshipping one god), which forms the core of Islam.

 

________________________________________________________________

 

Content Analysis

Universe:

2 English Broadsheets

A). Times of India

B). The Hindu

Sample:

Newspaper Articles, features, leads, columns and editorials spanning over a time span of 4 months from January 15, 2016 to April 15, 2016.

Simple Random Sampling is utilised to choose samples in an unbiased way.

Unit of Analysis:

Times of India: ‘Muslims’

The Hindu: ‘Islam”

The unit of analyses was intricately used to locate articles that spoke about Muslims in Times of India and Islam in The Hindu to accurately analyse the representation of Muslims and Islam in these two newspapers.

Content Categories:

Healthy: The articles with a rank between 3-5 that spoke of Muslims and Islam in a positive way are classified into the healthy category.

Unhealthy: The articles with a rank between 0-2 that spoke of Muslims and Islam in a negative way are classified into the unhealthy category.

 

Interpretation:

Score 0-2 3-5
Interpretation Unhealthy Healthy

 

Analysis:

  1. Times of India
Article Number Score Interpretation
1. 5 Healthy
2. 5 Healthy
3. 4 Healthy
4. 2 Unhealthy
5. 3 Healthy
6. 3 Healthy
7. 4 Healthy
8. 2 Unhealthy
9. 4 Healthy
10. 5 Healthy
11. 1 Unhealthy

 

Healthy= 8

Unhealthy= 3

  1. The Hindu
Article Number Score Interpretation
1. 2 Unhealthy
2. 3 Healthy
3. 2 Unhealthy
4. 4 Healthy
5. 4 Healthy
6. 0 Unhealthy
7. 0 Unhealthy
8. 1 Unhealthy
9. 2 Unhealthy
10. 1 Unhealthy

 

Healthy=3

Unhealthy=7

 

Collective Analysis:

Healthy= 11 (52%)

Unhealthy= 10 (48%)

 

Conclusion:

The content analyses method signifies the surprisingly high occurrences of unhealthy news items (48%) in relation to every other news item. This means that for every article that delivers news objectively there is a corresponding article that misrepresents Muslims/minority communities.  The trend thus, highlights the apathy that Muslims in the country have to undergo due to ignorance and misrepresentation by the print media. Print Media forms an important aspect of society as it helps in percolating ideologies effectively in the minds of people. The misconceptions and stereotypes propagated through print media settle effectively and are hard to mitigate. Hence, the content analysis upholds the Hypothesis.

Limitations

Sampling Error:

  1. Survey: The respondents were restricted to an urbanised location and failed to represent the larger population that resides in semi-urban towns and backward villages. Islamophobia affects such towns and villages more deeply due to higher illiteracy rates and lower social awareness.

 

  1. Content Analysis: The content analysis was restricted to English National Dailies and did not involve the regional newspapers. Regional newspapers are generally more opinionated and thus, would have provided better results and more accurate trends of misrepresentation of Muslims in the Media.

 

There is an absence of a clear-cut quantifiable result through the Interview methodology. The concluded result is open to subjective interpretations by different individuals. It neither upholds the hypothesis wholly nor does it disapprove of it. Thus, it leads to an ambiguous conclusion.

Conclusion

An intricate combination of Survey, Content Analysis and Interview Research methodologies approve the hypothesis that Muslims are misrepresented in the media due to Islamophobia. Denial of rental flats to Muslims, higher custodial deaths of Muslims, lower employment opportunities and dip in educational access are all a result of Islamophobia due to misrepresentation. Islam is blatantly linked to terrorism. Selective interpretations of Islam have led to the religion being perceived as polarised.  Gross misconceptions and stereotypes exist in regard to Islam that threatens the future of human kind as a whole.

Although media has played a pivotal role in misrepresenting Muslims, the real culprits that surfaced during the course of this research are the politicians and government authorities. It is the lack of government attention and dedication towards the goal of pluralism and secularism that has resulted in suppression of Islam as a religion in India.

The ultimate goal of universal brotherhood and equality can only be achieved through dedicated efforts by people’s representatives and the official authorities that have been endowed with the power and resources to carry out duties to realise the same.

However, the importance of role of media cannot be denied in achieving the above mentioned goal. Ethical Journalism and Objective awareness are two effective methods by which Media can acts a trustworthy disseminator of news as well as a watch dog to scrutinise the steps taken by the government towards the collective goal. Media’s stance should be unaffected and uninfluenced. It should provide justice to its profession as well as to the society that relies on it at large.

The research concludes with the generalisation of the mentioned hypothesis.

References

  1. The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/blogs/blog-free-for-all/article4657442.ece

 

  1. The Hindu: A tale of two communalisms

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-tale-of-two-communalisms/article8332198.ece

 

  1. com: Terrorists Versus Terrorism

http://www.ummid.com/voiceover/terrorist%20vs%20terrorism.htm

 

  1. Presentation of Islamic Symbols in Indian Cinema by Sumaiya Ahmad

http://jiscnet.com/journals/jisc/Vol_2_No_2_June_2014/3.pdf

 

  1. Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project

http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/islamophobia

 

  1. Indian Express: No Country for Islamophobia

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/no-country-for-islamophobia/

 

  1. The portrayal of Islam in the Indian Mass Media by N Kattarwala

http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/events/MeCCSA/pdf/papers/Kattarwala,%20H%20-%20The%20Portrayal%20of%20Islam%20In%20The%20Indian%20Mass%20Media.pdf

 

  1. The Perception of Islam and Muslims in the Media and the Responsibility of European Muslims Towards the Media

http://www.culturelink.org/conf/dialogue/mesic.pdf

 

  1. The Negative Image of Islam and Muslims in the West: Causes and Solutions

http://www.interculturelecommunicatie.com/download/image.pdf

 

  1. The Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Media

http://www.interculturelecommunicatie.com/download/image.pdf

 

  1. Times of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/defaultinterstitial.cms

 
Source: Mohit Arora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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