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Islamophobia and the role of Western media
More than a billion Muslims in the world and each with an individual way of life. So why exactly are they shunned as a unified group? Why does the West despise, fear and at the same time revere them?
B******s! screamed The San Francisco Examiner in the wake of 9/11. The twin towers burning in the background gave out a strong and resounding message that a war has been declared. Fourteen years later, Paris still wages the war. The deadly serial blasts killing 140 people in the French capital triggered carnage across the middle-east. "Blame the Muslims" the message spread again athwart west after the terrible attacks in Paris.

The western media, inimical to Islam, right from its inception rode the wheel of propaganda and wonderfully painted Islam as a death cult bent on world domination. But this was not the starting point of anti-Islam fever that gripped the west.

Ever since 9/11 twin tower attacks 'Islamophobia' had become the most googled word after 'Al-Qaida'. The world by then had woken up to a new reality. The invincible, infallible and mighty USA too could be felled, scared and intimidated by outside forces as any other country. The seven seas and an impenetrable web of technology could not save it and its citizens from a few fanatics sitting on the edge of the third world countries.

The attacks were not only on America's but on entire Europe's pride and the western media started its propaganda by time and again showing its population footages of the atrocities committed by fanatics. Joining the bandwagon of prejudice and acrimony it damned Islam as an evil force ready to capture the world with its ever expanding population. Islamophobia - fear of Islam and Muslims had intensified with the 9/11 bombings and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France and killing of the Danish cartoonist added further fuel to it.

As Mohsin Hamid, the author of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist'' while travelling through Europe and North America said, that seven years later after the 9/11 attacks he was struck by the large number of interviewers who spoke of Islam as a monolithic thing, a self-contained and clearly defined world which was incompetent with the west.

He cited one particular incident in Pakistan where the Pakistan army launched a military campaign against the Pakistani Taliban on flogging a woman in Swat for 'amoral' reasons. The popular revulsion that stirred Pakistan makes us question theories given by academicians who speak of the "crescent of crisis." Such theories are regularly fanned by social media and few fanatics who want to create an atmosphere of panic and disillusion. They give the masses the idea of having understood the religion.

Islamophobia can be traced raising its head in militaristic American think tanks, public discourses and through using social media. The aim of such propaganda is to minimise the importance of the individual and maximise the importance of the group.

The blame can be put on subsequent media coverage post 9/11, which was supposed to be fair, balanced and responsible. But which has licensed not only inaccuracy but also ethnocentrism, cultural and racial hatred. The milestones in the cause have been the rise of Taliban and ISIS respectively, giving a general colour to the religion.

On the home front, the 'Ram Janmabhoomi' movement with the demolition of Babri masjid has given the most hateful impetus to Islam, spearheading the Godhra riots. The media deprecated the violence, but the basic approach of covering such issues did not change much. Post 9/11 Narenda Modi, one of the general secretaries of BJP back then congratulated the Indian Media on its fearless coverage of 'Muslim Terrorism'.

The facts keep on justifying its looming presence creating hostility towards a particular religion. Unless these thoroughly ingrained prejudices exist, Muslims will continue to suffer the consequences. Propaganda is the wheel which media uses to steer the vehicle of a nation. Usually driving the nations to a war or off the cliff of humanity. Today's world needs to decide whether to jump or not.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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