Islamophobia and the Mainstream Media

Posted: November 24, 2011 in Islamophobia
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By: Lindsey Cook


Unrest in the Middle East and strained U.S.-Arab relations, much like the world experiences now in 2011, plagued the 1970s and 1980s. The Iranian Revolution began in 1979 with protesters overthrowing the U.S.-supported government in favor of an Islamic regime. When “Moslem militants” took American workers hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran —eventually holding fifty-two American citizens for 444 days — the tensions between the area and America continued to escalate (Randal 1). The threats posed by Iran and OPEC of abandoning the U.S. dollar for oil trade crippled America’s ability to retrieve the hostages. Pressures were made more potent by the memory of the 1973 oil crisis in which OPEC had issued an embargo in response to U.S. military action in the Arab world. Americans waited for their hostages, trapped in a battle of oil, lessening both America’s respect for the region, its supposed religion, Islam, and American President Jimmy Carter.

The tensions between the United States and the Arab world convinced Edward Said, a Columbia University professor, to write two books: Orientalism in 1978, followed by Covering Islam in 1981. He felt the continued coverage of the conflict by journalists was further adding to the strain between the regions and their cultures by misrepresentation and a continued theme of “us” against “them” (Orientalism 7). He recognized the want of journalists in the Western world to lump all unknown people together, painting them as one homogenous group, and saw the tendency as dangerous to citizens, claiming journalists were powerful since they control what information reaches the public. Journalists interpret knowledge, and in the case of Islam, Said felt they were advancing a different agenda than citizens’ well being, refusing to cover Islam fairly, and in turn, publishing propaganda. He sought to stop the trend of Islamophobia with his books defending the Islamic faith and the Eastern world. In Covering Islam, Said wrote, “In no really significant way is there a direct correspondence between the ‘Islam’ in common Western usage and the enormously varied life that goes on within the world of Islam” (x).

Said believed mankind created the unneeded difference between West and East (Orientalism 5). He called the relationship between the Orient and the Occident a “relationship of power, of domination, of varying degrees of complex hegemony” and feared “distortion and inaccuracy” in the portrayal of the region, its culture, and especially, of Islam (Orientalism 5, 8).

Most notably, Said wanted to restructure the way journalists covered Islam and warn citizens of crucial information being left out by journalists. He felt this coverage was important enough to write Covering Islam. Like in 2011, Said felt gatekeepers of information were offering an unbalanced picture of Islam, making the faith seem backward and violent. The time period began the spread of Islamophobia, although the trend did not reach mainstream until recent years. Finding evidence of Islamophobia in America is as easy as Googling “Islam” or flipping the television to channels claiming to deliver “fair & balanced” news.

In 2011, amidst the Egyptian Revolution and its spin-offs that spread with passionate wildfire to Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, and Libya, among others, understanding the culture of the region is growingly important. The conflict in the Middle East has only added to American skepticism of the region, its people, its culture, and its religion, Islam. Doubts increased dramatically following the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent “War on Terror.” Even as the conflicts wage on, America needs the region for oil, which largely determines action in the region. Much disagreement exists among world leadership, American citizens, and American government as to what should be done about the escalating conflict in the Middle East. Military action in terms of invasions, intelligence activities and airstrikes are much debated.

Said thought the government, the American population, and the media were using Islam “as a kind of scapegoat for everything we do not happen to like about the world’s new political, social, and economic patterns” (Covering Islam xv). Among the uncertainty and skepticism of 2011, Said’s original words are as true now as they were in 1981: journalists are at a crossroads, tip-toeing a thin line between their American biases and their willingness to give fair coverage to the Middle East and to Islam.

Since the tension between the U.S. and the Arab world has escalated, so too has America’s uncertainty and fear of Islam, and of its followers, both domestically and abroad. Islamophobia refers to “hostility toward Islam and Muslims that tends to dehumanize an entire faith, portraying it as fundamentally alien and attributing to its followers an inherent, essential set of negative traits, such as irrationality, intolerance and violence” (4). Apprehension towards Islam runs rampant in America: in her pressrooms, on her streets, and in her government. What was once a quieted shush of avoidance has gone to outright discrimination since the 9/11 terrorists attacks and the following “War on Terror.”

The growing movement towards discrimination and misrepresentation is dangerous, especially within media outlets, which freely show their own Islamophobia. Print media in particular must fight this trend within itself and exercise special caution not to upset the balance between objective news coverage and misinformation. The media must struggle to remain relevant by offering clear, unbiased and accurate information about Islam within an era when the American public considers traditional media to be of diminishing relevancy. By recognizing the Islamophobia and stopping it, journalists can better educate the American public, securing the profession’s own fate in the process by refusing to let journalism become, as Said wrote, “a self-fulfilling prophecy” by allowing opinion to morph into reality (Covering Islam 107).

Literature Review

America is growing in Islamophobia, even as technology makes the world ever smaller. Because of American involvement in Islamic countries, being well informed about the religion is increasingly relevant.

Evidence of Islamophobia can be seen in many aspects of American life and has seeped into mainstream culture. For instance, with the 2008 Presidential election, many Americans were distrustful of President Obama, claiming he was a Muslim and was helping terrorists. The theory received surprisingly large play in the press. The country also erupted into frenzy over Muslims wanting to build a mosque literally on top of Ground Zero in 2010, or so it would seem from the media coverage.

Suspicion of Muslims can be witnessed widely. Obvious discrimination has forced American followers of Islam practically into hiding, segregated from the rest of the population. For instance, in 2000, about 700 Muslims ran for public office in the United States. By 2002, the number had fallen to about seventy — a decrease of ninety percent (FAIR 24). The cycle of suspicion and retreat can only lead to an increase in Islamophobia, unless action is taken to prevent the spread of hatred and fear of the Islamic religion.

Despite media attention and involvement in the area, in general, Americans are still clueless about Islam. According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, events and controversies related to Islam earned the most press coverage in 2010, yet another Pew poll shows only about half of Americans know the Qur’an is the Islamic holy book, only twenty-seven percent know most people in Indonesia are Muslim, and about half identified Ramadan as the Islamic holy month. A startling percentage of Americans fail in naming the basics of the Islamic faith, which has 1.6 billion followers worldwide[1] (Pew Research Center).

The information Americans receive about the Islamic faith leads to widespread Islamophobia — the kind of widespread religious discrimination that caused the Holocaust. Fear of Muslims taking over the West and destroying everything America holds dear is surprisingly ordinary in American culture. The Pew Research Center found thirty-eight percent of Americans admit to having an unfavorable view of Islam, with thirty percent having a favorable opinion of Islam and thirty-two percent offering no opinion[2]. In 2010, thirty-five percent of Americans said they thought Islam was more likely to encourage violence than other religions[3] (“Public Remains Conflicted Over Islam”).

It is not difficult to find support for such statistics in everyday life. In the last few years, a host of “educational books” about Islam has been released in the American market. Robert Spencer’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) made the New York Times Bestseller List, along with his book The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion. Both books show Islam — incorrectly — as a hateful and violent religion bent on taking over the West. Even though the books exhibit extreme bias and manipulation of evidence at the least and outright lies at the most extreme, they have been widely read in America and have received praise from even the U.S. government. According to Spencer’s website, the “U.S. Central Command, the Department of Homeland Security, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and ‘the U.S. intelligence community,’” have employed Spencer to teach seminars on Islam and jihad[4] (FAIR 10).

Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) displays misinformation, bias, and transparent lies directly from the cover, which features a masked man dressed in camouflage and holding a machine gun. A subtitle reads, “American Muslim groups are engaged in a huge cover-up of Islamic doctrine and history.” The book refers to the Qur’an as a “book of war” (19) and calls Islamophobia a “well-oiled propaganda machine” invented by moderate Muslims (195).

Obviously, Americans cannot depend on these seemingly educational resources for accurate information. In trying to consult the Internet for Islamic knowledge, one encounters the harshest and most inflammatory comments in the conservative blogosphere. Americans depend on outside sources because, as Said points out “very few Americans, comparatively speaking, have actually had much to do with real Muslims” (Covering Islam 12). In a world of half-truths, it is the job of journalists to sift through rumors and find truth. In terms of Islam, the press has failed in delivering pure truth to the public, instead sending discrimination and misinformation through broadcast media and sly biases through print sources.


Broadcast Media and Islamophobia

Broadcast media has certainly given up in its search for the truth about Islam. Historically, the television news industry and its talking heads have not been held to the same high journalistic standards as newspapers and other media outlets; however, if they are going to assert themselves as legitimate news sources as Fox Online does, they must act as such. Talking heads of American entertainment and media industries have extremely far-reaching influence and unfortunately, sometimes use this vast reach to spread hatred and bigotry.

For instance, Pat Robertson’s show The 700 Club reaches two hundred countries and ninety-seven percent of the U.S. television market, yet Robertson continually uses the show to advance his Islamophobic viewpoint (FAIR 11). Hosts such as Robertson should be aware of the power they hold and be wary of broadcasting propaganda masquerading as news. Robertson claims via The 700 Club, “Islam is a ‘bloody, brutal type of religion’ (4/28/06) whose followers only ‘deal with history and the truth of violence’ and ‘don’t understand what reasoned dialogue is’ (9/25/06)” (FAIR 11).

Other examples of Islamophobes using their widely watched television shows to advance Islamophobic ideology include Fox News political commentator Sean Hannity, who compared U.S. Representative Keith Ellison’s desire to be sworn into Congress using the Qur’an, to wanting to use “the Nazi bible,” Mein Kampf (FAIR 11). Fox New’s Bill O’Reilly, another leading Islamophobe, said “the most unattractive women in the world are probably in Muslim countries” and blamed killings in Iraq on the Islamic faith saying, “They’re all Muslims, and they’re doing what they do. They’re killing each other. And they’re killing Americans” (FAIR 13).

Print Media Biases

If broadcast media organizations such as Fox are continuing to support an Islamophobic agenda, who will prevail and provide the American public with accurate news coverage? In the past, this role has fallen to the print media, which has been regarded as the light of truth, sorting through faulty information and rumors to discover and report facts. Citizens in America trust print media to deliver news unmarked by poisonous biases. In this, the print media has been largely unsuccessful.

The failure of print media in delivering news untainted by obvious viewpoint is more perilous than the other Islamophobic propaganda bombarding Americans from the blogosphere, books and even television claiming to provide news. Moderate Americans can recognize the biases in Spencer’s books or on Fox News. These opinions are outright and for the most part obvious. Print media bias, however, requires a trained journalistic eye to discover, making it invisible and therefore more treacherous.

Reporters, publishers, and editors must be aware of prejudices against Islam and erase them whenever possible in published news. Protecting reliability of news will present the American public with a clearer picture of what it means to be a Muslim, both in America and in the Middle East.

Uneven Coverage Between Islam and Christianity

Use of the term “Islamic terrorism” in print media exhibits Islamophobia. Respected news outlets from the New York Times to the Boston Globe quickly jump to use the phrase when discussing everything from suicide bombers in the Middle East to State Senate meetings in New York. Instead of condemning a specific person who, through an unaccepted interpretation of the Qur’an commits violence, newspapers condemn the entire religion of Islam and its followers with the term. Why is it necessary to let a few fanatics determine the coverage of millions of people?

A search on shows many mentions of “Islamic terrorism” in the last thirty days. A search for “Christian terrorism” returns only one result in the form of a user comment[5]. Radical followers of Christianity, like radical followers of Islam, have used holy books to justify violence, yet newspapers do not treat the faiths uniformly.

For example in 2005, the New York Times covered the trial of Eric Rudolph, who was charged with bombing an abortion clinic among other bombings throughout the United States. His motivations were clearly based in an extreme interpretation of Christian theology. He even quoted the New Testament in his trial, saying, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept my faith” (Dewan). Although the New York Times used his quote, the article refrained from using the phrase “Christian terrorist.” If his motivations were based in Islamic theology, the term “Islamic terrorism” would surely have been applied with full force.

Why does such a difference exist? Bombings from both groups are justified using passages within their holy books, yet one article jumps to condemning an entire religion, while the other refuses to condemn the religion, instead condemning the person. Even in the Rudolph article, the New York Times reported the judge in the case, Judge Lynwood Smith, comparing Rudolph to “religious extremists who set off bombs in subways and fly airplanes into buildings” (Dewan). Rudolph does not need to be simply compared to “religious extremists,” he is the very embodiment of religious extremism; however, in this case, with the judge’s reference to 9/11, he was clearly speaking specifically of Islamic-motivated acts of terrorism. The connotation is that Islamic terrorist acts are somehow far worse than Rudolph’s brand of Christian terrorism.

The difference in coverage between Rudolph and so-called Islamic terrorists shows the uneven treatment between Islamic and Christian extremists. With the Christian faith, individuals are shown to be just that, individuals, with their own extreme interpretation of the Bible. With Islam, individuals are shown to be a representative of a violent group subscribing to a religious faith steeped in brutality. To decrease Islamophobia, newspapers must end disparities in coverage of religion. Writers must be aware of their own biases and seek to eliminate evidence in their work. Editors must read articles involving religion and terrorism with a close eye, verifying criticisms concentrate on individuals, not entire faiths, and that reporting among religions is equal.

The Paradox of Us Versus Them

Print media outlets continue to needlessly explain differences between United States and Middle Eastern cultures, painting the groups as fundamentally different. The perceived diversity, as Edward Said points out in Orientalism, was entirely manmade by the West and was formed out of a power-complex instead of from necessity. Journalists seem to feel the East cannot represent itself and instead, must be continually interpreted and explained by Western journalists (Vultee 625).

Most cultural differences needing to be explained are actually common human emotions, shared by both Middle Easterners and Americans. Yet, instead of concentrating on common human emotions, journalists represent the East with their own cultural explanations or consult experts. Journalists rarely seek comments from the Orient, and when they do, the comments are from leaders, not the average citizen. This type of sourcing leaves either Western journalists and experts, who most likely do not possess immense knowledge about the region and its customs, to represent the East or leaders who may have ulterior motives speaking for it. To correct misrepresentation, journalists must ask the Orient to represent itself, as they ask groups of Americans to represent themselves.

The following examples seem to claim common human threads of emotion fail to exist between the Middle East and Americans and thus, require journalists to explain culture.

After the U.S. security firm Blackwater Worldwide killed seventeen Iraqi civilians, including a ten-year-old boy, and injured two dozen more, the Los Angeles Times ran an article in 2008 discussing the tragedy. The article concentrated on the refusal of Mohammed Hafidh Abdul-Razzaq to accept money from the United States to compensate for his son’s death. In explaining this refusal, the journalists wrote “the shooting and its aftermath show the deep disconnect between the American legal process and the traditional culture of Iraq” (Daragahi and Salman). The article further explained the man’s refusal by saying “traditional Arab society values honor and decorum above all” (Daragahi and Salman).

The New York Times also felt the need to justify actions of Afghans — which would be common in any culture — by invoking stereotypes of the Arab world, adding to the perception that the Middle East and Islam are vitally distinctive from American culture. The New York Times was covering the Afghan Council of Ministers’ decision to reconsider the presence of international forces in the country following a spike in civilian casualties. The article explained, “heavy-handed bombing raids and house raids” are actually “culturally unacceptable by many Afghans who guard their privacy fiercely” (Gall). The article further stated, “the detention of hundreds of suspects for years without trial at the Bagram air base and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have stirred up Afghans’ strong independent streak and ancient dislike of invaders” (Gall).

Why is it necessary to invoke shallow cultural stereotypes to explain such common human emotions as refusing to accept cash payment for the death of your ten-year-old son or not wanting your house raided? The compulsion of journalists to continually interpret Eastern culture paints the region as essentially alien to the West, increasing distrust, Islamophobia, and a mantra of “us” Americans or Europeans against all “those” non-Europeans (FAIR 5; Orientalism 7).

To decrease suspicion of Muslims, both abroad and domestically, journalists need to realize that whether Afghan or American, Muslim or Christian, humans are basically the same. Cultural explanations by journalists should be edited out in favor of emotional responses. Said claimed journalists approach stories about the Orient “as a European or American first, as an individual second” (Orientalism 11).  American journalists covering the region and its people should spend time in the Middle East and employ the use of a translator if they do not speak the language. Journalists need to recognize even though food, dress and customs may differ from American culture, humans are essentially alike. This realization will help journalists begin to approach stories as humans first, Americans second.

Headline Bias

            Media outlets contribute to America’s Islamophobia with headline bias. Headlines often connect Islam with terrorism or extremism, even if the article has little to do with Islam. For instance, the New York Post ran an op-ed column in 2009 by Steve Emerson —a notorious Islamophobe in his own right — about limiting access to documents[6] that could incite violence in prisons (FAIR 14). The headline read, “Radicals in Our Prisons: How to Stop the Muslim Extremists Recruiting Inmates to Terrorism” (Emerson).

In reporting on Representative Peter T. King’s McCarthy-style hearings on American Muslims, the Los Angeles Times ran a headline reading, “House hearing showcases disagreement on radicalization of U.S. Muslims” (Serrano). The headline makes the radicalization of America Muslims seem like something certain and in the midst of occurring, which, of course, is not the case.

To prevent headline bias, copy editors, editors and publishers must change their editing protocol to thoroughly check headlines for any underlying biases. As with other types of Islamophobia shown in the print media, these biases are most likely not included intentionally, but knowledge of their existence is necessary to stop Islamophobia in print media and in America.

Bias Through Story Selection

            American media also fuels Islamophobia through story selection. While stories appear on Christianity regularly in the mainstream media — as do stories on Islam — the Christian stories follow a wide range of topics. A search of the word “Christianity” in the last 30 days of New York Times coverage returns stories on a range of topics including music (“Jesus Christ Rock Star”), a feature story about an international church (“A Preacher’s Message Catches Fire in Ukraine”), and a group called Trinity Grace, seeking to build churches in New York (“Evangelical Group sees N.Y.C. as Incubator to Plant Churches”). Conducting the same search on “Islam” returns results marked by protests against Islam in America (“Terry Jones is Jailed Over Planned Protest at Dearborn Mosque”), connections with Jihad and terrorism (“Al Qaeda Stirs Again”), and attempts to portray Islamic culture as far-off from American culture (“Yemeni Women Protest, Offended by Leader’s Remarks”). By only running these types of stories, publishers cause Americans to have a negative association with Islam, connecting the word with terrorism, violent jihad, and conflict.

In terms of story selection, the media also gives far too much attention to absurd and obviously misinformed Islamophobes. The great amount of reporting causes Americans to overestimate the amount of people who are out-rightly against Islam. This type of over-hyped attention by media led to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Communism scare. Media should not repeat its mistake. For example, Pastor Terry Jones’s threat to burn Qur’ans — eventually realized in a trial-like format at his church in Florida — received far too much media coverage. The church, containing maybe two dozen people, received roughly the same amount of coverage in some media outlets as the recent earthquake in Japan. In a recent USA Today article, Ibrahim Hooper is quoted saying “Terry Jones had his 15 minutes of fame and we’re not going to help him get another few minutes” (Banks). Jones received far more than fifteen minutes of fame. He received a completely unwarranted amount of news play, especially in right-wing media outlets.

The media also gave entirely too much attention to rumors that President Obama was a Muslim. The percentage of Americans who actually thought Obama was Islamic before the media campaign was undoubtedly less than the amount who believed the rumor after the increased press coverage. People who spread the rumor obviously considered the classification of Muslim as an insult and as something detrimental to Obama’s political campaign. The media, for the most part, accepted the rumor as an insult, calling the gossip “a ‘smear’ (New York Times, 1/17/08; ABC News 12/5/07), an ‘unsubstantiated charge’ (Washington Post, 6/28/08), or an example of ‘nasty and false attacks’ (New York Times, 1/17/08)” (FAIR 23). Media did not react to the clear Islamophobia and prejudice by critics and “often accepted the idea that there was something suspicious or bad about being Muslim” (FAIR 23).

These trivial stories determine the American view of Islam. Voltee summarized the point well, speaking of Fox coverage, however, his conclusion can certainly be applied to other media. He said, “What Fox does is act as a collator — a clearinghouse of unrelated and often quite unremarkable developments that, taken together, create a clear and ideological dialogue with its audience about how to relate to and interpret the Islamic world” (623). Journalists must seek to present a more accurate picture of the diverse world of Islam, with its “more than 800,000,000 people, its millions of square miles of territory principally in Africa and Asia, its dozens of societies, states, histories, geographies, cultures” (Said Covering Islam x).

Word Usage Bias

Print media also contributes to negative associations of Islam by using inaccurate words such as “Islamofacism.” Before 2001, the term was used only twice in English-speaking newspapers, both in British Media. Since 2001, the use of the term has skyrocketed. In 2001, Islamofacism was used twelve times. In 2002, it was used sixty-nine times, and in 2003, it was used ninety-two. This increase continued until 2006 when it was used 594 times within leading newspapers (FAIR 18).

If the term “Islamofacism” is so popular, surely it must have a purpose? The term does little else than link “an entire religion to the violent and intolerant actions of a minority claiming to act in its name” (FAIR 18). Harvard historian Niall Ferguson considers the word to be nothing but propaganda: “It’s just a way of making us feel that we’re the ‘greatest generation’ fighting another World War, like the war our fathers and grandfathers fought” (FAIR 19). If Islamofacism has no meaning and is misrepresentative, media should refrain from using it.

The media regularly uses the term “jihad.” Most Americans are unfamiliar with the meaning of jihad, which means struggle. In the Qur’an, jihad primarily means the struggle within oneself to be a good person and next refers to a holy war, similar to the holy wars described in the Bible. Most Americans consider the word to refer to some violent plot of Western domination by Muslims. This definition simply is not correct, yet media continues to use “jihad” frequently, knowing its connotation. If one were writing a book for immigrants who were learning English, the writer would not insert a slew of English idioms sure to be misinterpreted by the audience. Since the American audience, and apparently the American media, fails to grasp the concept of jihad, the media should stop using the term. Invoking lazy and incorrect stereotypes of a religious faith is not necessary; find a more accurate word.


The American public clearly exhibits Islamophobia. Suspicion towards an entire religion is dangerous to American first amendment rights, as the fear tramples on Muslim’s right to practice their own religion and forces them practically into hiding. The Islamophobia in America largely stems from misinformation and negative association with Islam built from seemingly educational resources, the blogosphere, and even the American government.

The press has largely contributed to America’s Islamophobia with broadcast media commonly spreading its own prejudices and print media displaying biases through story selection and headline bias, which would be undetectable to a citizen not steeped in the profession. Thus, Islamophobia is more dangerous in print media because it is less overt.

Although journalists and publishers most likely do not consider their stories to be critical of Islam, continued negative coverage and the use of inaccurate terms influence readership. Newspapers should take great care in their story selection involving Islam and the Middle East and should refuse to give in to these exhibited biases.

The hope for a decline in Islamophobia rests primarily on the shoulders of journalists. The profession of journalism must strive to present the most correct version of the truth available. As Oscar Wilde said “journalism is the first rough draft of history.” If Islamophobia continues, our future both as Americans and as a world looks violent, bleak, and heading towards further international conflict. Journalists are charged with forming history and must not fail, even at the risk of abandoning their own American prejudices, values and character.

Journalists, as Edward Said described, have a great deal of power in acting as the gatekeepers of information. The profession controls how Americans view both the Middle East and Islam. In a time of conflict, journalists must seek to erase Islamophobia and publish the most accurate account possible. Otherwise, the profession is indeed losing relevancy. If journalists cannot seek the truth through a world of white noise, they are nothing.


 Works Cited

Banks, Adelle M. “Florida Pastor Oversees Quran Burning.” USA Today 21 Mar. 2011. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

Daragahi, Borzou and Raheem Salman. “Grieving Iraqis Want Honor First, Not Money.” New York Times 4 May 2008. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

Dewan, Shaila. “Victims Have Say as Birmingham Bomber is Sentenced.” New York Times 19 Jul. 2005. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

Emerson, Steven. “Radicals in Our Prisons: How To Stop the Muslim Extremists Recruiting Inmates To Terrorism.” The New York Post 23 May 2009. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. “Smearcasting: How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry and Misinformation.” FAIR Oct. 2008. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.

Gall, Carlotta. “Afghans Want a Deal on Foreign Troops.” New York Times 25 Aug. 2008. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

O’Neal, E. “Re: Police Issue Report on ‘Homegrown’ Terror Threat.” The New York Times, 15 Aug. 2007. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

“Public Remains Conflicted Over Islam.” The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life by Pew Research Center 24 Aug. 2010. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.

Randal, Jonathan C. “Students Spurn Partial Release: Iranians Soften Terms on Hostages.” Washington Post 16 Nov. 1979: A1+. Web. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. 22 Apr. 2011

“Religion in the News: Islam Was No. 1 Topic in 2010.” The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life by Pew Research Center 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978. Print.

—. Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. New York: Pantheon Books, 1981. Print.

Serrano, Richard. “House Hearing Showcases Disagreement on Radicalization of U.S. Muslims.” Los Angeles Times 10 Mar. 2011. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

Spencer, Robert. Islam Unveiled:  Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith. San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002. Print.

—. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2005. Print.

—. The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2006. Print.

“The Future of the Global Muslim Population.” The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life by Pew Research Center 27 Jan. 2011. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.

“U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey.” The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life by Pew Research Center 26 Sept. 2010. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.

Vultee, Fred. “Jump Back Jack, Mohammed’s Here.” Journalism Studies 10.5 (2009): 623-38. Print.

[1] The Pew Research Center predicts the number of Muslims worldwide will grow from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030. The Muslims population is expected to grow at twice the rate of non-Muslim populations over the next twenty years (“The Future of the Global Muslim Population”).

[2] Unfavorable opinions of Islam are far more common among Republicans (fifty-four percent) than among Democrats (twenty-one percent). The view of Republicans and independents are both negative, while the Democratic view on Islam is positive (“The Public Remains Conflicted Over Islam.”) Positive opinions of Islam have declined since 2005.

[3] Forty-two percent of Americans said Islam does not encourage violence more than other religions and twenty-four percent had no opinion.

[4] The government has employed Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes, who is known for such absurd thinking as linking the Oklahoma City bombing to Islamic groups. Pipes was appointed by George W. Bush as director of the U.S. Institute of Peace in 2003 (FAIR 10).

[5] The comment, in reference to Eric Rudolph, read, “he was a self-styled Christian terrorist and about the only one I can think of. Why? because 99+% of Christians were sickened by his actions….If the Muslim community would ever turn against these psychos and ostracize them the way the Rudolph types are ostracized by Christians, the problem would end. We’re seeing something similar today in Iraq with the Sunnis repudiating Al Qaeda, and eventually I hope this spreads to western Muslims” (O’Neal).

[6] Emerson concentrated on “Wahhabist literature, Muslim Brotherhood tracts calling for jihad [and] Saudi produced Qurans that exude hatred for Jews and Christians” (Emerson).


Thesis Copyright 2011 by Lindsey Cook. Contact me for more information.


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