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Islam in America - Research Paper Example

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Islam in America I. Introduction Historical data show that several thousands of Muslims migrated to the United States of America, particularly from Ottoman Empire and South Asia between 1880 and 1914. Those immigrated Muslim population did not from separate settlements, but most of them assimilated into the diverse American society…
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Download file to see previous pages In 2005, nearly 96,000 people from various Islamic countries were accepted as legal permanent United States residents. According to a 2009 Gallup poll, American Muslims are identified to be a significant racially diverse religious group in the United States. This paper will discuss the way Muslims are perceived after the World Trade Center attack of 11 September, and the factors that contribute to the numerous issues with regard to stereotyping Muslim community. It will also put forward some thoughts and strategies to address those issues. II. Causes of Stereotyping Muslims A. Radical Muslims and Extremists While analyzing Islamism in a religious, social, and political context, the acts of some of the Islamic extremists seem to be the major cause of stereotyping Muslims. The PBS television program “Jihad in America” and the popular movie “True Lies” depicting the terrorist group “Crimson Jihad” caused the Muslims to get a negative image in the American society (“Struggling against stereotypes”). Recently, the use of the term “Jihad” is found to be the central issue of Muslims stereotyping. According to the Prophet Muhammad, the extreme form of jihad is one’s personal struggle to make himself a better Muslim. On the contrary, today some Islamic extremists link the term “Jihad” to “Holy war”. Evidently, interest groups that intend to preserve their subversive ideas on the strength of religious beliefs negatively affect the Muslim community as a whole. B. 9/11 Attacks According to Ghazali, the September 11 World Trade Center attacks by al-Qaeda, which caused the death of nearly 3000 people turned to be the major cause of Muslims stereotyping in the United States. Although al-Qaeda is not an affiliate of Islam religion, most of the people believe that the whole Muslims had interest behind the attack. The attack raised dreadful socio-economic challenges to the nation, that the government adopted a strict approach toward the Muslim immigration. This shift in governmental stance also placed the Muslim community under suspicion. In addition, the al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden had delivered a set of religious sensitive speeches followed by the attack, which also added to stereotyping Muslims. C. The Media showing Muslims as Terrorists One cannot undermine the role of media in growing Muslim stereotyping since the event of September 11. For instance, newspaper headlines regularly use the words ‘fanatic’, ‘militant’, ‘fundamentalist’, and ‘terrorist’ as next to the terms ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslim’. To illustrate; in 1995, the British newspaper Today (reported by Fatoohi) published heart-touching picture that depicted a fireman carrying burnt remains of a killed infant from the wreckage of a severe explosion. This picture was published along with a sensational headline: “In the name of Islam”. In addition, events such as Saddam Hussein’s wartime rhetoric and World Trade Center Bombing attained enormous media coverage as evidence of “Islamic fundamentalism” (“Struggling against stereotypes”). Media seem to have given intentional coverage to Islamic terrorism while ignoring rebellious activities of other religious groups. And, attacks against Muslim community often go unreported. Edward, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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