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Changing Stereotypes of Arab and Muslims that Link Them to Terrorism and Extremism - Essay Example

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Changing Stereotypes of Arab and Muslims That Link Them to Terrorism And Extremism  Date Changing Stereotypes of Arab and Muslims That Link Them to Terrorism And Extremism Not all Muslim women wear headscarves and neither do all Muslim men have long, unkempt beards…
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Changing Stereotypes of Arab and Muslims that Link Them to Terrorism and Extremism
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Changing Stereotypes of Arab and Muslims that Link Them to Terrorism and Extremism

I believe it is our media’s responsibility to straighten up the Muslim image in publics minds, by giving a voice to the real Muslims of America. Everyone has a tendency to stereotype in order to simplify his or her lives. Stereotypes are the maps of the world and aptly demonstrate the very human need to categorize. People like to stereotype to serve a fundamental need to preserve their own safety and well-being. Therefore, people end up making presumptions about persons and groups that say how they will end up affecting these people. However, sometimes that need transforms into a vehicle to elevate one’s own status as compared to the stereotype group. Muslims and Muslim-Americans are currently experiencing this very phenomenon. After the attacks of September 11, Muslims and Arabs have been subjected to increased scrutiny and racial profiling at airports. In a poll carried out by the Boston Globe, 71 percent black people and 57 percent whites expressed the belief that Arabs and Muslims should be put through special, intensive security checks before they are allowed to board airplanes. ("Terror fears hamper,”) It is considered quite acceptable and even necessary to hold Muslims without any explanation and then subject them to hours of questioning and even arrest without a cause. The American civil Liberties Union is sorting out many lawsuits of the kind. Mike Gallagher, a Fox News radio host has even gone on to say that, "It's time to have a Muslims check-point line in America's airports and have Muslims be scrutinized. You better believe it, it's time." (Cowan, 2001) ("Fox news airs,”) In a sixth grade social studies book, the Muslim culture is portrayed as oppressive and patriarchal. The book displays pictures of camels, tents and veiled women. The authors say that Muslim girls do not go to school and women cannot own property. At the end, the authors ask, “Would you like to be a Muslim woman in Middle East?” There are many examples like this one, of stereotyping Muslims based on the culture and traditions prevalent in one country. (Shaheen) It is a glaring assumption to presume that Muslim women all over the world are oppressed, helpless creatures. They are usually portrayed as vague, shapeless people clad in a burqa, covered from head to toe standing silently behind a man. Muslim women are submissive and silent. How does this compare to the reality of Muslim women’s lives? In actuality, a majority of Muslim women do not look like that. Yes, many do cover their heads and dress modestly but it is out of choice for most Muslim women. The Afghan-Pashtun style, head-to-toe burqa is only prevalent in Afghanistan and border areas of Pakistan and has just as much cultural importance as religious. In addition, Muslim women are active participants in their familial and societal lives. Their biggest difficulties are those of any women from a developing nation; namely poverty, lack of education, cultural boundaries, war related troubles and other social problems. Yes, some of them may be linked to practice of Islam and many cannot as Muslim women share issues with many women of other faiths all over the world. Their lifestyles depend on where the Muslim woman lives. Her problems are dependent on her family’s cultures and traditions, economic class, whether she lives in an urban or rural environment and her own level of education. These are a complex set of factors and cannot simply be reduced to ... Read More
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