With the destruction and chaos that came with the end of the colonial rule after World War 2, much of the Islamic world became the victim of corrupt regimes, religious extremism, and foreign intervention. As Edward Said put it: “In part, of course, that is because the Middle East, the Arabs, and Islam have continued to fuel enormous change, struggle, controversy, and, as I write these lines, war”.
The political instability so much a part of much of the Islamic world stems from the instable atmosphere of many of these countries (especially the Arab ones) and the fact that they are home to most of the world’s oil supply. The oil brings the interest of many Western governments to do things that, if the oil was not there, they would probably not do. To that of course must be added that most people have the negative image of Muslims as terrorists and extremists largely due to their negative depiction in the media. There is “a striking lack of clarity and an atmosphere of incomprehension that can only generate suspicion and fear” (Ramadan 2007, p. 23). This situation is not helped by the fact that so many scholars in the West believe that Muslims are by nature “radical” and that Islam in general is incompatible with the West and/or globalization.
In order combat these images and the potential conflict there is a lot people in Muslim countries could do. First and foremost Muslim governments should attempt to have their voice heard more clearly and more often in Western media. It is clear that Muslims have an image problem in the world’s media. There should be an organized effort to reach out to people to show them that Islam has much more to it than radicals and terrorists.