Hamas is best known throughout the world for carrying out Suicide bombings and other homicidal attacks against Israeli civilians to further its goal of creating an Islamic Republic of Palestine in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
However, the views of these Islamist movements as portrayed by the Western media has also shifted ideologically even though they are still, at large, dispersed in both positive and negative directions. In particular, the way the media of the West has recorded speeches delivered by the leaders of these groups is moving in a different direction. This research study is, therefore, aimed to initiate an investigation into the area of an ideological shift in the portrayal of these speeches and rhetoric by Western media. To make it more precise, this issue will be addressed from the viewpoint of the British and French media and how they have shifted in depicting the speeches and rhetoric of Osama bin Laden and Hamas movement of Palestine. The aim here is to look into the underlying causes of this shift, the way these speeches were portrayed before and the way they are portrayed now.
The west waged a war against Afghanistan's fundamentalist groups and then against the dictator leadership in Iraq. However, the true war started right after the collapse of the twin towers when the TV screens, newspapers and magazines of the west launched a media attack against those suspected in the attacks. Islam was defined as a portrait of Bin Laden and terrorism. The term Islamic Fundamentalist was given life as a very negative, degrading or anti-western term in the western dominated media. As a result, a counter attack was launched by Islamist movements. Interviews of Bin Laden were published in the Middle Eastern press, videotapes were launched, audio files released widely over the internet casting views of these movements. The reaction of the West to these releases can however be seen as a transition of responses in which, initially the portrayal was very negative but gradually it entered into reasonableness. Forums and discussions started taking place in which both Western ideologists and Muslim scholars took part.
While a marked improvement in the perception of Islam within the Western countries can be acknowledged, yet the beleaguering tendency to portray a distorted image of Islam within their media still remains intact. This study will, therefore, enable a better understanding of why these media were biased, if ever and what exactly are the ways that should be adopted to remove any biasness if there ever was.
According to a discussion conducted by the BBC on perceptions of Islam in the British media, "Islam in the British media will continue to improve. More and more journalists are now anxious to pursue the truth. The BBC world Service in English has frequently sought Liberty's opinion on and analysis of developments in various parts of the Arab world. Today many more journalists and producers than ever before are anxious to provide their audience with fuller stories, clearer pictures and fairer images.". (Perceptions of Islam in the BBC and other Western media)
The fact cannot be denied about recent awareness on the part of some journalists, TV and radio producers and commentators of covering some Islamic issues in a more objective manner. The coverage of the Bosnian tragedy as well as of the Chechnyan problem by the British media has been quite fair in spite of the biased policy of the