Islam in the American Media
Today, the media is one of the most influential factors
in forming public opinion, for it instills in people either a sympathy
for or an aversion to a particular issue and gets them to accept
or oppose it. How the media has influenced the American people's
view of Islam is a case in point.
are not all the same. There is a community among the People
of the Book who are upright. They recite Allah's Signs throughout
the night, and they prostrate. (Qur’an 3: 113)
and the American Army
|(Above) Norfolk Naval Base
is the first base to open a prayer center for Muslim soldiers.
A Virginian Pilot report tells about this center.(Middle)
The first Muslim chaplain in the American Navy, Mangi Noel,
receives the requisite certification before assuming his duties.
||Above, The call to prayer in
the camp, (Middle) US soldiers at prayer, Lieutenant Abdullah
Al-Mubarak is seen giving an address at the second iftar meal
held at the Pentagon.
Until recently, Islam generally had a bad press in
certain sectors of the American media, which tried to convince
people that Islam was an Arab religion and that negative stereotypes
of Arabs were generally true. But this false information and prejudiced
view had exactly the opposite effect: Contrary to the expected
alienation of public opinion from Islam, it became the fastest
growing religion in America. These reports brought In this way, many
who knew nothing about Islam were informed and began to take an
interest in it. This is also a realization of the Qur'anic verse:
"It may be that you hate something when
it is good for you, and it may be that you love something when
it is bad for you. God knows and you do not know" (Qur'an, 2:
First of all, media reports that provided false information
about Islam were prevented, and the public was able to obtain accurate
information. Earlier, we mentioned that the American administration,
during the time of Secretary of State Albright, used methods of
mass communication to educate the people about Islam in order to
remove the social tension that could result from spreading false
information about Islam. The media also focused upon Muslims because
of the rapid growth of the Muslim population. Under the influence
of these two factors, during the 1990s Islam and Muslims became
one of the most important topics in the American media.
(Above) The US issued a postage
stamp commemorating Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, The U.S.
postage stamp highlighting Muslim holidays has been in use
since September 2001. The Eid stamp features the Arabic
phrase "Eid Mubarak" written in the tuluth calligraphic
style .(Below) A view of American Muslim leaders with a
special stamp being printed by the U.S. postal service.
Nearly all of these reports highlighted accurately
the way Muslims think and what they believe, and informed non-Muslims
about Islam. They explained the daily lives and worldviews of
Muslims, and gave prominence to the views of recent converts.
At the same time, these reports often contained special sections
on Islamic history, the fundamentals of Islam, and the Qur'an.
Internet pages belonging to radio and television stations also
presented the addresses of Islamic sites so that people could
obtain information more easily.
This process of information accelerated as a result
of the public interest after 9/11. Nearly all major newspapers
began to ask whether or not terrorism was inherent to Islam and
to offer comprehensive reports containing the views of academics,
clergy, historians, and social scientists. As a result, the American
people once again saw that Islam is a peaceful religion, and learned
that their religious beliefs had many things in common with those
of the Muslims.
This situation certainly played an important role in
the growing interest in Islam. During this time, many people who
were largely ignorant of Islam and did not have easy access to accurate
information could now educate themselves with relative ease.
desired to show kindness to those who were oppressed in the
land and to make them leaders and make them inheritors.