Islamophobia and the terrorist attack in New Zealand

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Makkah

PREPARE yourself for the following numbers. The terrorist attack perpetrated by a Muslim individual receives 357 percent more publicity than one committed by a man from another faith.

Take for example the recent terrorist operation in New Zealand, where a Christian Rightwing extremist fired machine gun at Muslim worshippers inside a mosque killing at least 50 people and wounding scores of others. The victims included the elderly, women and children.

The number of casualties from the attack is shocking and it is evidence for the fact that Islamophobia is spreading among the Westerners.

The number of extremist and terrorist attacks against innocent Muslims in Western countries is on the increase. The media gives extensive negative coverage to Muslims, which in turn results in expected negative reaction, especially when issues involving Muslim individuals get exaggerated.

Suppose a terrorist attack takes place in New York City and the perpetrator is by a white, Christian, rightwing extremist. Let us say that terrorist operation generated 100 breaking news headlines on the TV. However, if the same attack was carried out by a Muslim extremist, with the only change being the religion of the perpetrator, the incident would generate 357 percent more headlines.

This huge disparity in the coverage of terrorist operations carried out by Muslim individuals was brought to light by research conducted at the University of Alabama, US.

The study examined all terrorist attacks that took place inside the United States between 2006 and 2015. It found that a terrorist attack carried out by a non-Muslim would generate an average of 15 headlines in the media. This average, however, increases multiple times when the attack involves a Muslim individual.

The study took into account the gravity of the attacks including the number of dead and wounded for comparison, so the result would be more accurate and not biased.

The study showed that the number of terrorist attacks carried out in the United States between 2006 and 2016 by rightwing Christian extremist groups was double the number of terrorist acts committed by Muslims. This was also confirmed by research conducted the British newspaper The Guardian.

This highlights the cultural bias and stereotyping against Muslims in both electronic and print media, which is far away from reality and which is a threat to the secular fabric of Western societies.

Why do they consider the Muslims as a threat and danger, while the real danger, according to common sense and the numbers available, is from rightwing Christian extremism.

This cultural bias may be intentional or may be ingrained in the public conscience. This is why many American channels are reluctant to describe a white rightwing extremist as a terrorist. They will, instead, use expressions such as psychopath or mentally unstable to describe them.


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