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Understanding perceptions of Muslims in the news

This book considers how the coverage of Islam and Muslims in the press informs the thoughts and actions of non-Muslims. As media plays an important role in society, analysing its influence(s) on a person’s ideas and conceptualisations of people with another religious persuasion is important. News reports commonly feature stories discussing terrorism, violence, the lack of integration and compatibility, or other unwelcome or irrational behaviour by Muslims and Islam. Yet there is little research on how non-Muslims actually engage with, and are affected by, such reports. To address this gap, a content and discourse analysis of news stories was undertaken; verbal narratives or thoughts and actions of participants were then elicited using interviews and focus groups. The participant accounts point towards the normativity of news stories and their negotiated reception patterns. Individual orientations towards the media as an information source proved to be a significant factor behind the importance of news reports, with individually negotiated personal encounters with Muslims or Islam further affecting the meaning-making process. Participants negotiated media reports to fit their existing outlook on Islam and Muslims. This outlook was constructed through, and simultaneously supported by, news reports about Muslims and Islam. The findings suggest a co-dependency and co-productivity between news reports and participant responses. This research clearly shows that participant responses are (re)productions of local and personal contextuality, where the consequences of socially constructed depictions of Islam and Muslims engage rather than influence individual human thoughts and actions.

Laurens de Rooij

been pointed out earlier, the media informs the primary understandings and interpretations of the issues it discusses. But if the media reports are the sole source of information on Islam and Muslims, it is not surprising that the meaning of Islam and Muslims among the public reflects what is portrayed in the media. This means that to the British public, the media seems to be successful at informing them. If media portrayals are as impactful as some would suggest, then that raises questions about the impact of education, politics, and other areas of public and

in Islam in British media discourses
Laurens de Rooij

though Arab Islam, and Wahhabism in particular, is not the most prevalent form of Islam in Britain or globally, there exists in the media a pervasive presence of Arab Islam Muslims as they are portrayed in their struggle for dominance in the Middle East in order to ensure the hegemony of their version of Islam. In turn the descriptions of Islam that have become normative in the British press are reflective of power struggles in the larger Middle East, and Britain's involvement in them. This greatly reduces the agency and vibrancy of Muslims in Britain, as the Muslims

in Islam in British media discourses
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Toward an ethical vision
Meir Hatina

Secularism: tackling a demonized concept In their call for the depoliticization of Islam, Arab liberals spoke out in favor of secularization. But what did they mean by this term? Western scholars such as Charles Taylor and Bryan Wilson defined secularization as a process that changed a society in three ways: it freed the state and public space from the dictates of religion and shifted power from the religious establishment to the political system; it signified a decline in belief and religious practice, and an embrace of humanism and compassion; and it

in Arab liberal thought in the modern age
International perceptions
Francesco Cavatorta

6 Islamism and democracy: international perceptions The international dimension of the failed Algerian process of democratisation is an important part of the story because it not only contributes to explain such failure, but also because it indirectly addresses very important contemporary issues about the prospects of democracy in the Arab world. From the previous analysis, it emerges that it is around the emergence of the FIS as the largest opposition movement in Algeria that the whole transition turned. It is largely the rise of the Islamist movement that

in The international dimension of the failed Algerian transition
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British media as a discursive system
Laurens de Rooij

Unlike some topics presented in the media, which have been subjected to sustained academic analysis, research on the British media's representation of Islam is a recent phenomenon with important results. 1 Works in the broader context of the media treatment of religion, particularly “fundamentalism” have been increasing. Yet there has been little empirical research into the British media's treatment of religion and the influence it has on its potential audience(s), Al-Azami's analysis of the

in Islam in British media discourses
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Laurens de Rooij

Inspired by the apparent overtly negative coverage of Islam and Muslims by the mainstream press, by the increase in Islamophobia among non-Muslims in Europe, and by recent violent attacks on Muslims by non-Muslims, this book addresses how the news informs non-Muslims about Muslims and Islam. As the media plays an essential role in society, the analysis of its influences on a person's ideas and conceptualisations of people of another religious persuasion is an important social issue. News reports about Islam and Muslims commonly relate stories

in Islam in British media discourses
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Laurens de Rooij

In summation, how do depictions of Muslims and Islam in the news inform the thoughts and actions of non-Muslims in England? The way that non-Muslims use the news to inform themselves about Islam and Muslims is based on a triangulation of three things: (1) the role that the news and media take in an individual's life; (2) the opinion a person has of Muslims and Islam based on their pre-existent knowledge; and (3) the experiences and contact a person has with Muslims. But all this is framed with a personal narrative of the self, that is, the

in Islam in British media discourses
Laurens de Rooij

This research offers an important discussion of the audience's perspectives and reactions to their experience of Muslims and Islam in the media. Emerging clearly are a number of issues related to current media practices, including the importance of media on daily lived experiences, and the negotiation of meaning by participants in their media practices. Often the dominant issue in the news is Muslim terrorism and violence. This is consequently considered to be an important subject among the participants, and that is commensurable with their

in Islam in British media discourses
Author: Meir Hatina

Arab liberal thought in the modern age provides in-depth analysis of Arab liberalism, which, although lacking public appeal and a compelling political underpinning, sustained viability over time and remains a constant part of the Arab landscape. The study focuses on the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century, a period that witnessed continuity as well as change in liberal thinking. Post-1967 liberals, like their predecessors, confronted old dilemmas, socioeconomic upheavals, political instability, and cultural disorientation, but also demonstrated ideological rejuvenation and provided liberal thought with new emphases and visions. Arab liberals contributed to public debate on cultural, social, and political issues, and triggered debates against their adversaries. Displaying such attributes as skepticism, ecumenism, and confidence in Arab advancement, they burst onto the public scene in questioning the Arab status quo and advocating alternative visions for their countries. Their struggle for freedom of religion, secularism, individualism, democracy, and human rights meant more than a rethinking of Islamic tradition and Arab political culture. It aimed rather at formulating a full-fledged liberal project to seek an Arab Enlightenment. This book fills a major gap in the research literature, which has tended to overlook Middle Eastern liberalism in favor of more powerful and assertive forces embodied by authoritarian regimes and Islamic movements. The book is essential reading for scholars and students in the fields of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, intellectual history, political ideologies, comparative religion, and cultural studies.