Why the phrase ‘The Muslim world’ is misleading

In my latest Al Jazeera column, I take on the misguided use of the phrase ‘the Muslim world’ to describe the very small number of Muslims participating in violent action against the West:

It is time to retire the phrase “the Muslim world” from the Western media. Using the phrase in the manner above disregards not only history and politics, but accurate reporting of contemporary events. The protests that took place around the world ranged in scale and intensity, in the participants’ willingness to use violence, and in their rationales. The majority of the “Muslim world” did not participate in these protests, nor did all of the Muslims who protested the video advocate the bloodshed that took place in Libya.

By reducing a complex set of causes and conflicts to the rage of an amorphous mass, the Western media reinforce the very stereotype of a united, violent “Muslim world” that both the makers of the anti-Islam video and the Islamist instigators of the violence perpetuate.

Read the full article here.

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1 Response to Why the phrase ‘The Muslim world’ is misleading

  1. Maria Khan says:

    Excellent article. Thanks for such a thoughtful analysis. And may I add that its not just the western media, but generally media all over that makes this generalization. A mob of violent protesters definitely catches the eye of the media hence the images are repeatedly flashed on our TV screens and in the newspapers – and the story that goes with these images conflates this group (however, big or small) to the entire Muslim country in question or the “Muslim world”. Clearly this serves the agenda of the right-wingers who suddenly emerge empowered given their “influence” to move entire nations to protest. It is this hyper-conflation that has kept the religious parties in politics in Pakistan. In other words, they badly lose in elections and have very little voter base but their apparent “ability to conjure up violent mobs” gives them a mainstay in politics and the government and the army in Pakistan treat them as political players, albeit inferior ones.
    Again, great article!

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