SINCE the turn of the century, tragic events like 9/11, terrorist attacks, conflicts and political violence across the Middle East have been overwhelming.
Western nations have had to confront a steep learning curve in respect to Islam and the Muslim world. This challenge has been made more difficult by media coverage that is often sensation, lacking in context and misrepresents the diversity of Muslim people.
My new book, Media Framing of the Muslim World, co-authored with Associate Professor Jacquie Ewart and John Martinkus from the University of Tasmania, examines how news about Islam is produced and consumed. While not the first written on media coverage of the Muslim world, it’s unique in the way it engages with key concepts, theories and issues in media studies as they pertain to Islam-West relations.
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The book’s main premise is that mainstream media coverage was largely responsible for the often, sometimes misguided, public perceptions of the Muslim world. Recent developments in the Middle East indicate a reversal of the democratic gains of the Arab Spring and there seems to be no end in sight to the civil war in Syria and conflict in Iraq.
Meanwhile, in Western countries, news stories about Muslims have focussed on the threat of home-grown terrorism as well as the infiltration of terrorist cells from overseas and, as we have seen from recent events, the backlash to the Australian Muslim community is frightening, despite attempts by government leaders to quell unrest. Muslim culture and religious practice have also come under scrutiny, raising debates about national values, the failure of multiculturalism and the challenges to social cohesion posed by migrants and asylum seekers.
We hope this book will help resolve some of these important issues and foster a better understanding of Islam and the Muslim World.
[signoff icon=”icon-username”]Halim Rane
Associate Professor of Islam-West Relations, Griffith University
He formerly worked for the Australian Government Department of Immigration. His research is interdisciplinary, encompassing media studies, sociology and international relations. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Islamic and Muslim issues including Media Framing of the Muslim World: Conflicts, Crises and Contexts and Making Australian Foreign Policy on Israel-Palestine: Media Coverage, Public Opinion and Interest Groups.[/signoff]