Muslims have been faced with stereotypes since the 7th century AD or the Byzantine Empire era. But what started and continued the stereotype has been through the usage of media. Whether it be in the form of a movie, T.V. shows, or news, the concept of presenting Muslims as terrorists has existed for decades. However, today, some media reinforces, challenges or equally challenges and reinforces this stereotype. And one of the media that equally reinforces and challenges this stereotype is The New York Times.
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The New York Times, originally, The New York Daily Times was founded by two people: Henry Jarvis Raymond, a journalist and politician, and George Jones, a former banker, on September 18, 1851 (David 3). In 1857, the start of the Civil War, "the 'Daily' had been dropped from the title (David 46). Since then, The New York Times had won "2 Pulitzers, bringing its total wins to 127" (The New York Times Company).
After observing five articles of The New York Times, I have found that the stereotype, of Muslims are Terrorists seems to be both equally reinforced and challenged to different degrees.
This is shown through articles regarding events on Muslims.
From the past 5 weeks of researching my stereotype through 5 different articles in The New York Times, it can be seen that The New York Times equally reinforces, and challenges Muslims are terrorist stereotypes through the different events regarding Muslims. The articles that reinforced the idea that Muslims are terrorist are:
- "A DAY OF TERROR: THE TIES; In U.S., Echoes of Rift Of Muslims and Jews" by Laurie Goodstein,
- "A DAY OF TERROR: THE MILITANT; America the Vulnerable Meets a Ruthless Enemy" by John F. Burns., and
- "In Paris Knife Attack, Police Ask How They Missed a Killer in Their Midst" by Adam Nossiter.
From these articles, it can be shown that the reinforcement of the stereotype is through events regarding attacks conducted by Muslims. The first two articles, by Goodstein and Burns shows the aftermath of the four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group. For an example, in the article "A DAY OF TERROR: THE TIES; In U.S., Echoes of Rift Of Muslims and Jews" by Laurie Goodstein, a national religion correspondent for The New York Times, Goodstein stated that the Muslims community has been targeted by people around the world. This is stated in the article, "Muslim women in headscarves are advised to stay indoors. Mosques and Muslim schools in Los Angeles were shut down, and Muslim leaders in Michigan and other states reported receiving telephone threats" (Goodstein). This shows that with the event of 9/11, people's belief of Muslims being terrorists is being reinforced and getting stronger with every event.
In addition to this article, the article "A DAY OF TERROR: THE MILITANT; America the Vulnerable Meets a Ruthless Enemy" by John F. Burns., a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Burns also reinforces this belief. This is shown in the article when Burns tried to incite fear towards the reader. For example, in his article, Burns stated: "On the tape, Mr. bin Laden read a chilling poem with themes that have a powerful resonance among Muslims with the grievances against America." This shows that Burns is trying to make readers subconsciously associate the Muslim community to Bin Laden by using the phrase "resonance among Muslims" causing people to increase their hate and discrimination towards the Muslim community (Burns).
Last but not least, the event of the Paris knife attack also reinforces the idea of Muslims being terrorists. In the article "In Paris Knife Attack, Police Ask How They Missed a Killer in Their Midst" by Adam Nossiter, a Paris bureau chief at The New York Times, Nossiter stated that Mickaël H., an Islam converter, had murdered 4 people by stabbing (Nossiter). This incident reinforces the idea of Islam being a dangerous religion by using Mickaël H. as evidence. Although all these articles show the reinforcement of the idea of Muslims as terrorists, there are also articles that challenge this idea.
The article that challenges this idea is "The Muslims Are Coming" by Wajahat Ali, and "Mar-a-Lago Won't Host Anti-Muslim Group's Gala, Trump Organization Says" by Mariel Padilla. Both of these articles challenge this idea by presenting Muslims as people that are not a threat to our country.
For example, in the article "The Muslims Are Coming" by Wajahat Ali, a New York Times contributing op-ed writer, Ali explains the influx of Muslims coming to America and running for political positions in the U.S. Wajahat. Ali also explains that this influx of Muslims had led people to be feared. This is shown in the article when Ali stated,
"for some Americans — those who support a travel ban, a wall along the Mexican border and increased restrictions on refugees, all while holding on to the ridiculous belief that the world's 1.8 billion Muslim hate America, despite the fact that it's home to nearly 3.5 million of us — that statement probably inspires fear" (Ali).
However, this fear have also caused many Muslims to enter the political position because they want "people [to] recognize I am someone who is a public servant working to create a better society, who just happens to be a Muslim refugee" stated by Ms. Omar a member of U.S. House of Representative from Minnesota (Ali). This article shows that there are still people that believe that Muslims who are coming into the U.S. are terrorists and should be kicked out, and because of this fact, many Muslims are stepping out and running for political positions around the U.S. some include Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, a former state representative and a daughter of Palestinian immigrants, and Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American and refugee from Kenya.
In addition to this article, the article "Mar-a-Lago Won't Host Anti-Muslim Group's Gala, Trump Organization Says" by Mariel Padilla, a reporter based in New York, shows the AntiMuslim Group, ACT for America, being denied access to hold their annual gala at Mar-a-Logo.
This shows that one of the largest Anti-Muslim group that is known for its history of "Islamophobia and associations with white supremacist and racist organizations" being rejected, proves to show that people are starting to believe that not all Muslims are terrorists (Padilla).
Although these past 5 weeks of analyzing 5 articles regarding The New York Times is not a large sample, it is enough to present an argument arguing The New York Times reinforcing and challenging the stereotype of Muslim are terrorists. However, future research will need to be conducted to solidify this argument.
Ali, Wajahat. "The Muslims Are Coming." The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Oct. 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/30/opinion/election-muslim-candidatespolitics.html?searchResultPosition=11. Accessed Date 14 Oct. 2019.
Burns, John F. "America the Vulnerable Meets a Ruthless Enemy." The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Sept. 2001, https://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/12/us/a-day-ofterror-the-militant-america-the-vulnerable-meets-a-ruthless-enemy.html. Accessed Date 23 Sept. 2019.
Davis, Elmer. History of The New York Times 1851-1921. The New York Times, 1921. Accessed Date 28 Oct. 2019
Goodstein, Laurie. "In U.S., Echoes of Rift Of Muslims and Jews." The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Sept. 2001, https://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/12/us/a-day-ofterror-the-ties-in-us-echoes-of-rift-of-muslims-and-jews.html. Accessed Date 23 Sept. 2019.
Nossiter, Adam. "In Paris Knife Attack, Police Ask How They Missed a Killer in Their Midst." The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Oct. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/05/world/europe/paris-knifeattack.html?module=inline. Accessed Date 21 Oct. 2019.
Padilla, Mariel. "Mar-a-Lago Won't Host Anti-Muslim Group's Gala, Trump Organization Says." The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Oct. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/05/us/anti-muslim-mar-alago.html?searchResultPosition=1. Accessed Date 10 Oct. 2019.
Wright, Robert. "Islamophobia and Homophobia." The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Oct. 2010, https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/26/islamophobia-andhomophobia/?searchResultPosition=3. Accessed Date 4 Oct. 2019.
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