8 JIJIS 246 (2008)
Why Do They Hate U.S. - Exploring the Role of Media in Cultural Communication

handle is hein.journals/jijis8 and id is 250 raw text is: WHY DO THEY HATE U.S.? EXPLORING THE ROLE OF
MEDIA IN CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
Divya Sharma*
Utica College
ABSTRACT
The September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. jolted the social psyche of an average American,
and brought the question of why do they hate us, in the mainstream media. Since then, there
has been a barrage of violent images from other parts of the world that is shaping public
perceptions about Islam and Muslims in the U.S.. This article begins with a discussion on the
need of differentiating between Islam as being interpreted and applied in one cultural context
from the other, instead of relating every Islamic act around the world to American Muslims.
The tendency to look at American Muslims as outsiders reflects ignorance about Muslim
presence in the United Stated for over two centuries, and more problematically, it adds to
attitudes of hostility and negativity towards American Muslims. In the larger context of the
global war on terrorism, the paper discusses the problems of a lack of moral clarity in the war
on terrorism, a limited understanding of causes of terrorism, fear, hatred, and indifference.
Further, the notion propagated through the media of it being a clash of civilizations, puts
policymakers and the media itself repeatedly on the defensive to explain that it is not a war
against Islam, while terrorist organizations use such rhetoric as a recruiting tool. The article
also argues that part of the solution may be to provide more media space to the moderate
Islamic voice, but it cannot take place in a social vacuum.
he September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. jolted the social psyche of an
Taverage American, and brought the question of why do they hate us into the
mainstream media. It reflected, at one level a sense of naivet6 about the reach
of global crimes prior to 9/11, and on the other hand, it was a symbol of a collective
sense of helplessness and anger in the face of an act of extreme psychotic violence. It
also started a political discourse that quickly swept the socio-cultural discourse of
good versus evil, while Islamic terrorism became staple for the news and even
entertainment media. Since September 11, 2001, references to Islam and Muslims in
the news media have increased many-fold. The very tendency of the news media to
cover stories on crimes and criminals means that most stories on Islam and Muslims
are about extremism and fundamentalism. Table 1 carries data on Islam and Muslim
references in the media before and after 9/11.1.
Direct correspondence to dsharma@utica.edu
© 2008 by the author, published here by permission
The Journal of the Institute of Justice & International Studies
Source: Nacos, Brigitte L. Terrorism as Breaking News. In Annual editions: Violence and Terrorism.
Pg. 117

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