One way The British Dictionary of Religion defines the word religion is “belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny”. Thus, it could be assumed that religion calls for the inner emotional condition of humans by dictating a set of particular moral standards to avoid excommunication. Therefore, the stakes are big – “obey or leave”. As Dr. Anne White at University of Calgary says, a religion needs to be flexible and be able to adapt in order to be able to survive in the contemporary world. This is the reason why, religions such as Islam, could be claimed to be undergoing such changes, as it could be observed that Islam is still a popular religion even today. Somewhere in that change, however, a different interpretation could occur and that leads to the creation of groups such as ISIS that proclaim the use of violence to express their religious belief. Thus, two separate branches of the same religion appear – the peaceful and the violent. Despite that non-violent groups do not want to have anything to do with ISIS, we live in a world where news media makes money out of massively exaggerated news with propagandistic methods in order to establish an image of a common threat that everyone should seek means to fight against. They also add an additional pinch of personal opinion instead of portraying the facts as they are. As if taken from the works of Clauss and Hunke, this propaganda, however, aims to influence a particular part of the opinion of Western society and present a history of the Muslims that leads to a slippery slope effect and generalization. This is the reason why a mass block of the society starts to believe that all Muslims and their religion should be kept accountable for the violent acts of ISIS and other Muslim terrorist groups alike.
A step in the right direction that aims to disassociate the peaceful group of Muslims from the violent is the open expression of the former in media that they do not share the same believes, condone violence, and are against association with the latter. The news rarely present that dichotomy. A CBC News story “Montreal Muslim says Ottawa, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu attacks “not in my name”” reports this rising issue after the recent shooting at the Parliament Hill’s National War Memorial. The article presents the Facebook post by the Muslim boy, Ali Chebil, from Quebec who states that he does not support the acts and motives of the ISIS organization. Even more, that he does not want violent acts to be done in his name because it is against his belief for peaceful coexistence. Ali also talks about the tremendous effect on media expressing that unfortunately,”most rely on the media to get a general idea of what is islam” that could be observed through “hateful remarks on the internet”. This act of disassociation presents only small part of what media propaganda could teach people to believe in. Another way one could discover the propaganda that media makes people believe in is the exaggeration of the threat in the news. As Chebil explains, it appears that “terrorists represent a maximum of 0.003% of Muslims”. As citizens in this country, we may need to review what rights we give to the media to present factual vs fictional news.
Eek! The cat