The Approach of the Muslim 'Other' in the Western Media

AuthorAlina Chesca
PositionSenior Lecturer, PhD, 'Danubius' University of Galati, Romania
Globalization and Cultural Diversity
The Approach of the Muslim Other in the Western Media
Alina Beatrice Chec
Abstract: The images of the other can be found everywhere in the Western civilization and undoubtedly, they
have become part of the discourse of colonization. It must be admitted that the encounters b etween the
Western world and the Islam have produced a portrayal of the Islamic religion and Muslim culture mostly in
negative, unfair and self-serving ways. Considering that the literature approaching these stereotypes is quite
comprehensive, this paper analyses why the Western world has always shown negative images of the Islam
and Muslims. The Western image- makers, such as the religious leaders, political institutions and mass-media
render the portraits of Muslims in both funny and cruel ways. All these images of the Other seem to have
served important goals throughout the h istory of Western civilization. Sometimes these goals are no t very
serious, while in other situations they can be terribly destructive. Unfortunately, for Muslims there are bad
consequences coming from the social and political background. However, we must all agree that, beyond
culture, religion, politics or race, beyond image, prejudices and stereotypes, there should be no boundaries
between human beings, our souls and minds, as we are all equal, valuable and important for the whole
Keywords: media; Muslims; otherness; stereotypes, Western civilization
Motto: “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair.” (Rumi Mawlana)
Perhaps any study on Image and Imagology should start with the following suggestive and very
touching lines belonging to a mystic, philosopher and poet in the 13th century - Muhyi 'd-din Ibn
'Arabi: My heart has opened unto every form: it is a pasture for gazelles, a cloister for Christian
monks, a temple for idols, the Ka'ba of the pilgrim, the tables of the Torah and the book of Qur'an. I
practice the religion of Love; in whatsoever directions its caravans advance, the religion of Love shall
be my religion and my faith. (Muhyi 'd-din Ibn 'Arabi)
The idea of writing such a paper struck me several years ago when I was in Izmir for a conference and,
during a break, a Turkish professor from Ankara started telling us very amused that, some years
before, someone had been very surprised that he was Turkish, making the following remarks: How
      
have a moustache!! The Turkish professor exclaimed in astonishment, addressing us: Can you
imagine?? That person thought that Turks were still wearing the same clothing like 200 years ago!!
            Considering the
               
Muslim Other in the Western mass-media.
1 Senior Lecturer, PhD,   . Address: 3 Galati Blvd, Galati 800654, Romania, Tel.:
+40372 361 102. Corresponding author:

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