US media coverage of American Muslims is more negative than that of North
Korea, often denounced as one of the world’s three worst sponsors of terrorism,
panellists at a conference on crisis reporting claimed on Sunday.
Pulitzer Centre’s “Beyond Religion” conference at the National Press Club in
Washington D.C. featured six panel discussions, with topics including the
building of peace, intersectionality of gender and religion, and religion and
workshop hosted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU),
Dalia Mogahed, the institute’s director, argued that The New York Times, widely
considered the US newspaper of record, portrayed Muslims over the past quarter
century “more negatively than cancer or cocaine.”
the Pulitzer Centre released summaries of their remarks on Twitter on Sunday
“Muslims in the US are more likely to be
bullied; 42 percent of Muslim families with a child in the (school) system
report some form of bullying, and a quarter of the incidents involved an
“Roughly half of Americans say they don’t know
a real Muslim, which means they rely on media coverage to understand their
“Muslim women are often depicted as victims of
their cultures, or victims turned escapees. That flies in the face of data
showing that American Muslim women see their faith as an asset in their lives.”
The US Department of Justice “is six times more
likely to issue a press release when they foil a plot by a Muslim terror group
than a plot by a white supremacist terror group.”
to the Twitter summary, Mogahed also offered a detailed response to the
question, “Who are American Muslims?”
Muslims look Iike every American — there is no single description, ethnicity or
age. They are the most diverse faith community in the US,” she said.
have no majority race — they are equal part black, white or Arab. Half of
American Muslims were born in the US, and the vast majority are citizens.
Muslims are the faith community most likely to report a low income.”
Muslims, Mogahed argued, journalists should “move beyond the security lens.”
should also use culturally neutral language when writing about Muslims. Arabic
words are used to describe behaviour that is not unique to Muslims.
assume that religion is a driving motivator of Muslim behaviour. Reporters
wouldn’t assume that religion was a driving motivator of Christian behaviour,”
their age peers, young Muslims are as likely as older Muslims to say that their
faith is an important part of their identity.”
Muslims and Jews are the most likely to experience
fear and anxiety over safety following the 2016 US presidential election.
Muslims responded to discrimination after the
poll with resilience, “investing in their faith communities.”Muslims with
strong religious identities are more likely to have a strong American identity.
A weaker religious identity among Muslims correlates with a weaker American
Christian Protestants are the only group that
believes religion should play a role in US law and, within Protestants, white
the ISPU’s research and thought leadership programs on US Muslims, according to
the institute’s website.
worked as executive director of the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies, where she
led the analysis of surveys of Muslim communities worldwide.
co-authored the book “Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really
Think” with John L. Esposito. In 2009, Mogahed was appointed by Barack Obama to
the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships.