Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reaction/Summary of Poole's "Media Representations of British Muslims" Part I

I went over 300 words, but I feel this is the best I can do for such a long article (46 pages).

Simply put, this text by Elizabeth Poole (pt. 1) is the analysis of various groups of British people surveyed based on their reactions to four different articles regarding Islamic faith in the media. The people surveyed were aligned into different groups: Muslims divided by gender, non-Muslims who experienced interaction with Muslims, and non-Muslims who experienced no interaction with Muslims. They were all British from around the same area of Leicester and aged 16-18, however, socioeconomic statuses and education levels varied among the participants. Muslims were economically disadvantaged but educated, the contact-group possessed a higher economic status and more liberal views, and the non-contact group held more conservative views and were wealthy also. The articles these people were asked to respond to dealt with Islam in marriage, blasphemy, education, and fundamentalism.

Results from the survey showed that Muslim men had more political knowledge to base their arguments on, and there was less fear in giving “right” answers, whereas the Muslim women surveyed gave more reserved answers centered around “portraying a reasonable face of Islam” and answers were less about explaining their own opinions (p. 203). The Muslim people of both genders both shared equal concern about how the media often failed to explain their values accurately and how this affects the majority population’s opinion. In this case, the concern was often Islamic violence in other parts of the world and how the media’s coverage of these stories threatened the image of British Muslims. The contact group of non-Muslims showed more hostility toward Muslims than did the group with no contact with Muslim people, despite the fact that the group with contact to Muslims were more liberal (associated with tolerance, in my opinion). The texts states that “non-Muslims who have no contact with Muslims are more likely to discuss Muslims positively than those with contact” (p. 198). It seemed as though there was a gray area dealing with the sentence prior, for as I continued to read through the report, the conservative group of non-Muslims with no contact were portrayed to have a lot more racism and prejudice than the more liberal non-Muslims with contact. The opinions from the Muslim participants were predictable, but I can’t help but feel like the hostilities toward Muslim people should be switched between the liberal and conservative samples.

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