Events are almost certainly the best way to keep track of time: war, a miraculous birth or even a revolution or uprising. BC, AD, nineteenth century, the pre-60's hippy years, whatever the age or format,it is significant events that are relied upon to record history.
|Small groups who use Islam to justify violence are misinterpreting its teachings
The 9/11 tragedy has had a tremendous impact upon the world a day which will never be forgotten. One major repercussion has been the trail of negative attitudes and stereotypes held about Islam and Muslims that have resulted. The opinions of people seem to have changed radically post this terrible tragedy.
A recent poll carried out by the Council of American Islamic Relations focussed on collecting opinions held by the American public. Their aim was to try to understand what Americans think about Islam by interviewing 1,000 people from a variety of backgrounds, both ethnic and socio-economic.
The poll indicates that those under fortyfive tend to hold more positive attitudes towards Muslims, as well as those who are educated beyond college level and those living in urban and suburban areas. Although the better educated groupof respondents have a higher opinion of Islam, the majority still believe that Muslims oppress women. This view was also held by the less educated males.
But, surprisingly, the outlook is not so grim; there are those who understand that small groups who Islam to justify violence are misinterpreting its teachings. Although the American public do believe that Muslims are co-operating in the fight against terrorism there remains a feeling that more far-reaching efforts should be made by the American Muslim community.
The poll shows that antiMuslim prejudices are rising, And what is even more alarming is that when asked about what comes tomind upon hearing the word 'Muslim', a whopping third of the population had a negative image of which war, hatred, terrorism, Osama bin Laden etc. amounted to seventeen percent.
A major influence in any society is the understanding of different cultures, and it is the lack of this which gives rise to the negative attitudes that are apparent across several states in the US. It is hardly surprising that the media is one of the most pivotal factors shaping the public's opinion of Islam and Muslims. Perhaps this medium has not been as reliable as one would hope in presenting a true picture of Islam.
Only four percent claimed that they were very knowledgeable about this peaceful religion, but the majority stated that their most likely source of information was from books, the media and friends. Predictably CNN is America's most trusted source of news and analysis.
From a total population of just under 300 million, the survey consisted of only a thousand interviewees, of which the majority were white males.
Age and employment ratios were not very well considered, it seems, particularly as the age of respondents was disproportionate to the overall population. In addition the majority were employed and only 4% being unemployed. While the survey was religion-oriented, there was no attempt to account for the religious beliefs of the respondents, which certainly would have been interesting; particularly with the controversial hullabaloo on the crusading slant of the 'War on Terror'.
Despite some unreasonable proportions, a good attempt has been made to capture the views of the American people. These views may or may not have changed significantly after 9/11 but attitudes are nor far more transparent. It is further apparent that the media plays an important role in portraying Islam to the masses.