Information transmission and acquisition have improved over the years with technological advancement. Media platforms have shifted to adopt more sophisticated and easy software to use for the transmission of information. Media platforms serve as mediums in which individuals sort after information, and they also help increase the representation of minority groups. Media presents vast information, including timely updates on what is happening globally, keeping individuals up to date. However, media presents shortcomings as they have the potential to affect an individual’s behavior and religion depending on what it offers.
The media presentation of Muslims and Islam
Media representation of minority groups has been an issue of great concern, with surveys focusing on the media’s presentation of race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism. Ahmed, and Matthes (pg 220), state that Muslims and Islam serve as the top minority affairs in the world with debates and censures. According to Ahmed and Matthes (pg 220), since the 9/11 event, media and political debates are centered on Islam and Muslims. Muslims and Islam have been victimized across many societies, being feared. Ahmed and Matthes (pg 220) denote that the representation of Muslims by the media has led to the resentment ad alienation of Muslims from societies. Media plays an essential role in creating and distributing ideologies among individuals. Images and stories showcased in the media provide resources in which individuals can organize a common culture and insert themselves. Media contributes to the development of social values, ideologies, and stereotypes of individuals in the community.
Representation of minorities via media has often been under scrutiny as they encourage stereotypes. Ahmed and Matthes (pg 221) note that news coverage in Britain in 1960 encouraged the assumptions that people of color are associated with problems, aberrations, and oddities. In addition, blacks are viewed as being less civilized and culturally inferior in the UK due to differences in color and race (Ahmed and Matthes, pg 221). The media presentation of people of color resulted in stereotypes and negative beliefs towards these individuals as it was being reported for everyone to denote. The media develop ideologies of people of color being less civilized and inferior through images and videos. Individuals within the society acknowledge these presentations and relay them to these individuals oppressing and stereotyping them. The media significantly influences individuals, hence their constant association with the misrepresentation of minority groups.
Misrepresentation of Muslims and Islam in the media has been associated with past events involving Islam. Ahmed, and Matthes (pg 222), state that the anti-muslim discourse in the Western press began during the Iranian revolution in 1979, the US hostage crisis, and the periodic crisis over Libya and the Middle East. Wars in Iraq and the 9/11 event amplified the negative perception of Islam as media platforms captured the events and linked them to Muslims (Ahmed and Matthes, pg 222). Media representation of Islam religion often associates the religion with irrational violence that has no regard for women and mobs. According to Ahmed and Matthes (pg 222), a recent survey portrays Islam as a religion of monolithic, sexist, and homogenized individuals. Muslims are often described as heartless, brutal, uncivilized, and religious fanatics who can do anything when directed by their religious leaders. Islam’s media representation is often associated with adverse outcomes such as terrorism, wars, and sexists. Although Muslims are depicted as religious individuals, their perception of other individuals differs due to the media. Occurrences of war and terror attack groups often comprise individuals from Islam; hence, people assume all Muslims bear the same characteristics as individuals depicted in the media.
Impact of social media on Muslims
Social media act as a media platform that helps establish social communication between individuals, family, and friends. Islam (pg 95) denotes that interactions between human beings have changed over the years with the development of computers and networks. Social relationships are slowly shifting to adopt the new technological advancement in place. The adoption of social media has rapidly grown, being part and parcel of every human, with Muslims also adapting to the changes in communication mediums (Islam, pg 96). Changes in communication have resulted in people forgoing old means and adopting new standards to remain afloat and current with day-to-day occurrences. Social media has made communication accessible as it is easy to use and learn.
The adoption and use of social media in the Islam community are rapidly rising in Muslim societies adopting social media. According to Islam (pg 96), social media is an excellent way for people to communicate as it can reach a wide range of audiences irrespective of their locality or region. Islam (pg 96) states that media has the potential to change Islam’s religion and the perception of Muslims among individuals as it only requires individuals to be open-minded and Muslims to adopt the new means of communication.
Positive effects of social media on Muslim
Social media is a new means of communication and modern life aiming to reinforce and enhance communication of individuals irrespective of their locality or residence. Social media has a wide range of connectivity enabling people to communicate with one another at ease (Islam, pg 99). Social media bears many benefits that seek to help improve people’s livelihoods irrespective of their ethnicity, race, or culture. Islam (pg, 99) denotes that the adoption of social media by Muslims will help enhance interaction, and socialization, teach the Quran, spread Quran references, and spread Islam’s source of information and development. Islam(pg 99) states that social media is set to help improve Islam society as it will unite and empower them as they will be in touch with one another irrespective of distance. Social media helps enhance interaction between friends and family as they can communicate via different media platforms other than messaging and calling. An individual can share opinions and receive timely feedback as well as spread messages to different people.
Social media seeks to benefit the Islam community when adopted as it helps teach Quran and share Quran references and the growth of the Islam community. According to (Islam, pg 100), social media is a platform that will help spread and teach the Islam religion ensuring the growth of its members. The Quran states that ”the greatest between you (Muslims are persons who learn the Quran and teach it.” (Sahih Bukhari: 4739). Social media helps enhance the teaching of the Quran among Muslims as religious leaders can record their instructions and share them via their social media platforms, making them accessible to everyone. Acquisition of Quran references has been made easier with social media as one can search for a particular verse. Social media has helped save time an individual had to incur while looking for references through the Quran. In addition, social media seeks to help spread the Islam religion to increase Islam followers. Teachings on Islam are accessible on social media platforms as they can be posted and accessed by anyone spreading the Islam religion.
Social media helps spread information on various entities that may be of use to individuals. Social media act as news outlets keeping individuals in the know about different occurrences worldwide (Islam, pg 103). People can quickly get information on employment opportunities and trending news keeping them updated. Media carries a wide range of benefits that aim at benefiting the Islam community, from increasing its number of followers to empowering its followers. Muslims who are in business or want to venture into business need only to have a smartphone to identify trending commodities in the market. An individual can access anything and everything they want with just a click on the device.
Negative effects of Social media on Muslims
Media presents a variety of benefits aiming to improve an individual’s life, although in the process, possesses great harm. Islam (pg 104) states that since the internet is easily accessible and cheap, it gives an advantage to individuals who have other ulterior motives. Social media helps spread information, though; at times, the information may be designed to target a specific group causing harm. Islam (pg 105) denotes that social media encourages promiscuous behaviors characterized by lazy individuals, posting unnecessary statements, crudity, and stereotyping. Though social media is an invention that aims to better human existence by easing interaction and relationships, it also encourages promiscuous activities.
Social media encourages stereotyping and promiscuous activity among individuals. The use of social media encourages stereotyping of individuals as it can be used to portray individuals or religions as being wrong. Ahmed and Matthes (pg 221) note that news coverage in Britain in 1960 encouraged the assumptions that people of color are associated with problems, aberrations, and oddities. In addition, Ahmed and Matthes (pg 222) state that a recent survey portrays Islam as a religion of monolithic, sexist, and homogenized individuals. Social media has a wide range of outreach; hence any negative information about Islam reaches an enormous group of individuals. People look into social media for information, and if they get negative news related to Muslims results in their patronization and being viewed as a terrorist. Furthermore, social media discourages public interaction among people as they need not go outside to meet their friends. Social media encourages laziness among the young generation as they do not exercise or even do any house chores. The young generation is addicted to social media, which may sometimes result in young Muslims not conforming to teachings and adopting what they see on social media. Social media also encourages violence by depicting images of violence, making it seem okay encouraging Muslims to join terror groups.
Effects of social media on Muslim Students
Media networks have expanded, with social media platforms having a vast number of users. Social media platforms are interactive as users can communicate freely with each other, sharing images, videos, and messages (Sule, pg 31). The vast possibilities made available by social media have resulted in its adoption among youths and old individuals. The platforms are diverse as they allow individuals to engage with one another at a low cost, helping students seek clarification from their teachers and have discussion sessions. Despite social media having several benefits to individuals, it also affects their development and performance, more so students.
Sule (pg 32) states that students use social media for leisure entertainment other than educational purposes. In addition, social media services expose individuals to pornographic content and encourage immoral acts. According to Sule (pg 32), the mass appeal of social media on the internet has increased the time youths spend online. Accessibility and social media have had a negative impact on the performance of Muslim students (Sule, pg 41). Access to Facebook, WhatsApp, and telegrams causes distractions to Muslim students as they tend to focus much on current trends rather than on their studies. Students often use social media platforms to watch movies and interact rather than search for learning materials or contact their tutors for clarification. Social media acts as a distraction for young Muslim students as they spend more time interacting with their friends other than with their books. In addition, students begin practicing immoral behaviors as they experiment with what they see. Access to pornographic content on social media deludes Islam teachings causing young individuals to engage in promiscuous acts.
Media plays a vital role in shaping individual attributes and perceptions of different issues. For some time, the Islam religion has been attributed to a terrorist due to their representation by the media. Media deludes individual perceptions creating an ideology that causes harm. Despite the media’s negative presentation of Islam, it has helped increase followers of the religion. Media has also helped benefit the Islam community as it helps increase their interaction and spread the faith.
Ahmed, Saifuddin, and Jörg Matthes. “Media Representation Of Muslims And Islam From 2000 To 2015: A Meta-Analysis”. International Communication Gazette, vol 79, no. 3, 2016, pp. 219-244. SAGE Publications, https://doi.org/10.1177/1748048516656305. Accessed 21 May 2022.
Islam, Md. Tarequl. “THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON MUSLIM SOCIETY: FROM ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE. ” Researchgate, 2019, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338533726_THE_IMPACT_OF_SOCIAL_MEDIA_ON_MUSLIM_SOCIETY_FROM_ISLAMIC_PERSPECTIVE. Accessed 21 May 2022.
Sule, Mohammed Maga. “Social Media And Its Effects On Muslim Students: The Case Of Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria.” UMRAN – International Journal Of Islamic And Civilizational Studies, vol 5, no. 2, 2018. Penerbit UTM Press, https://doi.org/10.11113/umran2018.5n2.201. Accessed 21 May 2022.