On the Nexus Between Knowledge and Power in the Western Media

Orientalism

An Essay on Said’s Covering Islam

(Note: this essay was written a week before the UK’s last general election).

As the British people head to the polls this week, for a fair number of them, the general election will be more than party politics or an expression of their democratic liberty. Rather, in an unprecedented first, it is seen as a defence of their human rights; their freedom to practice their religion without discrimination, derision, and disdain. A BBC coverage of a Muslim tour group in London revealed a single dominant issue as their agenda and voting criteria: Islamophobia.[1] This fact is evident in the very electoral campaign itself, where the pro-Conservative mass media’s nemesis has been aligned with Islam; thereby sealing his electoral fate, while a sensationalist paper brands him a terrorist-sympathiser.[2] How has Islamophobia increased to a level whereby it has found its way within a political manifesto?[3] The answer may lie within the Western media’s portrayal of Islam and Muslims.

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