Covering Islam: How the Media Determines the Worldview

Covering  Islam :
How the Media & the Experts Determine
How we See the Rest of the World.   

[A5] Paperback - 224 pages,
by Edward W. Said.





A penetrating look at the way in which experts, policy-makers and the media have dealt with the crisis in Iran, the Middle East, and the World Trade Centre bombing. With examples, Edward Said demonstrates that the government-business establishment has produced a portrait of Islam and Muslims based on ignorance, inaccuracy and prejudice.



Said postulates that, if knowledge is power, those who control the modern Western media (visual and print) are most powerful because they are able to determine what people like or dislike, what they wear and how they wear it, and what they should know and must not know about themselves.



A man's intellect enables him to think, ponder, contemplate and question. His intellect is, according to Islam, what makes him unique as an individual. Man, by nature, is a rational being, but the western media wants him to be irrational—in the sense of accepting or agreeing to an idea without verifying, thinking about or questioning it. In other words, says Said, irrationalism means to let one person think and decide for another—to let one person control others.

Said refers to the media's ability to control and filter information as an 'invisible screen', releasing what it wants people to know and blacking out what it does not want them to know. In the age of information, Said argues, it is the media that interprets and filters information—and Said claims that the media has determined very selectively what Westerners should and should not know about Islam and the Muslim world. Islam is portrayed as oppressive (women in Hijab ); outmoded (hanging, beheading and stoning to death); anti-intellectualist (book burning); restrictive (bans on post- and extramarital affairs, alcohol and gambling); extremist (focusing on Algeria, Lebanon and of course Egypt); backward (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the Sudan); the cause of worldwide conflict (Palestine, Kashmir and Indonesia); and dangerous (Turkey and Iran).

The modern Western media, says Said, does not want people to know that in Islam both men and women are equal; that Islam is tough on crime and the causes of crime; that Islam is a religion of knowledge par excellence; that Islam is a religion of strong ethical principles and a firm moral code; that socially Islam stands for equality and brotherhood; that politically Islam stands for unity and humane governance; that economically Islam stands for justice and fairness; and that Islam is at once a profoundly spiritual and a very practical religion. Said claims that untruth and falsehood about Islam and the Muslim world are consistently propagated in the media, in the name of objectivity, liberalism, freedom, democracy and ‘progress’.


Reviews :

'Edward Said is a brilliant and unique amalgam of scholar, aesthete and political activist who challenges and stimulates our thinking in every area' ---Washington Post Book World.



'Edward Said belongs to that small band of American intellectuals who talk sense (and write beautifully) about the outside world' ---Guardian



Also see Islamophobia books

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 20 November, 2012.

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