Young Muslims perceptions of television news coverage of Muslims and how their Islamic school teachers inoculate them against those images

Shaheen L Jones, University of Texas at El Paso


Since the horrific events of September 11, 2001, Islam and its followers have become a daily staple in the news. Stories about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Darfur and Iran's rogue government are just a few samples of what young Muslims ingest on a daily basis. This qualitative study examined how young Muslims attending Islamic schools in the United States reacted to the barrage of stories about Islam and its followers in television news coverage and how this particular topic was discussed in their Islamic school classroom. The first part of the study used Edward Said's orientalist theory (1994) as the underlying framework to examine the effects of the media caused by negative cultural and ethnic stereotyping. This was followed by an examination of William McGuire's inoculation theory as an interpretive paradigm to explore whether inoculation tools could be implemented by Islamic school teachers to intervene in the impact of that effect. The information was gathered during two separate focus groups with teachers and students. The students had a consistently negative view of the media's coverage of Muslims because they saw television news focused on bloodshed and killing and felt that it only gave a narrow minded view of Islam or its followers. This belief reaffirmed the orientalist theory. The only inoculation tool the students could identify was their teachers' insistence they know and understand their religion in order to explain it effectively to non-Muslims. Surprisingly, the six teachers discussed numerous inoculation techniques---both supportive and refutational---that they introduced to their students. However the students did not acknowledged those lessons as learning inoculation tools and felt the teachers should have focused more attention on teaching their students to resists the impact of the media's portrayal of Muslims. The study found the inoculation theory was flawed from the perspective of the students because the students felt their teachers' lessons did not intercede in the effect of the mass media's negative stereotyping of minorities and Muslims in particular.^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Education, Social Sciences|Mass Communications

Recommended Citation

Jones, Shaheen L, "Young Muslims perceptions of television news coverage of Muslims and how their Islamic school teachers inoculate them against those images" (2007). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1444135.