Monday, April 5, 2010

Modern stigmatization

Why is it that in a troubled modern world, do we often so swiftly engage in peace destroying and often detrimental stigmatization? A major example of course is the common view of Islamic culture held by many civilized, culturally engaged westernized people. We are often so quick to dismiss those of a differing religious belief as at fault for all the wrong in the world. This is by no means a new issue, and precedent has largely been at fault for leading us into such beliefs, one only has to enquire into the European situation prior to and during the Second world war, in which the most determined totalitarian dictator of modern times had no doubt in his mind as to the cause of his national problems, Namely people of a differing socio-cultural distinction – The Jewish community.

This concept has certainly made its way into the fabric of a globalised modern society. The Islamic-Western clash is understandably seen as the most prominent of these, and it is through deciphering this legitimate quandary that many other stigmas’ can be dealt with effectively.

In offering my own personal opinion, in saying that if I wasn’t a through and through catholic, brought up with catholic ideals, attending a strict catholic school, Islam would be a more than legitimate belief system to replace it. Despite this, what we have on our hands is a situation in which if a Christian figure commits a crime, then we dismiss it as an act of political or social inflammation, however when an Islamic figure does the same thing, then we jump to the misinformed conclusion that it was an act of religious impetus, rather than a detached action of isolated motivation. The simple question is, why?

It is only through literal interpretation of Qur’an scriptures that fundamental belief systems, which occupy the minds of the very small extremist communities, that aggressive behaviour towards differing beliefs become accepted. This fundamental interpretation very much misrepresents the very culturally accepting nature of other interpretations of Muslim sacred texts.

It is through the worst of something that we tend to judge it. Football fans through the violent mobs, spiders and snakes through their venomous tendencies, and in the same way, Muslims through extremely isolated communities of fundamentalist belief. This method of thought largely drives our view of just about everything that is placed in a grouping, such as those listed above, and is the driving force behind the western view of Islam as a religion breeding culturally aggressive, counterproductive communities.

Naturally, herein lies the major cause of our little problem, Distinction between the largely peace-loving Islamic people, and the isolated strands of fundamental beliefs. The only problem with this is, how do we fix it…


  1. This is a cultural issue perpetuated by the media forms today. For example, since the 1980's villains in movies shifted from the America vs USSR scenario to America vs Middle Eastern people. Even in kids movies such as Aladdin, the Middle Eastern stereotype is inculcated subconsciously. Furthermore, the media create stereotypes and blanket assertions about "all Muslims". These depictions ignore the fact that these people must be treated with respect as human beings and acceptance for their differences.

    Any boundaries are ultimately based on a lack of knowledge and understanding of differences. This is why dialogue and cross-cultural integration are so important: because change in attitudes occurs individual by individual until there are enough people to reject stereotypes and crush false perceptions. With a more unified community, we can utilise the best aspects of different societies to solve the problems inherent within our own. This would be a change for the better.

    It could also be helpful to observe that a moderate Muslim holds similar values to a moderate Catholic. With the exception of the extremists in both traditions, Christianity and Islam both have the aim of making better people and improving lives.

  2. Hi Loads, Interesting first post.

    The majority of people following any religion are peaceful and rational. All religions, groups and organisations have their members with extreme views.

    I know a few muslins and none of them agree with the terrible things done in the name of Islam. They have mentioned feeling uncomfortable on planes etc in recent years.

    Its a shame that a few extremists can cause mass judgement of races etc.

    Anyway I like your first post.

  3. Great post, I'm Imaadh Siddiqui of "Hutch's comment battlefield". As for how we remedy this unfortunate situation...

    It will take a while. I think it's definitely getting better though. Though, as evidenced by the comments in Hutch's post, I think there will always be ignorant people who refuse to change their mindsets.

    Great post though, your thoughts are very well articulated.


Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions, let me know