The Minority & the Majority — How the Islamic Faith is Positioned in Australia

It’s an ordinary day and you’re on your way to pick up your brother when you stop at a set of traffic lights. Whilst there, a white Holden Commodore pulls up beside you carrying a group of teenagers. Before you know it they’re telling you to “go back to your own country,” and that they’d “behead” you for looking Muslim.

It’s melancholic but true, knowing that 2% of Australia’s population face the inequitable ‘consequences’ for being Muslim with this story as proof of evidence. A majority of Australian society is constantly discriminating against Muslims, a society that regards itself as “welcoming” and “accepting of other cultures.” With the media having the power to warp the minds of Australian people, it is easy to target Muslims and create the prejudiced stereotypes and ideas which many believe today.

Today it seems that almost everything is stereotyped as we constantly use it as a way to “simplify our social world.” After a new study done by MediaTenor, a media research institute, it has been confirmed and backed up with evidence that the media have rarely ever reported on Islam in a positive light. No media platform has ever directly said that ‘All Muslims are terrorists’ but it is a stereotype which too many have fallen to believe, with the media subtly supporting the prejudiced claim. The study also reports that, “The average tone of coverage, which has always been poor, continued to worsen in the decade after 9/11. Most coverage depicted Islam, Muslims, and Muslim organizations as a source of violence and a security risk.”

It has become the norm to automatically affix Muslims to violence, with a large survey finding that “over a quarter of children aged between 10 and 16 believe Islam encourages terrorism, and almost a third believe Muslims are taking over their country.”

There is a majority who need to see past the stereotype of labelling Muslims of the Islamic faith as ‘terrorists.’ We need to realize that a large number of individuals do not do such crimes based on their faith or religion, it is their own political beliefs that motivate them.

In spite of this, there is a minority of Australians who have been able to see past the branding of the Islamic faith often seen through media. In December 2014, during the events of the Sydney Seige, a hashtag on twitter was made as Muslims had reported feeling unsafe to leave their homes and catch public transport as threats were made to their lives dubbing them as “terrorists.” The hashtag #I’llridewithyou was created by the minority of Australians to bring comfort to Muslims who were too afraid to ride alone on transport services.

An even more recent event is the Logies. As momentous as who-wore-what to the Logies and who-wore-it-best was, there was something which significantly struck out. He is the co-host of the channel ten program ‘The Project.’ He is an Australian writer, musician, media presenter, academic, lawyer and belongs to the Islamic faith. His name is Waleed Aly and he was the winner of the prestigious award, the Gold Logie; An award which is chosen through on online vote by the public. “Me being here right now, really matters to them, and it matters to them for a particular reason.” Waleed said as he accepted the reputable award paying recognition to the Muslim community in his stupefying acceptance speech.

The support for Waleed Aly by the minority is comforting in the sense of knowing there are Australians who do recognise his accomplishments and how important he is in the eyes of the Muslim community. It is this minority who are striving for better — a world where the media acknowledges the Islamic faith as a respected religion and the accomplishments of the individuals who belong to it. It is them who endeavour to go forwards in removing the stereotype the majority labels Muslims of the Islamic faith with and it is them who openly show their support for this community even through times of crisis.

It’s almost ludicrous to think that the people of the religion which preaches about the oneness of God and the Prophet Muhammad who is known to have been “truthful, honest, trustworthy, generous and sincere,” is targeted against in the media. However, what makes this issue seem so convoluted, is the fact that there is a majority who are still gullible to the prejudiced comments the media seems to still ruse us with. It is the minority who are aspiring for equality and justice. So let’s focus for once, on the minority, rather than the majority.

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