Free speech: creating the ‘Us and Them’ debate
Publisher© 2014 Ashgate Publishing
AuthorKabir, Nahid Afrose
MetadataShow full item record
CitationKabir, N. A. (2014). Free speech: creating the “Us and Them” debate. In Freedom of Speech and Islam. Ashgate Publishing.
Developed countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and America take pride in their democratic institutions, personal freedoms and secular ethos. However, these conditions and their eects can become highly contested issues when it comes to the exercise of the freedom of speech. In this chapter I contend that free speech is practised in a prejudiced and distorting way by some news media when it comes to reporting on Muslim minorities. Reporting on Muslim issues by insinuating Islamophobic tendencies falsely engenders and facilitates a division of society into ‘us’ (the dominant society; or in a global sense the West) and ‘them’ (the Muslim minority; or in a wider sense the Muslim world).1 Diasporic Muslims oen seem disproportionally represented as violent, disrespectful of mainstream culture and a threat to the dominant society – a heavy criticism that is expressed by some media and media commentators under the aegis of free speech.2 Not unusually by association Islam is included in this suspicion. is subjectivised media discourse is not only ‘othering’ Muslims and their religion in the perception of the dominant Western society; it is also alienating young diasporic Muslims, who become emotionally distanced from what they perceive as a hostile dominant society. eir take on the situation, I found, largely coincides with my ndings on the media discourse. I have widely discussed the impact of some Western media’s representation of Islam and Muslims on young Muslims’ identity in several of my publications, and will give an abbreviated and condensed version here.