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Religions 2018, 9(9), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9090283

Who Is the Muslim? Discursive Representations of the Muslims and Islam in Indian Prime-Time News

Independent Scholar, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 16 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 19 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anti Muslim Racism and the Media)
Full-Text   |   PDF [277 KB, uploaded 20 September 2018]

Abstract

A cursory look at Indian prime-time news tells us much about the tone and tenor of the people associated with it. Exaggerations, hyperbole, and tempers run wild, and news anchors flail in theatrical rage. News channels and news editors display their ideological affiliations subliminally. These affiliations—a factor of personal political stances, funding bodies, and investors—lead to partisan bias in the framing of news and, in some cases, can easily translate into racial prejudice. In this paper, I examine news coverage related to Muslims in India. I study the coverage of two issues specifically—love jihad and triple talaq—in prime-time English news of two channels: Times Now and Republic TV. Love jihad is a term used to describe alleged campaigns carried out by Muslim men targeting non-Muslim women for conversion to Islam by feigning love. Triple talaq is a form of divorce that has been interpreted to allow Muslim men to legally divorce their wives by stating the word “talaq” three times. My analysis of the content, tone, and tenor of their coverage shows that these channels propagate associations between Islam and backwardness, ignorance, and violence through consistent employment of the following tropes: “Muslim women need to be saved from Muslim men”; “Hindu women need to be saved from Muslim men”; and, “Muslims are not fully Indian—they are anti-national”. I place this study of news media within the current political climate in India and briefly touch on the conversations it guides and provokes. This is a first step in detailing a problem. It is also a call for further analysis on this subject to examine and evaluate if and how discourse manipulates public conversations and policy decisions. View Full-Text
Keywords: politics of representation; media; Islam; media representation; Muslims; Islamophobia; racism; anti-Muslim racism; love jihad; triple talaq; Muslims in India politics of representation; media; Islam; media representation; Muslims; Islamophobia; racism; anti-Muslim racism; love jihad; triple talaq; Muslims in India
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Drabu, O. Who Is the Muslim? Discursive Representations of the Muslims and Islam in Indian Prime-Time News. Religions 2018, 9, 283.

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