Volume 16, Issue 1, 2019
Saman Rezaei, Kamyar Kobari, Ali Salami
The Portrayal of Islam and Muslims in Western Media
A Critical Discourse Analysis
With the realization of the promised global village, media, particularly online newspapers, play a significant role in delivering news to the world. However, such means of news circulation can propagate different ideologies in line with the dominant power. This, coupled with the emergence of so-called Islamic terrorist groups, has turned the focus largely on Islam and Muslims. This study attempts to shed light on the image of Islam being portrayed in Western societies through a Critical Discourse Analysis approach. To this end, a number of headlines about Islam or Muslims have been randomly culled from three leading newspapers in Western print media namely The Guardian, The Independent and The New York Times (2015). This study utilizes “ideological square” notion of Van Dijk characterized by “positive presentation” of selves and “negative presentation” of others alongside his socio-cognitive approach. Moreover, this study will take the linguistic discourses introduced by Van Leeuwen regarding “representing social actors and social practices” into consideration. The findings can be employed to unravel the mystery behind the concept of “Islamophobia” in Western societies. Besides, it can reveal how specific lexical items, as well as grammatical structures are being employed by Western media to distort the notion of impartiality.