Hyped media reporting on terrorism increases Islamophobia, according to a new study by social psychologists at Royal Holloway, University of London.
The study, the first of its kind in Britain, analysed the psychological reasons behind the reported rise in Islamophobia and how this is linked with a perceived threat to national identity. The research, which follows a similar one undertaken in the US post 2001 attacks, drew the same conclusion. It concluded increased perception of national threat increased support for draconian strategies and immigration policies, including policies, which would reduce the civil liberties enjoyed by British Muslims.
The research, carried out before the July 7 attacks on London, highlights the key role the media play in reporting acts of terrorism. The study shows how media articles portraying the idea that “Islamic terrorism” constitutes a significant threat can lead to increases in Islamophobic prejudice, targeted not just at the terrorists, but all Muslims, especially those living in the UK.