Friday, August 31, 2007

MY Results

Hey everyone over the last few days I sent out a list of words and did a bit of my own research when it comes to looking at stereotypes of Muslim people. In the list of words I had 4 that i was particuarly interested in (listed below with results). I tried to insert a table with my results but it wouldn,t let me so hopefully you can make sense of the numbers below. Typical stereotypical responses are also included. The first number listed is the number of neutral responses and the second the words associated with the stereotype.
There are obvious limitations to my figures as i just sent it out to email contacts and I had a few responses on my blog. My responses do indicate that there are stereotypes held in the community about Islam however these are also based on my personal opinion of what constitutes a stereotype. Thought you might be interested in the results anyway.
happy Blogging =)

Terrorism 21 , 3 - eg. Arab, Muslims
Muslim 13 , 11 - eg. strict, terrorist, hijab
Islam 15 , 9 - eg. terrorism, middle east, extreme
Christian 22 , 2 - eg. crazy, angry

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Word Association- HAVE UR SAY!!

I have recently sent out the following list of words to my email contacts for some research of my own. The concept is word association and all you have to do is write down the first word you think of when you look at each word. Add your responses to my comments as I am really interested to see what people come up with. If you are really keen with the word association technique you can try some more on this link.
Thanks for your help !!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Can you hear me???

Just as an aside and something that amused me yesterday....I was waiting in line to buy some chocolate to get me through my afternoon classes when I came across what I realised is a common situation. A student of asian background was attempting to make a purchase and use his credit card, something wasn't working with it and from my observation he wasn't quiet understanding the shop attendant. The attendant then proceeded to raise her voice (to a near yelling level) repeating the same phrase as if somehow the new level of her voice would help him to understand and that it wouldn't be an issue if the student didn't have the needed english comprehension. I laughed to myself and thought about just how many times I have seen this in our community. It appears if someone doesn't understand you when communicating all you need to do is raise your voice and magically they will totally get the point, problem fixed ;)

In relation to social Psych I think this demonstrates a good example of issues in communication across cultures and once again the stereotype and mindset that people often have when communicating with those of a different background. I can't help but wonder what the student was thinking about this woman who contined to repeat the same thing repeatedly raising her voice!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Time to gather ideas...

Over the first half of semester i have worked on my blog looking at stereotypes and really enjoyed lots of the research i have done. I have looked at some really interesting sources some that i have listed on my page and others that i will discuss in my final work on the topic. As time comes to a close for this blog i thought I would give a brief over view of my question and where I think ( at this stage) I am going to go with the question. Ironically as I begin to compile my thoughts Muslims around the world begin to prepare for Ramadam ( that will begin approx 12th Sept) which for me confirms that i have choosen the right topic and hope that in some way my words will touch at least some who have such a negative view of such a tolerant religion.

Obviously my minority group within the Australian community is going to be those of Muslim Faith. Whilst there has been comments around whether this is a minority I believe that despite its rapid growth within our community it currently can still be viewed as a minority group ( This does however seem hard to believe if you have ever seen just how many people attend the Yarralumla Mosque for friday prayers =) This being said i will describe the sterotype and views that are held about followers of Islam and the common expectantions and views that those in society tend to have. In discussing why this sterotype exists i will predominately focus on current times ( after sept 11) touching however on past views of the religion. In discussing how the sterotype is maintained I will explain factors i think contribute whilst heavily relying on my sources. How the sterotype could be changed for me centers around education and the promotion of intercultural dialogue and an understanding of the faith which I believe can be achieved by further understanding the principles of Islam.

The mosque pictured is in Putra Jaya in Malaysia. I recently visited this mosque and was amazed at its beauty and architecture.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What Do BC Students Know About Islam?

More on Stereotypes...

Hey everyone,

I've been doing some more research for my assignment and I have watched a few more dvds and read some articles and Iam finding some good information ( more on these later). I found that the lecture that Prof. Mak gave today was really useful and she brought up many interesting points. Its funny when you think about it, most of us would say that we dont hold any prejudice and dont stereotype people from other groups but doing this assignment I have realised just how much these things happen daily. I have myself becomes more aware of the prejudices I have and I think that if it wasn't for my connection to people who believe in Islam than maybe I would have incorrect thoughts and perceptions here aswell. A lot of stereotypes and prejudices stem from a lack of understanding and i think that this is the case with Islam.

I was thinking about this on a personal level. When i travelled to America at the begining of the year I was travelling in a car with my friend and her American family going to visit the beach for the wkn. We were sorting through her parents Cd's and someone suggested Cat Stevens, we put that on and I was shocked when the father ( a supposed devout Christian and since I myself am a christian i am aware that a lot of the teachings in this religion promote tolerance and treating your neighbour as you wish to be treated) replied "I can't believe we are listening to a muslim" . Now while I am not personally a muslim I was personally offended and angered on behalf of my boyfriend and his family and for all muslims. That bothered me enough to have a different opinion of the man for the rest of my trip. I cant even imagine how it must feel for people who are forced to deal with these kinds of comments and prejudice daily. I know that the American people suffered a terrible event but I was left thinking what did Cat Stevens have to do with it???? These are the types of comments that can make the world such a bad place full of hatred and misunderstanding.

Studying topics such as this really does make you stop and think about the type of cognitive processes people must have when it comes to developing these stereotypes and the "mental shortcuts" that they have formed (as professor Mak spoke of).
Im also posting a Youtube video which i think shows my point well about the lack of general knowledge when it comes to Islam...Take a look and see if you know the answers to the questions posed ...
Thanks !!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Compass : The peacemaker

I have been doing more research for my blog and this week watched a copy of an old Compass episode titled "The Peacemaker". The program interviewed a man by the name of Imam Faizal Abdual Rauf, a muslim leader who practices in America in New York, not too far from where the terrorist attacks of September 11 took place. The Imam had a lot of interesting points to make and has become known as a 'bridge figure' between the west and Islam as he promotes interfaith dialogue and holds an annual event known as Cordoba in where people from different faiths (Muslims, Jews and Christians) come together and celebrate.
When watching the show i began to think of how in many ways he defys all the stereotypes that many people would have about what a muslim leader would be like. He speaks out about terrorism, encourages this union between faiths and says that Australia can show the world a lot in this area when looking at our diverse multicultural society.
The Imam goes on to talk about how in many cases the media only reports the negative events giving an example of the International Islam Conference in which muslim leaders from over the world condemed terrorism and extremists. I thought about this for a while and thought just how true this is, we are continually reminded of negatives and shown stories of tragedy but do we hear the whole story? Watching the news of an evening you dont hear of the positives that are going on within the muslim community, there definitely appears to be a strong focus on the negative events that such a small minority are involved in.

I encourage you to read the transcript available at or borrow the copy of the program from the Uni Library ( I will post the details) . It shows another side of the story and I think breaks a lot of the stereotypes associated with this religion.
Any thoughts ??

Image from:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Misconceptions of the veil

Whilst wasting time this morning and procrastinating about uni work (sound familiar???) I fortunately came across a segment on one of the morning shows that had a lot of significance to my blog topic. As I noted in my last post I am focusing on the stereotypes of Muslims and the Islamic faith within our community. This morning on the 9am show with David and Kim on Channel 10 I was really interested to see an interview that centred around this exact topic. A lady by the name of Janine Evans was on the program discussing the misconceptions people have about the faith and the negative stigmas that are often placed on those who choose to wear the veil or hi jab as it is also known.

Janine went on to speak of misunderstanding, fear and patronising comments that she finds are often associated with the veil and how since the terrorist attacks of September 11 those who wear the veil and fit the stereotypes that people have of Muslim people have been the victims of severe criticism, racism and daily abuse.

One of the presenters then questioned her on the use of the veil as a way of oppressing women and I think that Janine made a good comment when she said that it is people who oppress people not religions.

Many people do not understand the significance and choice associated in the wearing of the veil and I have noticed this recently in my own personal experience. My boyfriend and his family are Muslim and when discussing my topic recently with friends they were suprised to hear this and to hear that many of the women in the family do not wear a scarf. When hearing their suprise it demonstrated to me that so many people whether consciously or not have these stereotypes in built. Many expect muslims to look Arabic, the women to wear the scarf ( which is not compulsory, it is a choice) and in recent times sadly people expect that all muslims are interested in extremist sects that promote terrorism.

I think that many people would be suprised at how wrong these ideas are and at how diverse the Muslim population is.

A quick google on the net retrieves thousands of links to articles and debates on this topic and the discussion of the veil this morning made me consider devoting part of my first blog to it and the stereotypes associated. There are a lot of issues that i can deal with do I might further research this area.

Thankyou to the comments that people have left from my last post, please keep them coming, i am very interested in what you have to say !!

I am also interested in hearing peoples opinions on the wearing of veils in schools. A short while back this was a hot topic within the media and I am interested to hear if you see any problems with those who choose to wear a veil to school (or a work place) ???

Sunday, August 5, 2007

First Blog Assignment

After the initial fear of blogging for an assignment subsided I looked through the topics and had a quick read of what everyone had had to say so far. I liked a number of topics but think I have come up with something that will not only be of interest to me but will also have some personal signifigance.

I am currently thinking of writting my topic on stereotypes and looking into the stereotypes of the Muslim community within Australia. I am interested in examining how much the media influences peoples opinions here and whether ideas and judgements that we as a community have formed have any real substance or if they have been built out of a lack of understanding and misinterpreted knowledge. To start of I thought I would add a link to an article on the BBC which very basically sets out some beliefs and facts of Islam. I stress that they are basic but I thought that it was a good place to start.

I'm very interested in others opinions on the topic and if you feel if your own feelings and possible stereotypes of the Islamic population have been affected by world events or media depictations.