'Israeli attacks on Gaza put Muslims in more positive light in the West'

Wed, 27 Dec 2023 8:23 GMT
Images emerging from Gaza ‘has flipped false narrative about Islam and Muslims’ on Western media, journalist CJ Werleman tells Anadolu.
'Israeli attacks on Gaza put Muslims in more positive light in the West'

Israeli attacks on Gaza since Oct. 7 seems unexpectedly led to a positive shift in the perception of Muslims in the West, challenging the two-decade-long “war on terror” rhetoric and sparking increased interest in Islam

Speaking to Anadolu, Australian journalist and activist CJ Werleman evaluated the impact of Israel’s attacks on Gaza on the perception of Islam and Muslims in the West.

Werleman said for two decades, Western media has portrayed Muslims as a security threat, depicting them as a faceless horde of brown-skinned, bearded men with violent intentions due to their Islamic faith, “but the images emerging from Gaza has flipped this false narrative about Islam and Muslims on its head.”

“People now see a proud, noble people who remain defiant, humble and strong in the face of unimaginable cruelty, oppression, and suffering. They see Palestinians praising God as they are pulled out from beneath the rubble of their bombed out home. They see people who demand nothing more than freedom from poverty and fear. This is why so many Westerners are now picking up the Quran and learning about Islam.”  

People sacked over call for Gaza cease-fire

Werleman highlighted the systematic effort to silence, threaten, and punish pro-Palestinian voices in both mainstream media and on social media.

“In the first month of the war against Hamas, a human rights group documented more than 250 instances of journalists, writers, academics, and activists being fired from their jobs for expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“And they’re not being threatened or fired for antisemitism or supporting Hamas, but for merely calling for a cease-fire or for the bombs to stop dropping on Gaza.”  

‘World changed forever’

He said Europe’s largest news aggregator, Axel Springer, ordered its editors to “play down Palestinian deaths” and to do this by giving priority to stories of Israeli victimhood in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. It also asked them to pair Palestinian deaths with claims of human shields and question the veracity of reports pertaining to Palestinian casualties.

“This framing swaps out the perpetrator of this genocide in Gaza with the victim in the minds of audiences.”

The daily stream of unfiltered information and images from Israeli violence in Gaza “has changed the world forever,” he said.

“American and European cities are regularly hosting 1 million strong pro-Palestinian marches, and the popularity of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement has skyrocketed, as measured by Starbucks reporting it had lost $11 billion in revenue since the siege of Gaza began, with the coffee giant partly blaming the boycott movement for its losses.”

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7, killing more than 20,700 people, including UN staffers. It has attacked hospitals, UN schools as well as refugee camps, and has justified its actions saying they were used by Hamas.

Around 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

Human rights organizations have slammed Israel for its war tactics, calling it “collective punishment” of Gaza’s 2.3 million people.  


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