Conflict Management Evaluation Report
Cohen-Almagor (2011) links bigotry to hate speech, which includes spreading ideology, and propaganda about groups of people. Bill Maher is a comedian and his talk show remarks on Islam are laughable despite the fact that these are serious matters of contention in the world today. This is because of his image in society; his opinion is not necessarily literal. However, Alisyn and Don are journalists who shape public opinion. Their role is to inform without favor and bias. In an era where terrorism has rocked the world with insecurity, this discussion should have taken a sober and serious note. Religious extremism continues to create discrimination in society and it fuels terrorism. From a serious point of view, this attempt to analyze conflict resolution should have stayed away from antisemitism, bigotry, prejudice, stereotyping and hate speech because these fuel conflicts. Unfair remarks or unsubstantiated remarks about Islam are not only hostile but also unsubstantiated. Motivated by violence, these are discriminatory, intimidate, disapprove and antagonize (Cohen-Almagor, 2011). To stereotype Islam in the same way that Maher’s jokes around is wrong. Perhaps title of the discussion should have been “With what seriousness should we take the idea of Islam as a violent religion?”
Conflict Resolution and Diversity
Conflict resolution is no longer about war but its shift is about preventive measures (Wallensteen, 2015). The CNN discussion on Islam and violence should have born much fruit if it started with a look at the prejudice revolving around Islam and increased violent extremism. This would have led to Alisyn’s analysis on the crack down on extremists in out of the norm situations rather than in commonplace. She points out that people need to talk more of commonplace violations like how women have restrictions to drive in Saudi Arabia. Since this is not the norm of normal life, it should have been an example to highlight the differences between Islamic culture and global norms. This explains why researchers identify conflict in many aspects of life (Vanclay and Prenzel, 2013). Acts of bias include jokes, labelling and comments that appear harmless. Rizza points out that Saudi Arabia has in fact the most extremist cases like the constant beheadings, which go unreported because of national interests. According to Reza, the justification of selective violence is bigotry in place. Camerota mentions the mistreatment of women and injustice issues happening in Islamic states but she does not substantiate her claims. Rizza points to this wrong reminding her that woman in seven Muslim states have elective top positions. He gives the example of Indonesia, Turkey, and Bangladesh as Islamic states that are not oppressive to women).
Separating People from Problems
People are different and they have different interests. It is always better to set facts straight before exploring people’s ideas or opinions. International organization understand that conflict resolution is in stages and revolves around prevention and after war peace strategies (Ramsbotham, Woodhouse, and Miall, 2011). In the discussion, Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech connecting ISIS Islam appears discriminatory. He links Islam to Isis and Hamas, which is a bigotry remark. Such speech could lead to violent reactions, and anti-Semitisms. Reza’s remarks about Netanyahu are not justified either because he labels him as the cause for lack of peace in Israel. Mealy, and Stephan, (2011) discuss group theory to bring out types of threats namely, the realistic and symbolic threats. In the TV discussion, the latter comes out through stereotyping, negativity and hate related words. When the participants link Islam to religious values of violence injustice against women and beheadings, it is an attack on a group. When this comes from a global media group, it has the ability to shape worldviews.
Almonstaser, (2017) reinforces Reza’s sentiments about certain Muslim states beating the US in democratic practices by allowing women to lead. Reza corrects Demon on violent Islam claims pointing out that Islam is like any other religion that presents itself with extremists like Myanmar Buddhists. When Lemon asks if Reza thinks Islam promotes peace, he agrees citing that all religion advocate for violence. This remark is threatening because it gives violence a leeway. It does not come as a surprise considering that Reza is author of and anti-Christian book Zealot. In his book, he describes the leader of Christianity-Jesus Christ as a state “criminal “calling his death “Shameful” (Reza, 2013). This is strong abusive language against a religious group. Saying that other religion support violence is wrong because some of them like Christianity and Buddhism have peace. Reza’s opinion that people are violent in nature depending on their situation does not prevent violence.
Bigotry and Racism is widespread today because of opinionated leaders (Telhami, 2017). Rizza is right when he tries to justify Indonesia and Turkey where women are as equal as men. When Alysin Camerota terms their justice system as primitive. In her opinion, Muslim societies are not an open. However, critics would argue that her sentiments are pro American culture (Pogrebin, 2017). Reza also seems opinionated when he says the problem of women being discriminated is a Pakistan issue and not Bangladesh and Turkey. Yet Bangladesh has had its own share of such injustices (Nabil, 2017). Problems not representative of a group or society. Reza tells Demon that barbaric practices should be condemned but as actions of individuals. He does not agree to the journalistic ideas that Muslim countries are to blame. Yet, he makes a mistake of suggesting that all religion has violent tendencies. Violence may occur in some are extreme but this is not representative of other countries. In fact, intergroup relations are one way of reducing and preventing conflict (Ananthi, and Miles, 2013).
Ignorance is not an Excuse
Camerota tries to cite the Sharia law as having unfair practice against women highlighting the stoning and mutilations as barbaric. Reza disagrees with this saying that ‘individual actions must be condemned’. He uses says that such notions are “stupid”. Reza’s approach is not the best because he could have cited extremist’s involvement in other countries without having to refer people’s opinion as ‘stupid’. Camerota and Demon, Obama and Netanyahu also have rights. Referring to Pakistan and Arabia, as the same is wrong because states have interests (Smith, 2011). The discussion brought in Netanyahu’s opinion in which he says that the peace talk are futile because of Militant Islam, which is everywhere. However, he points out that it is not Islam, which has a problem, but “militant Islam” which spares no one including Muslims. This should have been the focus of the TV discussion-militant Islam in global peace. Reza clarifies that Isis is not Hamas and Netanyahu’s statement is illogical. This is true and it is clear from the discussion that Islam and militant Islam are different and should not be generalized or simplified. If the discussion took this turn, then the answers would shape the discussion into how to deal with the extremists rationally and not through bigotry. This is crucial for public opinion (McCombs, 2013).
Reza is correct on militant Islam but wrong when arguing that Netanyahu’s opinion are baseless. He should not have given this as a reason ‘why his leadership is isolated in global issues’. Because this is propagandist and character assassination. His reference to Nazism ideas are more dangerous. Isis is a problem but deal with them rationally not generalization (bigotry). Women and other minorities are important issues they would have discussed. Bill Maher refers to Obama saying that Isis is not Islamic. Maher adds that if it is true that Islam believes people need to die then it is same as Isis. This is very hateful speech to the Muslims. Using the excuse of Islam’s rejection of gays is not a violation of gay rights hence the media personalities need to be well informed (McCombs, 2013). Reza even makes fun of Maher saying that the comedian is not sophisticated about issues because FGM is not a Muslim issue but African. Eritrea, Ethiopia not common in Muslim countries. This is another example of character assassination by Reza.
Their role is to mitigate negativity as much as possible in order to have a positive impact (Smith, Hadfield and Dunne, 2016). The interviewer points this out at the end of the discussion.
Reza as the author of the book Zealot, an anti-religion theorist should not have been in this discussion. Instead, CNN should have searched for neutral persons for fairness. Racism and bigotry come about when people like Obama, Reza and Netanyahu have intolerance for those who have different opinions. It also spreads by ethical activities by the media. It is true that women may find mistreatment in the Muslim world but it happens even in the US. That is why Aslam argues that issues like FGM are in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Christian locations but nowhere in most Islamic states.
Almonstaser, D. (2017). The Time Muslim Countries Had Female Presidents and the US Did Not. Huffington Post. <Available at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-time-muslim-countries-had-female-presidents-and_us_58d008a5e4b0e0d348b345f9> (Accessed 20th May 2017).
Ananthi, A, and Miles, H. (2013). Intergroup Contact as a Tool for Reducing, Resolving, and Preventing Intergroup Conflict. Limitations and Potential. American Psychologist, Vol 68 (7), pp, 527-542
Cohen-Almagor, R. (2011). Fighting Hate and Bigotry on the Internet. Policy and Internet, Vol 3 (3), Article 6
Mealy, M and Stephan, W. (2011). Intergroup Threat Theory. The encyclopedia of Peace Psychology
Nabil, A, N. (2017). Gender Discrimination in Bangladesh: Beyond Writing! Voices of Youth. Available at <https://www.voicesofyouth.org/en/posts/gender-discrimination-in-bangladesh--beyond-writing-> (Accessed 20th May 2017)
Pogrebin, R. 2017. Culture as a Bridge across Global Troubles. New York Times. Available at <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/autossell/culture-as-a-bridge-across-global-troubles.html> (Accessed 20th May 2017)
Ramsbotham, O, Woodhouse, T and Miall, H. (2011). Contemporary Conflict Resolution; The Prevention, Management and Transformation of Deadly Conflicts. Third Edition
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Smith, M. (2011). A Liberal Grand Strategy in a Realist World Power, Purpose and the EUs Challenging Global Role. Journal of European Public Policy. Vol 18 (2), pp 144-163).
Smith, S, Hadfield, A and Dunne, T. (eds). (2016). Theories, Actors and Cases. Third Edition. UK. Oxford University Press, pp 113-166
Telhami, S. (2017). How Trump Changed American’s View of Islam-for the Better. The Washington Post. Available at <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/01/25/americans-dont-support-trumps-ban-on-muslim-immigration/?utm_term=.f785040374c2> (Accessed 20th May 2017)
Vanclay, F and Prenzel, P. (2013). How Social Impact Assessment Can Contribute to Conflict Management. Environmental Impact Assessment Review. Vol 45, pp, 30-37
Wallensteen, P. (2015). Understanding Conflict Resolution. Fourth Edition. UK. Sage