Christian Chronicle

Anti-Islamophobia: A nuanced portrayal of Syrian refugees in the heart of red-state America

By Bobby Ross Jr. | GetReligion

Stereotypes plague so much news coverage of Muslims in Donald Trump’s America.

I’m talking about negative pieces that attempt to turn every conservative state into a bastion of hatred toward Islam and its followers.

These are the type of stories that take a single case — or a few random incidents — and scream, “Islamophobia!” See examples here, here, here, here and here. Too often, these articles rely on squishy generalizations when what readers really need — and deserve — are hard facts.

So what’s the antidote to such poor journalism?

Well, reporting that focuses on real people — with real context and real nuance — would be a nice place to start.

Speaking of which, the Washington Post (for which I occasionally freelance) featured just such a story on its front page Monday.

Post national writer Robert Samuels enlightens and surprises — both nice traits for a newspaper story — as he paints a portrait of Syrian refugees in a state where nearly three out of five voters supported Trump.

Read the full column.

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More of my GetReligion columns (February 2017):

Meet one of America’s largest religious groups — by the way, they DON’T believe in God. Published Feb. 6.

Potential impact of Johnson Amendment repeal: Associated Press delves a little more deeply. Published Feb. 8.

‘Footloose’ controversy in small-town Oklahoma: Was church near canceled dance unfairly targeted? Published Feb. 13.

Do both sides agree it’s stupid to require a father’s approval for an abortion? Media don’t bother to ask. Published Feb. 15.

Ghosts of Mark Sanford return: About Politico’s religion-free profile of adulterer and Trump critic. Published Feb. 20.

Facts, framing and fairness: Three questions to consider on Trump transgender bathroom decision. Published Feb. 23.

When a 4-year-old biological male prays to be a girl, a few questions for journalists to consider. Published Feb. 24.

This news isn’t fake, but it’s flawed: Three problems with NPR’s report on religious freedom bills. Published Feb. 27.

From awful to fantastic: Three lessons in NPR’s Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde coverage of religious freedom. Published Feb. 28.

The rest of my February 2017 columns

Anti-clickbait: This post won’t mention YOU KNOW WHO. Warning! International news. Published Feb. 1.

Happy 13th birthday, GetReligion! My wish as we enter the teenage years. Published Feb. 2.

Meet one of America’s largest religious groups — by the way, they DON’T believe in God. Published Feb. 6.

How one Bible Belt congregation welcomes refugees: A Godbeat pro offers interesting insight. Published Feb. 10.

Eyes of Texas are on religious leaders – pro and con – as state debates transgender-friendly bathrooms. Published Feb. 14.

Celebrate good times, come on! Enjoy these three great reads from the Godbeat. Published Feb. 22.

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