Are unidentified terrorist suspects always Muslims?

Autor(en)
Desiree Schmuck, Jörg Matthes, Christian von Sikorski, Nicole Materne, Ekata Shah
Abstrakt

Two experimental studies investigated how news reports about terrorist attacks committed by unidentified perpetrators influence beliefs about the perpetrators and Muslims in general. In Study 1, a quota-based sample of 354 Germans was exposed to terror news coverage describing either non-Muslim or Muslim victims with no reference to the perpetrators of the attacks. Upon stimulus exposure, participants were asked the likelihood that the perpetrators were either Islamist extremists, far-right extremists, or lone operators. In Study 2, no information about the victims was provided, but the perpetrators were either Muslims or unidentified. In addition, we measured news consumers' Islamophobic attitudes in both studies. Results from Study 1 revealed that participants attributed perpetrator-unidentified attacks to Islamist perpetrators when the victims were non-Muslims. In contrast, terrorist attacks directed against Muslim victims were more likely to be attributed to far-right extremists. Additionally, Study 2 revealed that news consumers associated perpetrator-unidentified terrorist attacks with Islamist extremists to an equal degree as terrorist attacks that were committed by Muslim perpetrators. Attributing the attack to Islamists was in turn significantly related to Islamophobic attitudes in both studies. Implications of these findings for journalism practice and society at large are discussed.

Organisation(en)
Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft
Externe Organisation(en)
Universität Koblenz-Landau
Journal
Religions
Band
9
Anzahl der Seiten
16
DOI
https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100286
Publikationsdatum
09-2018
Peer-reviewed
Ja
ÖFOS 2012
508007 Kommunikationswissenschaft, 508014 Publizistik
Schlagwörter
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Religious studies
Link zum Portal
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/de/publications/are-unidentified-terrorist-suspects-always-muslims(7e470e40-3641-4298-ac44-f5aae0136f47).html