Crikey reporter Jane Nethercote writes:


The portrayal of Arab and Muslim people in the Western media is “typically stereotypical and negative,” according to a new study of perceptions of Islam, reported here in The Guardian. The study, commissioned by the Kuwaiti government, claims that terrorism, anti-Americanism and the Iraq occupation dominate TV news coverage of the Middle East.

And while stereotypes in print media are not usually “so obvious, except in cartoon caricatures,” anti-Muslim bias is “more insidious,” says the study. “The terms Islamic or Muslim are linked to extremism, militant, jihads, as if they belonged together inextricably and naturally (Muslim extremist, Islamic terror, Islamic war, Muslim time bomb).”

Perth’s Sunday Times seems to have been reading from the study’s what-not-to-do rule book with last Sunday’s “inside story of Perth’s good and bad reaction to an undercover ‘Muslim.'” In fact, Louise Pemble’s page four article, “How it feels to be an outsider,” is a sympathetic look at what it feels like to be a Muslim woman in Perth as she dons “Islamic garb” to test the city’s tolerance levels.

But by featuring a woman in hijab with the tag “Move away from bomber” on its front cover, it exploits the Muslim bomber stereotype to dramatic effect.