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Conduct a media search to identify examples of moral panics in Australia. Provide one link to a news article that you believe showcases a moral panic Essay

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Moral panic – Islamophobia

The article talks about how islamophobia is feeding on Australians’ fear of an evil within. Even though terrorism in Australia is lower as compared to other developed countries, the country is facing an intense moral panic concerning Islam (Morgan, 2014). Islam according to the article has become a topic of much heated public debate as well as incandescent media coverage, wherein Australians are losing the sense of proportion, portraying men having long beards as wicked and threatening. All radicalized moral panics according to the article do have natural features, through which the members of the public are encouraged to identify areas of alien morality as well as culture (Morgan, 2014). The moral panic in the media article is undeniably justified because scores of Muslims in Australia as well as other countries are experiencing high level of violence and discrimination directed to them by non-Muslims. The majority of educators and Muslims have termed this hatred and fear against Muslims as Islamophobia. According to Becker (1963), the technique of ‘labeling’ individuals within the society is normally generated from a generalized beliefs’ perspective towards members of a particular ethnicity, religion, nationality or gender. Becker (1963) further argues that when the majority group of persons (non-Muslims) holds particular beliefs towards another group (Muslims), the belief can lead to stereotype. The distinctions core to the ‘label’ beliefs, negative or positive, facilitates in creation of social stereotypes on the people in question, the Muslims. Muslims who hate crimes and fear discrimination have avoided acknowledging their faith publicly. According to labeling theory, labels applied to people have an effect on the behavior, especially when the labels are stigmatizing or negative. They subsequently encourage deviant behavior, and individuals who are labeled are left with no choice but to comply with the fundamental connotation of that judgment.

Labeling theory hypothesizes that social deviance can be prevented through restricted social defaming response in «labelers» as well as substituting moral indignation with tolerance. According to Lemert (1951) secondary deviation as a role, is generated to handle society’s condemnation of a person’s behaviour, such as practicing Islam. Some of the theories related to the labeling concept include Symbolic Interactionism and social construction theories. Symbolic interactionism is a theory where a meaning to things is given through language. When a meaning is internalized, it turns out to be entrenched in that society’s culture; in so doing, makes the society’s members to make uninformed conclusions rooted in assumptions. This assumption symbolizes the societies’ passive recognition of the belief generated by means of symbolic interactionism. In view of this theory, non-Muslim vilifies Muslims through labeling them as terrorists due to the prima facie assumption that terrorists are mostly Muslims. On the other hand, social constructionism theory focuses on social problems construction, especially those perceived as challenging but is not real. According to constructionist, social problems are socially constructed and so they are non-existent in people’s mind. Therefore, Islamophobia is constructed socially. In spite of different generations living in Australia, scores of Muslims are seen as foreigners who are out to destroy Australia. The Muslim properties are being sprayed with racist slogans while women headscarfs are being pulled out in the public places.


Morgan, G., 2014. Islamophobia feeds on our fear of an evil within. [Online] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/islamophobia-feeds-on-our-fear-of-an-evil-within-20140930-10o073.html [Accessed 16 December 2015].