Catholic press coverage of Islam and violence

[Catholic] press coverage of Islam and violence

From Quick Hits

By Phil Lawler | Sep 16, 2016

The Bridge Initiative is unhappy with the coverage of Islam provided by Catholic World News (among other outlets). In a report on Catholic public attitudes toward Islam, the Bridge Initiative—an initiative of the [Saudi Arabian subsidized] Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University—finds that 45% of Catholics think Islam “encourages violence more than other religions around the world.” And why might that be?

The headlines of Catholic articles dealing with Islam have a negative sentiment overall, and the primary emotion conveyed is anger. Of the online Catholic outlets examined, Catholic Answers and [Catholic World News at] Catholic Culture had the most negative sentiment in their titles related to Islam.

The Bridge Initiative is dedicated to inter-religious understanding; CWN is dedicated to providing world news. Unfortunately, news headlines in recent years have often involved acts of violence, committed by radical Muslims. The Georgetown group shows a strong preference for news outlets that quote frequently from statements by Pope Francis about Islam, which have been overwhelmingly positive. But the Pope has, it seems clear, deliberately avoided mentioning Islam in his comments on terrorist violence. So the substance of the Bridge Initiative complaint seems to be that in the editorial judgment of CWN, it is more newsworthy when terrorists murder people, citing their zeal of Islamic law, than when scholars meet to say that Islamic law does not justify murder. And if we sound angry about the shedding of innocent blood, so be it.

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