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Desislava Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva


Университетско издателство „Епископ Константин Преславски” Шумен 2018

Framing Muslims in the Bulgarian and the British Media Discourse marks an attempt at comparing the ways the national media in two different countries construct and develop the image of the religious Other, represented in this case by Muslims. The book addresses issues such as race and racism, otherness, Orientalism and Islamophobia in order to outline the main influences in framing the images of Muslims in both media discourses. The topical distribution of articles as well as references, metaphors and stereotypes are analysed with the intention of presenting a coherent multifarious image of Muslims. Framing Muslims in the Bulgarian and the British Media Discourse can be used by scholars working in the field of Media and Culture Studies, by students making their first steps in CDA or by anybody interested in media language on Muslims.

© Desislava Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva © Framing Muslims in the Bulgarian and the British Media Discourse © Cover design by Visnezh / Freepik

Българска, първо издание Рецензенти: проф. д.ф.н. Елка Добрева доц. д-р Светлана Неделчева

Научен редактор: проф. д-р Румяна Тодорова ISBN 978-619-201-228-1

Университетско издателство „Епископ Константин Преславски” Шумен 2018

CONTENTS List of Abbreviations


List of Tables










News Values


Global Thinking Patterns




Corpus and Methods of Analysis




Muslims in the UK




Focal Points in the Framing of Muslims in the Media


Discourses of Race and Racism








Chapter Four. SETTING UP THE FRAME Local Coverage Politics

66 68 68

Other local topics


International Coverage


Chapter Five. WHAT’S IN A NAME


Negative References


Positive References




Warfare as a Source of Metaphors


Medicine and Biology as Sources of Metaphors


Transport as a Source of Metaphors


Disasters as Sources of Metaphors




The Muslim Terrorist


The Veiled Woman


The Muslim Victim


The Homogeneous Group of Muslims






List of Abbreviations Newspaper sources: Bulgarian newspapers /Dn/- Dnevnik (Дневник) /St/- Standart (Стандарт) /24ch/- 24 Chasa (24 часа) /N/- Novinar (Новинар) /A/- Ataka (Атака) British newspapers /In/- The Independent /G/- The Guardian /DM/- The Daily Mail /DT/- The Daily Telegraph /IbT/- The International Business Times Parts of articles: /h/- headline /sh/- subheadline /l/- lead, or lede Online Corpora: COCA – Corpus of Contemporary American English BNC – British National Corpus BulNC – Bulgarian National Corpus BNC_customBG – Custom designed corpus of Bulgarian media excerpts within the BNC References: EOLD – English Oxford Living Dictionaries


List of Tables Table 1. Local vs. international news distribution in the bigger corpus Table 2. Total number of local news articles compared to political and international news Table 3. General distribution of the topics covered in the Bulgarian and the British media (in alphabetic order) Table 4. Negative references used in the bigger manually compiled corpus of articles Table 5. Negative references used in the small manually compiled Bulgarian corpus of articles Table 6. Negative references used in the small manually compiled English corpus of articles Table 7. Negative references used in web-based corpora Table 8. Approximate number of converts. Adapted from The Economist (01.04.2017) Table 9. Positive references used in the bigger manually compiled corpus of articles Table 10. Positive references used in the small manually compiled English corpus of articles Table 11. Positive references in the web-based corpora of articles


Acknowledgements First and foremost, I would like to thank my family for the patience during the long hours I spent in front of the computer researching, analysing and finally compiling this book. The time spent working was usually at the expense of the time spent with them. I would also like to thank them for the confidence and constant support they gave me in this hectic and sometimes even difficult time. Second, I would like to express my utter respect, gratitude and appreciation for the guidance, advice and confidence of two women who stand for me as the ultimate role models and a guiding light for scientific acumen, exactitude, precision and incessant energy and drive: Prof. Dr. Rumyana Todorova and Prof. Dr. Habil. Elka Dobreva. The former, set me on the road to research and taught me how to be diligent and exacting in the work I do, she showed me the basics of CDA and was one of the best PhD advisers I have ever known. She gave me the freedom to find my own way and supported me throughout the whole process by providing advice and being there sometimes even simply to listen to my research endeavours and share her expert opinion. She was more than a person to learn from, she was and still is a friend. Prof. Dr. Habil Elka Dobreva is the other person who has blazed trails in my development. She is the bright example of a researcher who is very precise, very knowledgeable, very prolific, inventive and never ploughing the same furrow. She was one of the first reviewers I had as a PhD and she is also the person I have always counted on for objective advice and opinion. Another person who was also responsible, albeit indirectly, for steering me into the direction of media and cultural studies, and whom I owe my first clash with the analysis on the way the media present ethnic and religious matters, is Dr. Veselin Boudakov. He somehow sensed that the subject matter would find a fertile ground in my personality and would result in various papers on the subject. I would like to name one more person who was of significance for me throughout the period of writing this book and not only that – Snejana Obeyd: a very close friend who never doubted the direction I have taken and who gave me the strength to continue even when I had some concerns. My gratitude also goes to all my colleagues from the Department of English Studies at Shumen University who had the patience to read my work and share their opinion.


I am especially grateful to Irina Ivanova and Svetlana Nedelcheva, who along with Prof. Rumyana Todorova, made some preliminary, very inciteful remarks and observations as well as shared their opinion on this book. Heartfelt thanks for reading the manuscript and correcting so diligently any inconsistencies and typos. Last but not least, I would also like to show my appreciation for anyone who have dedicated even a small or a more significant part of their time reading this book. I do hope that everyone can find in it something to relate to and something that would make him or her reflect on the subject at hand. Desislava Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva Shumen, 16 March 2018


To my family


PREFACE Muslims are not, however, a homogeneous group. Some Muslims are devout but apolitical; some are political but do not see their politics as being ‘Islamic’ (indeed, they may even be anti-Islamic). Some identify more with a nationality of origin, such as Turkish; others with the nationality of settlement and perhaps citizenship, such as French. Some prioritise fundraising for mosques, others campaigns against discrimination, unemployment or Zionism. For some, the Ayatollah Khomeini is a hero and Osama bin Laden an inspiration; for others, the same may be said of Kemal Ataturk or Margaret Thatcher, who created a swathe of Asian millionaires in Britain, brought in Arab capital and was one of the first to call for NATO action to protect Muslims in Kosovo. The category ‘Muslim’, then, is as internally diverse as ‘Christian’ or ‘Belgian’ or ‘middle class’, or any other category helpful in ordering our understanding of contemporary Europe; but just as diversity does not lead to an abandonment of social concepts in general, so with that of ‘Muslim’ (Modood 2009: 193194)

The quote taken from Modood (2009) nicely summarises the whole diversity there is in the concept of a Muslim and at the same time, hints at the challenges in describing it unilaterally. Thus, this book sets off with the full consciousness that a thorough overview of the image of a cultural/religious Other is very difficult to attain. At the same time, any addition to the understanding and recognition of the Other is a contribution that is valuable in itself as it can be a means to the achievement of an inclusive society. The interest in the topic was aroused on the one hand, by the greater media prominence Muslims have been receiving in the last sixteen and more years, while on the other hand, by the desire to identify the different aspects this prominence has. Additionally, the attention of the author was drawn by the mostly negative coverage of Muslims that seems to have dominated most of the communication channels today. The focus of the analysis is on the framing of the image of Muslims in both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse. In this book the term vi

framing is not used in the generally held informal, predominantly negative meaning of ‘incriminating’, but rather with its primary notion of ‘formulating’ or ‘constructing’, in this particular case, the image of the religious Other. The comparative approach to the topic is aimed at providing an insight into the similarities and differences in the thinking patterns of the people in these two countries as reflected in their media. It is also meant to fill a gap in the existing research on the topic as presented in the Bulgarian and the British media discourse. It is truly a challenging task as we cannot talk about a general uniform image of a group that is so diverse and multifarious. As the following pages will show, the historical and social development of the members of this global “umma”1 in the two countries differ, which can foster different framing and portrayal. In addition, the increased visibility of terrorist organisations, such as ISIS/ISIL2, Boko Haram, Al’Quaeda, among others, definitely contribute to the more frequent negative reference to Islam and the fossilisation of the associations between Muslims in general and terrorism. Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that calamities, terror and casualties sell, or “if it bleeds, it leads” as Eric Pooley first stated back in 1989. However, there is more to the image of Muslims than terrorism and that is one of the aims of this book, i.e. to look at, analyse and present the other images of the religious Other, in the most neutral and objective way, though it is practically impossible. By doing this, albeit at a smaller scale, the book contributes to the refutal of one of the dominant stereotypes that exist about Muslims, i.e. that they are all the same regardless of their location. Still, providing a broader platform for comparison would not promote the idea that Muslims are the same as Us, but rather that they are different and similar at the same time and that is what makes them as unique as any other group of people. Umma or ummah “is often used to refer to the essential unity of all Muslims, despite their diverse geographical and cultural settings” (Esposito 2002b: 16). 2 Actually, at the time of writing of this study there have been several attacks claimed by ISIS/ISIL in Europe, the latest of which happened on 18 Febuary 2018 at an Orthodox church in Kizlyar, Russia. 1


The object of study, i.e. media articles published in the electronic versions of both the Bulgarian and the British national newspapers, is a suitable source for the goal set here as the media reflect and influence reality. In addition, with the advent of technology, news and media content in general, get updated by the minute which provides readers with up-todate, even up-to-the-minute information, including life-streams and videos. All these innovations and additions to the ways of presentation, contribute to the more vivid and multimodal presentation of the information in general and of the Other in particular. Along with this, the more vivid images attribute truth value to the presentation, thus making them seem more plausible to people who have not had personal contacts with Muslims but who already have ideas about the latter based on preconceived stereotypes, folk tales, and their own culture in its most generic sense. The media can strengthen or refute some of the ideas “planted” in people’s heads and can foster the demonstration of different attitudes based on their way of presentation and the means they use. To that end, the main method that has been applied is Critical discourse analysis mostly due to the fact that it is a method that does not only analyse the text but also accounts for the social and discursive practices behind it. However, the intention here is not to make judgements on the presentations made, but rather to attempt at an objective analysis of the devices used and the images offered to the readers in both countries. The book is structured in such a way as to reflect the main components of the framing process of Muslims in the Bulgarian and the British media as well as the principles which govern them, paying attention to the wider social and historical reality that underlies particular presentations and the existence of specific thinking patterns. Chapter One introduces the main terms used in the study and the prerequisites for a study of the kind. Chapter Two presents the historical, social and economic background of Muslim communities in Bulgaria and the UK. This introduction is necessary as it would provide the basis for some assumptions on the similarities or differences in media presentations of the two groups.


Chapter Three looks into the main studies conducted on the topic and outlines the essential subtopics associated with the major terms and processes governing framing of religious groups; in this case the focus is on Muslims and concepts such as Otherness, Orientalism, Islamophobia. Chapter Four provides the content analysis of the corpus of Bulgarian and British newspaper articles with a focus on the distribution of publications, topics, speakers, and sources presented. It has two main subsections: local and international coverage. Chapter Five “What’s in a Name” views the positive and negative references used for Muslims and the associations these provoke and then compares the findings from the manually-collected corpora of media articles to the results provided by online corpora. Chapter Six “The Trojan Horse in our Backyard” focuses on the metaphors used in the presentation of Muslims and the various nuances they bring to the image of Muslims. Chapter Seven “Pictures in our Heads” analyses the stereotypes most frequently employed by the Bulgarian and the British media in the framing of Muslims. Chapter Eight summarises all findings and provides the main conclusions drawn on the basis of the content and critical discourse analysis conducted.


CHAPTER ONE. INTRODUCTION Media theorists reiterate the fact that the media have the power to create and at the same time alter reality (Fowler 1991; Cottle 2003). The BBC’s Director-General, Mark Thompson, described the various communication channels nowadays as ‘Martini media’; consumed ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’, which signifies the fact that the media have the power not only to reach and reflect, but also to influence people’s way of thinking. In addition, “in times of crisis, the media can aggravate or moderate perceptions of fear and threat” (Ali web). The reason for this statement is the fact that reality is actually being constructed through human interaction and exchange of knowledge and ideas (Dobreva 2011a). Thus, our versions of reality are being “fabricated” and are a result of the social processes of exchange and discussion that take place among people in their interpersonal, inter-group and mass media interactions (Dobreva 2011a: 7-8). The creation of realities can happen at any moment and is definitely culture specific. The media and the information conveyed by them foster the development of concepts and notions of events that people are not familiar with or of such that they did not know even existed. The choice of symbols to represent any reality gives scholars the reason to talk about biased or preferential reporting based on the interests the media serve: sponsors, elites, general politics (Van Dijk 2000: 7; Croteau, Hoynes 2003: 159; Entman 2007; McNair 2009). In addition, people tend to present the information from their own perspective, reflected through their own perceptions and beliefs (Fowler 1991; Dobreva 2011a), which makes researchers conclude that objective reporting of reality is virtually impossible. Furthermore, based on their experience, as well as on the information they receive from the media, people are able to create, adapt or shift their perceptions and conceptualisations of a problem and appropriate what is new or different. This is especially true of matters such as religion, belonging or interethnic relationships. Thus, Poole (2002: 31) comes to conclude that “‘the media’ construct their own reality. It is not, therefore, helpful to try and measure the content of the media against some kind of actuality but rather to examine representational frameworks produced and therefore knowledge produced about Islam”. 1

When it comes to publications on Islam in the media, Poole (2002) also states that the main factor that governs them is cultural proximity. She continues that “the greater the cultural distance between sets of peoples, the greater the reliance on media information for interpreting Islam. It is anticipated then that, for the majority of non-Muslims, it is through the media that Muslims are known” (Poole 2002: 26). In addition, local factors should not be neglected as though “content is politically (and commercially) driven, local circumstances allow for some variety in representation” (Poole, Richardson 2006: 5). The media undoubtedly are the Fourth Estate of Power because of all the above reasons. At the same time, their role in the process of constructing meaning varies from issue to issue, based on personal experience and attitude (Gamson, Modigliani 1989: 9; Freyenberger 2013). In this line of thought a person who has experienced some kind of discrimination is able to relate to the reported event closely and can assess the objectivity or subjectivity in the way the event has been reported more easily, while a person who in the ideal case has no experience of any form of discrimination is more likely to remain indifferent or even scorn such presentations. Therefore, readers are not just passive recipients of anything that gets published but have an active role in the process of decoding media information. That is the reason why it is very difficult to comment on objective reporting. However, it can be stated that the so-called serious press, or the broadsheets as they are defined in the UK, present their information more objectively than their tabloid counterparts. The same can be said about some of the media genres, such as news when they are compared to other genres, such as editorials or features. In addition, the new technologies and the advent of the Internet have made it possible for the parallel existence of printed and online versions of the newspapers. The latter, in their turn, provide greater amount of information, access to news archives, live streams and various pictures from the spot thus contributing to the instantaneous transmission (Gunter 2003: 143; Abbas 2011: 71) and multimodal presentation of the information which adds up to the more vivid portrayal of the events at hand. Furthermore, the new media in general and social media in particular, contribute to the more personal and objective presentation of information, as readers are exposed to more than one point of view. 2

Still, in their way of reporting newspapers follow the policy of the organisations that own them and as such they focus on the aspects responding to that policy. For example, in case of publications on refugees, the media that are with a more left-wing orientation3 focus more on the personal side of the problem and the social provisions that can be applied. The right-wing media, on the other hand, are expected to be more reserved and conservative in general in their portrayal of such issues. In addition, the nationalist press is generally even hostile to issues dealing with refugees, immigrants, ethnic minorities or religious groups that are different than the dominant one (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2012). Thus, ideology and power have a major role in the type of presentation in the media and the devices employed to that end (van Dijk 2000, 2006). NEWS VALUES Talking about media presentations, there is another aspect that has to be taken into account: news values. Basically what gets published depends on its value, or newsworthiness, for the readers and the publishers as each newspaper strives for a bigger readership. As Hall (1978) states “[t]he media do not simply and transparently report events which are ‘naturally’ newsworthy in themselves. ‘News’ is the end-product of a complex process which begins with a systematic sorting and selecting of events and topics according to a socially constructed set of categories” (Hall 1978: 53). A similar observation is made by Fowler (1991: 13) “news is not simply that which happens, but that which can be regarded and presented as newsworthy”. Thus, the event that receives broader coverage is the one that meets more of the criteria defined as “news values” (Fowler 1991; Bell 1991). Both Bell (1991) and Fowler (1991) provide categories that are similar to those initially put forward by Galtung and Ruge (1965)4,

Here the distinction made is between the left-wing media that are supportive of social equality and oppose the unjust practices towards people usually considered as Other on the one hand, and the right-wing media that are more conservative, thereby viewing those who are culturally different as intruders and people who have to conform with the norms of the society which has accepted them, on the other. 4 The values first set forward by Johann Galtung and Mari Ruge (1965) in their analysis of news included the following sections: 1) frequency; 2) threshold; 2.1) absolute; intensity 2.2) intensity increase; 3) unambiguity; 4) meaningfulness; 4.1) cultural proximity; 4.2) relevance; 5) consonance; 5.1) predictability; 5.2) demand; 6) unexpectedness; 6.1) unpredictability; 6.2) scarcity; 7) continuity; 3


although, Bell (1991) introduces a distinction between values in news actors and events5, values in the news process6, and values in the news text. However, as already stated, there is usually a combination of several criteria that singles out the story that gets published. Harcup and O’Neill (2017) argue that the publication of a news story cannot be accounted for simply by the criteria mentioned above mostly because there are other, “arbitrary factors including luck, convenience and serendipity can come into play; as when a planned story falls through at the last minute, for example, and a previously discarded one is selected to take its place” (ibid.: 1472). The same authors also state that with the advent of the electronic media and the social networks, more significance has been attributed to (audio) visuals as well as on news that report on conflict7. Having in mind the social media as an important addition to the mainstream media, Harcup and O’Neill (2017: 1481) come up with the following criteria

8) composition; 9) reference to elite nations; 10) reference to elite people; 11) reference to persons; 12) reference to something negative. 5 The values in news actors and events include: 1) Negativity; 2) Recency: the best news is something, which has only just happened; 3) Proximity: geographical closeness can enhance news value (Galtung and Ruge (1965) also call it Meaningfulness); Consonance: the compatibility of a story with preconceptions about the social group or nation from which the news actors come (people have a mental script for how certain kinds of events proceed); 4) Unambiguity: the more clear-cut a story is, the more it is favoured; 5) Unexpectedness: the unpredictable or the rare is more newsworthy than the routine (closely related is Novelty); 6) Superlativeness: the biggest building, the most violent crime gets covered; 7) Relevance: the effect on the audience’s own lives or closeness to their experience; 8) Personalization: something that can be framed in personal terms is more newsworthy than a concept; 9) Eliteness of the news actors; 10) Attribution: the eliteness of a story’s sources can be crucial in its news chances; 11) Facticity: the degree to which a story contains the kinds of facts and figures on which hard news thrives (locations, names, numbers of all kinds). 6 The values in the news process as defined by Bell (1991) are: 1) Continuity: once something is in the news, it tends to stay there. (News breeds news); 2) Competition: every news outlet wants an exclusive; 3) Co-option: a story which is only tangentially related can be interpreted and presented in terms of a high-profile continuing story; 4) Composition: editors want both a mixture of different kinds of news and some common threads; 5) Predictability: if an event can be prescheduled for journalists it is more likely to be covered than if it turns up unheralded; 6) Prefabrication: the existence of ready-made text, which journalists can take over. 7 Franklin et al. (2005) also emphasise the importance of conflict subsuming it under bad news. Thus, the values they define are: “reference to the power elite (individuals, organisations and nations); reference to celebrity; entertainment (e.g. sex, human interest, drama); surprise; good news (e.g. rescues, personal triumph); bad news (e.g. tragedy, accident); magnitude; relevance (cultural proximity, political importance); follow-up stories; and the newspaper’s agenda (both politically and relating to the structure of the genre)” (ibid.: 174).


which can be better suited to the present media reality and the materials that get published: Exclusivity: Stories generated by, or available first to, the news

organisation as a result of interviews, letters, investigations, surveys, polls, and so on; Bad news: Stories with particularly negative overtones such as death, injury, defeat and loss (of a job, for example); Conflict: Stories concerning conflict such as controversies, arguments, splits, strikes, fights, insurrections and warfare; Surprise: Stories that have an element of surprise, contrast and/or the unusual about them; Audio-visuals: Stories that have arresting photographs, video, audio and/or which can be illustrated with infographics; Shareability: Stories that are thought likely to generate sharing and comments via Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media; Entertainment: Soft stories concerning sex, showbusiness, sport, lighter human interest, animals, or offering opportunities for humorous treatment, witty headlines or lists; Drama: Stories concerning an unfolding drama such as escapes, accidents, searches, sieges, rescues, battles or court cases; Follow-up: Stories about subjects already in the news; The power elite: Stories concerning powerful individuals, organisations, institutions or corporations; Relevance: Stories about groups or nations perceived to be influential with, or culturally or historically familiar to, the audience; Magnitude: Stories perceived as sufficiently significant in the large numbers of people involved or in potential impact, or involving a degree of extreme behaviour or extreme occurrence; Celebrity: Stories concerning people who are already famous; Good news: Stories with particularly positive overtones such as recoveries, breakthroughs, cures, wins and celebrations; News organisation’s agenda: Stories that set or fit the news organisation’s own agenda, whether ideological, commercial or as part of a specific campaign (italics and bold mine).

In terms of the coverage of Muslims, it is usually bad news (along with conflict), together with other values such as magnitude, relevance, audiovisuals, follow-up stories and the general newspaper agenda that define the nature of publications. Usually, terrorist attacks are something everyone can relate to and feel threatened by. At the same time, such attacks generally leave a lot of casualties and the development of such events is being followed days on end until every single detail has been clarified and commented on.


GLOBAL THINKING PATTERNS In order for the information presented to be better and more easily understood and recognised, newspapers follow some frames typical for a particular topic, relying mostly on the cognitive models that the readers as part of a specific culture carry. Thus, frames are used to organise events making parts of stories more salient than others and forming points of reference on the basis of which people can judge the whole event (Durham 2001; Croft, Cruise 2004; Downing, Husband 2005; Harold 2010; Carter 2013). Van Dijk (1977: 215) defines frames as “knowledge units organised around a certain concept”. In addition, he states that frames have more or less conventional nature and as such they should show what is characteristic for a particular culture (see also Croft, Cruise 2004; Fillmore, Baker 2009; Todorova 2015). This suggests that frames are also culture specific and would differ from culture to culture. A frame also organises our behaviour and helps us interpret other people’s behaviours. Fillmore and Baker (2009) define frames as “‘slot-filler’ structures of interconnected roles together with constraints on the possible or likely fillers of those roles”. In this sense the definition of frame provided by Fillmore and Baker (2009) resembles very closely the one of a script as defined by Schank and Abelson (1977). The latter is defined as “a standardized generalized episode” (Schank, Abelson 1977: 19), or “a structure that describes appropriate sequences of events in a particular context” (ibid.: 41)8. The essential point about a script is that it provides connectivity and that it is comprised of slots and has established rules as to what can fill these slots (Schank, Abelson 1977). Thus, it is a “predetermined, stereotyped sequence of actions that defines a well-known situation” (ibid.: 41). They differentiate between personal, instrumental, and situational scripts based on the actors involved and the type of knowledge, i.e. whether it is personal or general. The difference between a frame and a script then, is in terms of sequence of events. As stated by Beaugrande and Dressler (1981): “Frames state what things belong together in principle, but not in what order things will be done or 8

See also Fillmore (2007).


mentioned” (ibid.: 90-91). Talking about schemas, on the other hand, the two scholars agree that [s]chemas are global patterns of events and states in ordered sequences linked by time proximity and causality. Unlike frames, schemas are always arrayed in a progression, so that hypotheses can be set up about what will be done or mentioned next in a textual world. Plans are global patterns of events and states leading up to an intended goal (Beaugrande, Dressler 1981: 90-91)9.

To conclude, Beaugrande and Dressler (1981: 92) explain: The importance of these kinds of global patterns has become recognised in the procedural attachment of producing and receiving texts: how a topic might be developed (frames), how an event will progress in a sequence (schemas), how text users or characters in textual worlds will pursue their goals (plans), and how situations are set up so that certain texts can be presented at the opportune moment (scripts). 10

A clarification, however, is needed: despite the fact that they are all connected with cognition and present types of cognitive models and at times overlap in definitions, cognitive linguists assign different values to scripts, schemata and frames. On the other hand, analysing frames, communication theorists usually equate said concepts, perceiving them as “mentally stored clusters of ideas that guide individual’s processing of information” (Entman 1993: 53)11. Frames are also often regarded as schemata of interpretation that work through media texts (Reese 2001: 14). They are also defined as organizing ideas, part of societal ideology, “a moment in a chain of signification”, they have to be shared in order to be active, persistent, distributed over a number of stories as well as they are dichotomous in their essence (Entman 1993; Gamson, Modigliani 1989; Durham 2001). Stating that they are symbolic refers to the way they have been developed in the media texts. Various authors provide various forms of frame analysis – vocabulary, syntax, rhetoric, topics, metaphors, catch phrases, images, etc., however, content is only “the tip of a very big iceberg” (Reese 2001: 16) as what gets

See also Todorova (2015: 113). For a more detailed analysis on the types of plans and goals that exist, see also Schank and Abelson (1977). 11 See also Fillmore (2007). 9



published is determined by the agenda of the media producers. The wider social context should also be taken into consideration. Frames and their development are also closely connected with the ways people tend to construct and share meanings which are also conducive to the social construction of reality (Berger, Luckmann 1966). Reese (2001) concludes that “[f]rames are organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent over time, that work symbolically to meaningfully structure the social world” (ibid.). By using frames, the media do not attempt at altering the message but rather at presenting it in a more palatable way through references to pre-existing cognitive models. This gives reason for scholars to conclude that the essence of framing and frames should be interpreted as suggested in the work of Berger and Luckmann (1966) as they claim that television uses images and messages in order to present segments of reality that seem complete. As framing encompasses both thinking patterns and social activities such as communication, it can be stated that it has both psychological and sociological roots. FRAMING A number of scholars (Reese 2001; Scheufele, Tewksbury 2007; Breen, Devereux, Haynes 2008; D’Angelo, Kuypers 2010; Andrade 2013; Carter 2013) refer to the work of Erving Goffman (1974) who laid the foundation of sociological framing stating that people cannot understand the world around them unless they apply “primary frameworks” (Goffman 1974: 24) in order to “classify information and interpret it meaningfully” (Scheufele, Tewksbury 2007: 12). Scheufele and Tewksbury (2007: 12) argue that framing is both a macroand a micro-level construct. The former they explain as “modes of presentation that journalists and other communicators use to present information in a way that resonates with existing underlying schemas among their audience”, while the latter is associated with the way people “use information and presentation features regarding issues as they form impressions” (ibid.). Freyenberger (2013: 15) defines the same phenomenon as influencing both public and individual knowledge on a specific topic.


In addition, Reese (2001: 10) quoting Tankard et al. (1991: 11) states that “[a] frame is a central organizing idea for news content that supplies a context and suggests what the issue is through the use of selection, emphasis, exclusion, and elaboration”12. He associates framing with power as the media have the right to decide what gets published and the way it is being presented to the wider society (see also Breen, Devereux, Haynes 2008). As Reese (2001) explains further “[f]raming is concerned with the way interests, communicators, sources, and culture combine to yield coherent ways of understanding the world, which are developed using all of the available verbal and visual symbolic resources” (ibid. 11). Lakoff (2004: 4) adds that framing is using language that “fits your worldview” and that this is done primarily because people think in frames (see also Croft, Cruise 2004). Everything that fits the frames in people’s minds gets accepted, while the facts that do not, are rejected. At the same time, framing has the power to influence people who are ignorant about a topic to form their opinion, while more educated people use frames as a background for their final decisions (Herald 2010). As Fillmore (2007) clarifies, in order to understand any single concept in a frame one should have an understanding of the whole structure to which it belongs, so that when one aspect of it is activated all the others follow instantaneously. According to Entman (1993; 2007: 164), “fully developed frames typically perform four functions: problem definition, causal analysis, moral judgment, and remedy promotion”. Analysing the framing process Edy and Meirick (2007) came to the conclusion that the media use competing frames in the presentation of an event. They also found out that people tend to adopt those only partially and then “cobble” different parts of these frames in order to support any further actions or political agendas. In addition, their study comes to prove that the sense that respondents make of public issues seems to be influenced by their social location […] but their sense of the situation has a unique impact on support for the policy over and above that explained by social location (Edy, Meirick 2007: 135-136). For a more detailed presentation on the development of frames and framing see Reese (2001) and Carter (2013). 12


Thus, it can be concluded that audiences build up their choice reactions based partially on the frames proposed by the media and more often on their own “existing cultural knowledge” (Gamson, Modigliani 1989). Analysing framing, Scheufele and Tewksbury (2007) differentiate between three different concepts that are usually closely linked: framing, agenda setting and priming. They argue that while framing has to do with the way an issue is presented in news reports so that it has a particular influence on the audiences, agenda setting and priming, which are accessibility-based models, have to do with the emphasis the media place on particular issues and the importance these topics have on the audiences, and the changes in the standards people make in evaluating particular issues, respectively. They further clarify that “priming is often understood as an extension to agenda setting” (Scheufele, Tewksbury 2007: 11)13. Scheufele and Tewksbury (2007: 14) provide the following distinction: The primary difference on the psychological level between agenda setting and priming, on the one hand, and framing, on the other hand, is therefore the difference between whether we think about an issue and how we think about it (italics in the original)14.

Furthermore, priming and agenda setting are associated with the accessibility of a particular construct which is time dependent, while framing is associated with the applicability of that particular construct to other issues which is a process not influenced by time (Scheufele, Tewksbury 2007; Edy, Meirick 2007). The idea of framing that is upheld in this study resembles that of Entman (1993) with a focus on the devices mentioned by him and the associations and general attitudes they provoke in the audiences: Communicators make conscious or unconscious decisions in deciding what to say, guided by frames (often called schemata) that organise their belief systems. The text contains the frames, which are manifested by the presence or absence of certain keywords, stock phrases, stereotyped images, sources of information, and sentences that provide thematically reinforcing clusters of facts or judgments (Entman 1993: 52; italics in the original).

13 14

See also Edy and Meirick (2007). See also Edy and Meirick (2007) as well as Herald (2010).


Thus, the stress here is on the way public discourse on Muslims is shaped through the attribution of various “labels” to that group. Therefore, the viability of representations is not questioned and alternative or more probable realities are not offered; the stress is rather on the “discursive constructions within the texts that are related to wider social processes” (Poole 2002: 23). The application of this idea is further supported by the fact that frames are easily evoked when the protagonist in news stories is a controversial person or a group of people as such stories provoke various reactions from the public (Andrade 2013). Muslims and the negative associations between the group and terrorist attacks are an especially suitable object for framing. CORPUS AND METHODS OF ANALYSIS The main, bigger corpus of the study covers the period 2014-2015 (July 2014 – July 2015) with a total number of 1852 articles (947 in Bulgarian and 905 in English). Then a smaller corpus of a week in 2017 (March 27April 3) was generated (41 articles in Bulgarian and 137 in English) in order to compare results and account for any additional topics or frames. The total number of analysed articles thus comes to 2030 articles. The corpus for this study consists of all articles that contained Muslim(s) or Islam as lexical items in both periods of analysis. In Bulgarian, all possible inflections of said terms have been considered and searched for. Thus, all articles that referred directly to members of this religious community have been covered. In addition, as continuous reporting on a topic could provide valuable insight on the presentation of the group, the development and solutions to a problem, such continuing stories have been granted special attention, as for example the imams from Pazardzhik, the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices, the attack in Paris, and Westminster, among others. It should also be clarified that there is a difference in the number of Bulgarian and British newspapers that have been used to generate said corpora. The variety of analysed Bulgarian newspapers is bigger as the access to their electronic versions and archives is easier. At the same time, this variety of newspapers is balanced with the lower number of articles published in each one of them separately. Thus, in order to have a somewhat equal presentation in terms of number of articles, a total of five 11

Bulgarian newspapers: 24 chasa, Dnevnik, Standart, Novinar and Trud, and a total of three British newspapers: The Independent, The Guardian and The Daily Mail have been analysed. The small corpus provides an even bigger variety of analysed newspapers as some newspaper databases have been used which allowed for simultaneous search of all available online newspapers in a particular language. In order to define first, the newsworthiness and second, the meaning of media issues, as well as to answer the main question of how Muslims are framed in both the Bulgarian and the British media on a comparative basis, a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches has been used. While Content Analysis has been resorted to in order to assess the frequency of occurring topics and ideas as well as the prominent actors and sources in the reporting on Muslims, Critical Discourse Analysis has been applied in the study of the actual presentations in the excerpted media texts. Thus, based on the proximity value the articles were divided into two main groups – focusing on local and international news, respectively, in order to assess their influence on the portrayed image, i.e. whether the image of Muslims framed in the Bulgarian or the British media is based primarily on the traits of local Muslims or whether it is governed by international reporting. Content Analysis has also been applied in order to define the frequency of occurrence of particular lexemes used to define Muslims as well as on the topics related to Muslims generally covered by the media in the two countries. The rest of the analysis is primarily conducted through the application of Critical Discourse Analysis as it is considered an integrated approach most suitable to the study of media presentations. The focus has been mostly on particular metaphors and stereotypes employed by the media in Bulgaria and the UK in their framing of the image of Muslims.


CHAPTER TWO. WHO ARE THEY AND WHERE THEY COME FROM: SOCIAL AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF MUSLIMS IN BULGARIA AND IN THE UK Globalisation, free movement of people and transfer of goods as well as negative phenomena such as various terrorist attacks, forced migration from war contested areas or as a result of natural disasters have all jointly made Muslims more visible and their presence more prominent in Europe. In addition, demographic data and public polls present Islam as a religion which is the second largest, quickly growing and covering a quarter of the population due to high birth rate, cases of new converts and influx of refugees (PewForum 2011; PewResearch 2011; PBS 2015). Furthermore, religious adherence, which used to be more or less a characteristic of a specific group, is no longer a constant. In Europe, for example, the number of Muslims is on the increase and there are cases of conversion even within groups which are traditionally considered European defined by the prototype of being “white, male, Christian, middle class, physically healthy and heterosexual” (Hall 1996). In order to be able to understand the reasons behind Muslim coverage in the media, this part of the study focuses more on the demographic and historical background of Muslim populations in the two countries. This will also help outline the significance of the phenomenon presented by the increased Muslim presence in Europe. As stated above, it would be a mistake to talk about Muslims in general as there are various denominations within the global umma and various fractions, some of which are not recognised as practicing Islam by traditional Muslims (Esposito 2002b; Masood 2006: 7). In addition, religion is a “pan-ethnic” phenomenon and a religious group can include people from various backgrounds (Peach 2005). As the subject of the study at hand is not a thorough historical review of Islam’s presence in Europe, only some of the main facts deemed relevant to this study will be mentioned while references will be made to sources that deal explicitly with the history of Islam.


MUSLIMS IN BULGARIA Using the demographic data available in 2010, Hackett (2016) shows that in terms of percentages of Muslims inhabiting a country, Bulgaria (13.7% or 1,020,000) and Cyprus (25.3% or 280 000) feature the highest number of Muslims, while Ghodsee (2010: 12) defines Bulgaria’s Muslim population of 2008 as the largest, “historically indigenous” one in the EU. Talking about the size of the group in each of the European countries, Hackett (2016) shows that the top five countries include Germany (4,760,000 – 5.8%), France (4,710,000 – 7.5%), the United Kingdom (2,960,000 – 4.8%), Italy (2,220,000 – 3.7%) and Bulgaria15. These observations and predictions are further supported by Nielsen (2016: 235) who presents some slightly higher numbers: “Russia (25-30 million), France (4-5 million), Germany (2.5-3 million), Britain (c. 2 million), former Yugoslavia (2-3 million), Albania (3 million), and Bulgaria (c. 1 million)”. Combining the data from these two scholars, it is easy to notice that excluding Russia, the Muslim population in the Balkans almost equals that in Western Europe, which is an observation Peev (2005: 142) made, though based on earlier data. Looking at the historical background of Muslims’ presence in Europe, various scholars point to the Moorish conquests in Spain in the 8th c., followed by the Crusades and the spread of the Ottoman Empire (Smith 1999). These events have influenced the countries in Europe in a different way. Merdjanova (2013: 6-7) states that the Muslim communities in the Balkans today “differ in terms of their ethnic backgrounds, native languages, and demographic distribution”. She further clarifies that Muslims in Bulgaria and Greece are predominantly rural, “since urban Muslim elites migrated in a number of massive waves to the Ottoman/Turkish lands” (ibid.). Based on their ethnic background

Based on that data Hackett (2016) provides five facts about Muslims in Europe: 1. Russia is the country most densely populated with Muslims as their number equals 14 million.; 2. The increase Muslim population marks per a decade is “by 1 percentage point (from 4% in 1990 to 6% in 2010.)”; 3. The average age of the members of the Muslim population in Europe was 32, which makes them the youngest population on the old continent, compared to European Christians whose average age was 42, while that of religiously unaffiliated people – 37; 4. There is a predominantly negative attitude towards Muslims in Eastern and Southern Europe; 5. The total number of Muslims inhabiting the EU was established at 13 million as of 2010. 15


scholars talk about Turks, Bulgarian-speaking Muslims (Pomaks16), Roma, and Tatars (Tomova 1998; Ilchevski 2007; Ghodsee 2010: 12; Merdjanova 2013: 11-12). Their distribution based on the census from 2001 was as follows: The Turks account for 75.3 percent of all Muslims in Bulgaria. The Pomaks17 make up 13.5 percent, while the Roma (some 40 percent of whom are Muslims)18 amount to 10.5 percent. The small Tatar community has some 4,500 members. Additionally, according to an earlier (1992) census, which also included data on the population by ethnic and sectarian affiliation, 7.7 percent of the Turkish Muslims are Alevis (also called Aliani or Kizilbashi), a heterodox sect considered by some authors to be Shi’ite (Merdjanova 2013: 11-12).

Looking at the general Muslim denominations 94.60% of all Muslims in Bulgaria defined themselves as Sunni (as the majority of Muslims in Turkey), while only 5.40% as Shia (see NSI; Poulton 1997: 14-15)19. Sadkova and Kabak (2017) define the Sunni as the traditional Muslim population in Bulgaria and clarify that what they focus on is the pragmatic aspect of the religion. What the two scholars also emphasise is that the long veils of women and long beards of men are not typical of the traditional Muslim population. Analysing Muslims in Bulgaria, Peev (2005) distinguishes between four linguistic-ethnic communities of Muslims, each one of which falls into a separate group. Thus, he outlines: 1. Islamized local groups of the Hugh Poulton calls the group “Islamicised Slavs” (1997: 15) thus hinting on the process of conversion they have undergone. On the origin of Pomaks and their identity see also Lozanova et al. (2007). 17 There is also a regional distinction in the areas different Muslim groups inhabit in Bulgaria: Pomaks for example, inhabit predominantly the Rhodope Mountains, parts of Rila and Pirin as well as some villages in Lovech and Teteven; Tatars are mostly to be found in the north-eastern part of the country (Ilchevski 2007). Konstantinov (1997: 36-37) claims that the Bulgarian Pomaks converted to Islam even earlier than the Turks. 18 Ilchevski (2007) clarifies that the group of Muslim Roma is characterised with its fluidity in terms of their religious adherence. 19 Merdjanova (2013) clarified that “The overwhelming majority of the Balkan Muslims are Sunnis and follow the Hanafi madhhab (school of law), which is part of the Ottoman legacy they share, since it was the official madhhab in the Ottoman Empire. Sufi Islam is represented by a number of tariqas (religious brotherhoods) such as Bektashiyya, Naqshbandiyya, Khalwatiyya, Qadiriyya, and Rifa’iyya, among others. Most of the Sufi orders in the region fall within the Sunni realm but retain many heterodox beliefs and practices. The attitudes of the mainline Sunnism to the Sufi brotherhoods varied from one tariqa to another and also evolved throughout the centuries” (Merdjanova 2013: 6). On the same topic see also Peev (2005) and Kasabov (2004). 16


population, such as Pomaks; 2. Population of Turkish origin and Turkicized groups that have remained on the territory after the demise of the Ottoman Empire – mostly the rural population in the Rhodope mountains, in Thrace, and in Dobrudzha; 3. Groups of people who have been resettled by the Ottomans, such as the Tatars; 4. Roma. The last group is defined by Peev (2005: 142-143) as something average between a tribe and an ethnic group, very marginal and rejected, with syncretic religious life as they follow the Gospel rather than the Qur’an, celebrate both Bayram and Christmas and St. George’s Day above all, circumcise their boys and they bury their dead following Muslim traditions20. As a result of its geographic location Bulgaria was part of the first wave of conquest of the Ottoman Empire which took place between 1352 and 1402, i.e. 1394 (Minkov 2004: 28). At that time there had already been plenty of ethno-national and state identities established in the area (Peev 2005). The opinions of scholars on the type of system imposed on the conquered lands differ in terms of the liberties and/or harm done to the local population (Minkov 2004; Peev 2005), however they generally agree that the Muslim population in Bulgaria originates from the Ottoman Turks (Tomova 1998; Minkov 2004; Peev 2005) and Minkov defines conversion to Islam in the Balkans as primarily “social conversion” (ibid. 34)21. At the same time, there are Islamologists, like Minkov (2004) and Poulton (1997), who, analysing the documents from that period, claim that there were cases of conversions to Islam even before the time of the Ottoman Empire22. Minkov (2004) states that conversions prior to the Ottoman Empire, at the time of the Arab conquest were triggered by economic and social reasons as adherence to the religion exempted the converts from

Merdjanova (2013: 7) also discussed the linguistic character of Muslims in the Balkans as a whole and distinguished between Albanian-speakers (4,355,000), Slavic-speakers (2,635,000), Turkishspeakers (1,040,000), and Roma (300,000)”. 21 Poulton (1997: 15) states that “Ottoman rule in the Balkans was essentially non-assimilative and ‘multinational’ in spirit; it also lacked the technological and institutional facilities for integrating and unifying subject peoples. As a result, the peoples of the Balkans were able to retain their separate identities and cultures”. Zhelyazkova et al. (1997) makes a similar observation stating that the conquered groups managed to retain their cultural characteristics. See also Gradeva (2005). 22 Neuburger looks into the way Communists tried to present Pomaks and Turks in Bulgaria as “blood brothers” who have been forcefully Islamicized and Turkified in the Ottoman period and thus justify changes of the toponyms, the Turco-Arabic names and the clothing of Bulgarian Turks (Neuburger 2004: 56-57). 20


poll tax and offered them a higher social status23. Scholars agree that the Muslim population on the Balkans today is a result of Muslim migration of nomadic groups, as well as resettlement of sedentary population from Asia Minor, converts and descendants of converts (Norris 1993; Poulton 1997; Encyclopedia 2004; Minkov 2004: 47; Merdjanova 2013). Thus, they come to the conclusion that Islamisation on the Balkans was a result of the interplay of several different factors rather than a single one (Zhelyazkova et al. 1997: 18ff.; Lapidus 2002: 785; Minkov 2004: 108; Mеrdjanova 2013: 2) and Peev (2005: 141) concludes that the contemporary political and ethnoreligious map of the Balkans is a result of migrations, conquests and cohabitation but also of wars and political combinations. At the time of the Ottoman Empire the type of government in all its aspects – financial, military, legislative, etc., that was imposed on the subjugated people was that of the Sharia in its “Turko-Ottoman interpretation” (Peev 2005: 144-145) and strict distinction between Muslims and Christians was imposed. However, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th – 20th c. the Muslims who remained in the formerly occupied countries found themselves in the position of a minority group living in the place they had formerly ruled (Peev 2005; Merdjanova 2013). Historians report that Muslims were considered legally equal to Christians but they did not have representation and experienced a kind of a glass ceiling24 in terms of social or career development (Peev 2005: 145ff.). The time that followed was characterised by the establishment of new nations and new unifying principles which led to the encapsulation of the Bulgarian Muslims. Hoepken (1997) supports the view that this seclusion was also the result of the Westernization of Bulgarian towns which changed the outlook Muslims were familiar with. The mosques also changed their purpose, cemeteries were moved to the outskirts and everything suggested that Muslims “were now ‘aliens’ in the new state, which encouraged them either to emigrate or to ‘encapsulate’ themselves further within their The idea of a higher status attributed to a Muslim convert is easily noticeable in the case of Muslim Bulgarian Roma as they are considered of a higher status and wealthier by the Christian members of the group. 24 The glass ceiling phenomenon is usually defined as “An unacknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities” (EOLD). 23


religious group-solidarity” (ibid.: 59). Their education also degraded: based on data from that time “in 1910 in Bulgaria the percentage of educated Christians was 53%, Muslims – 9%” (Peev 2005: 147). In addition to having high illiteracy rates, Hoepken (1997) describes the Muslim population in Bulgaria during Communism as “underdeveloped” and of a low social status. The attitude of the general public towards Muslims after the fall of the Ottoman Empire can be summarised in the observation made by the same author: Almost no one from the ‘European’ public could envisage a long-term coexistence between Muslims and Christians in the post-Ottoman Balkan states; their religious and cultural differences were thought too antagonistic, and it was generally believed that Muslims would not be willing to submit to non-Muslim rule (Hoepken 1997: 54).

The fall of the Ottoman Empire and the wars for national liberation, were followed by an exodus of Muslims. The numbers of people leaving the country vary from scholar to scholar: between 600,000 (Merdjanova 2013) and over 1 million (Hoepken 1997: 55; Zhelyazkova et al. 1997: 21), up to 1.5 million (Tomova 1998). The waves of Turks leaving the country grew larger in the years that followed. Hundreds of thousands of Turks left Bulgaria for Turkey after the First World War25. Talking about the people who left Bulgaria during Communism, Neuburger (2004: 67) states that they were 140,000. However, she hints at a possible foreign political intervention and describes the exodus as cleansing of the country of “potentially disloyal Turks”, which at the same time, provided the ruling political party with the opportunity to free lands which can be collectivized. Peev (2005) outlines several different alternatives that Muslims were faced with in addition to immigration to Turkey in the 1920s. These involved: developing a particular national feeling; assimilating into the Christian majority, while retaining their own

According to some scholars, their numbers were 200,000 (Merdjanova 2013: 10), while others claim they were 580,000 (Tomova 1998). There was another wave of migrants to Turkey from Bulgaria after the Second World War and then another one after the changes of 1989. According to Merdjanova (2013: 10) 522,000 Turks left Bulgaria in the period 1950-1989, Tomova (1998) states that their number was 645,000, while Lapidus (2002: 789) claims that the figure of Turks leaving Bulgaria in 1989 only was half a million. 25


spiritual values; integrating in the national community as a recognised minority; or assimilating completely and accepting laicism (ibid.). According to Maeva (2012: 48), the reasons for the exodus of Bulgarian Turks to Turkey after the changes were the attitude of the general population and the politicians26 who tried to present them as descendants of the Ottoman Turks. People regarded them as being different from the majority based on their religion. However, Turkey’s policy regarding that part of the Bulgarian society could have been another reason for said emigration, as the sounthern neighbour considered them a part of its own people and continuously prompted them to imigrate (Maeva 2012)27. At the same time, Maeva (2012), quoting other ethnologists, points to the existence of the opposite phenomenon – re-emigration to Bulgaria as well as the so-called student migration where Turkish children come to study in Bulgarian universities. The latter trend became even more prominent after Bulgaria’s accession to the EU. Graduating from a Bulgarian university presents Turkish children with a European diploma and they could pursue further degrees in other European universities, i.e. in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, etc. However, the author also points out that education in Bulgaria is much cheaper than private higher education in Turkey (Maeva 2012: 48). On the other hand, talking again about Bulgarians’ attitude towards Muslims after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and more specifically in the time of Communist rule, Neuburger (2004: 57) states that Jews and Armenians never represented “the visible Oriental affront to Bulgaria’s modernity” and had never been viewed as traitors or deluded in contrast to Muslims who because of their “presumed Bulgarian origin” did “enjoy” such descriptions. As both Merjanova (2013) and Hoepken (1997) observe Muslims were subjected to various policies aiming at the homogenisation of society. The general way they were perceived was either as foreigners “who were to be expelled” or as “renegade members from the dominant On Bulgarian state policies towards Muslim minorities see Lozanova et al. (2007). The same observation has been voiced by other scholars who state that “Bulgarain Muslims look to Turkey for support in times of crisis and Turkey sees itself as a unifying mother-figure of all remnants from the Ottoman Empire” (Lapidus 2002: 789; Bibina 2003; Peev 2005; Merdjanova 2013; Bibina 2016). The trend of affiliating themselves most closely with their southern neighbours has been confirmed as still active today in a study conducted by Alpha Research on the attitudes of Bulgarian Muslims (Ivanova et al. 2017) 26 27


national group, people who had to be brought back to the fold” (Merdjanova 2013: 9). However, the attempts at changing Turkish identity and the persecution of Islam in the time after WWII led to the latter being considered a primary marker of Turkish ethnicity and the attempts at eradicating it and imposing Bulgarian identity only fostered the establishment of a perception of a consolidated ethnic community. “The assimilation campaigns also inadvertently reinvigorated the role of Islam in Turks’ self-definition. The communists’ attacks on both Muslimness and Turkishness superimposed the two in the experience of oppression and opposition” (Merdjanova 2013: 19)28. Still, during Communism the number of Turkish schools in Bulgaria increased to 894 in 1947-48. Subsequently, there were opened three high schools and university sections for the training of Turkish minority teachers and in 1967 a department of Turkish Studies was opened at Sofia University (Merdjanova 2013: 17). Peev (2005: 148) states that in that same period under the influence of Kemalism and under the pressure of Communism the version of Islam practiced in the Balkans was influenced greatly by Europe in its social aspect, in its attitude towards modernization, family relations, the status of women, which very often was in a striking contrast to the conservative ideas introduced by emissaries from Saudi Arabia. In addition, the two communities established good intercultural relationships which very frequently led to reciprocal acceptance of the Other, of their lifestyle and traditions and both communities openly expressed their readiness to live together, especially in the mixed population areas (Peev 2005: 148-149). This predetermines the slightly different nature of the relationship existing nowadays between Bulgarian Christians and Bulgarian Muslims as there are villages where people of both faiths have coexisted for centuries without any misunderstanding or bad feelings. Even though the two groups enjoyed a peaceful coexistence, there was a black spot in the Bulgarian history of Muslims. It was associated mainly with the forceful change of Muslim with Bulgarian names in the period 1984-1985 known as the “Process of Rebirth”29 and the the so-called “Big

The same observation has been reiterated by Bibina (2003) and Ghodsee (2010). The process is also known under the name “The Process of Revival” (in Bulgarian „Възродителен процес“) and mark the culmination of Turks’ assimilation into the Bulgarian society. 28 29


Excursion”30 which followed it in 1989 (Neuburger 2004: 59; Pisarev 2005: 134; Merdjanova 2013: 18). The period after 1989 when the democratic changes took place, provided Bulgarian Muslims with opportunities for revival of their identity and for political representation as well. As Merdjanova (2013: 19) explains, Muslims could again freely choose their own names, practice their relgion and speak their mother tongue. In addition, there were publications in Turkish, classes in Turkish at schools in the ethnically mixed regions as well as news in Turkish on the Bulgarian national TV and the national radio ever since 2000 (ibid.). Currently, there are three secondary schools and a Higher Islamic Institute preparing future imams and teachers in religion, there are also Qur’anic courses, the number of mosques is 1156, while that of imams and other religious teachers is 910 (Merdjanova 2013). The main results of the research “Main Attitudes of Muslims in Bulgaria – 2016” conducted by Alpha Research with the financial support of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung show that the Muslim population in Bulgaria nowadays is of a low social status which fosters seasonal to permanent migration of whole families. It also becomes obvious that although Bulgarian Muslims tend to obey some of the religious norms, they have modern as well as traditional attitudes to family life. At the same time, the report shows that religion is considered most important in the ghettoes and among the poorest members of the community (Ivanova et al. 2017). The report also makes the observation, supported by other Bulgarian researchers, that the Bulgarian Muslims support the existence of pluralism, that they are not “pure” Muslims as the majority of them do not see the prime role of religion in their life but of the family and kin. There is a high disapproval of terrorism and terrorist organisations (89%) and the majority of the Muslims are of the opinion that any exhibitions of terrorism should be punished. (ibid.) Discussing the role Muslims played in the Bulgarian political life, Hoepken (1997) states that there had been representatives from the Turkish and “The Big Excursion” (in Bulgarian „Голямата екскурзия“) defines the process of mass emigration of Turks to Turkey after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The part of the Turkish population in Bulgaria who wanted to migrate to Turkey had to pack their belongings quickly leaving all their property and possessions behind. 30


Muslim community in parliament prior to WWII; however, they did not have their own party but were part of the other Bulgarian parties and as such they had “limited room to manoeuvre for genuine ‘ethnic bargaining’. […] The right to religious and educational autonomy was guaranteed by international treaties, Bulgaria’s constitution of 1878 and Bulgarian law (ibid.: 56). Neuburger (2004: 59) mentions that there were Turks who were members of the Bulgarian Communist Party as well as such closely collaborating with it. Ever since the democratic changes in 1989 the Bulgarian Muslims have had their representation in the political life of the country through DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) which enjoys approximately 6-7% of the votes at each election (Pisarev 2005; Hoepken 1997: 73 presents the same trend observed in the 1991 election). More recently, there has been another party that has tried to present itself as serving the interest of Bulgarian Turks, namely DOST (Democrats for Responsibility, Freedom, and Tolerance, see; however, not many people sympathise with the new party. Based on the data from the General Election Committee, after the elections on 26 March 2017, DOST had 2.94% of the votes, while DPS – 9.24% (CIK 2017). Despite some observations that “[t]wenty years after the breakdown of communism, the status of religiosity and religion in Central and Eastern Europe remains indeterminate” (Pickel, Sammet 2012: 7), Taji-Farouki and Poulton (1997: 9) state that in contrast to Arab Islam, the form of the same religion observed in the Balkans is far from being considered as fundamentalist but is rather “characterized as liberal and tolerant”. As the brief overview of the history and status of the Bulgarian Muslims shows, Chrsitians and Muslims have coexisted together for quite a long time being able to intermingle both ethnically and culturally, especially in the mixed population regions where both Muslim and Christian culture and traditions are followed and respected. In addition, it should be stressed that it is the descendants of the Ottoman Turks who comprise the bigger and more traditional part of the Muslim population in Bulgaria, while Pakistani, Syrians, etc. are immigrants who have come to the country more recently (Lapidus 2002: 785). Bulgarian Muslims are recognised by the majority both politically and socially; they have managed to integrate into the Bulgarian society and their cultural difference is not so visible. In many respects they are very similar to Bulgarians.


MUSLIMS IN THE UK Based on the Census data from 2001, Gale and Hopkins (2009) point out that the Muslims in the UK at that time were slightly fewer than 1.6 million, the majority of whom lived in England (1.5 million). There were also Muslims in Scotland (fewer than 43,000), and in Wales (fewer than 22,000). According to their place of origin, the majority of the British Muslims were from South Asia, with Pakistanis being the single largest group: “43% of Muslims in England, 33% in Wales and 67% of Muslims in Scotland were of Pakistani ethnicity” (Gale, Hopkins 2009: 4; see also Abbas 2005). The same census showed that “nearly half of all Muslims in England (46.4%) were born in the UK”, or were British-born, another 4% were born in Eastern Europe and a “further 6% each in both the Middle East and South and Central Africa” (Gale, Hopkins 2009: 5). Abbas (2005: 17) states that in addition to the big majority of Pakistani Muslims, there are also Bangladeshi and Indian Muslims which all jointly together form the group of approx. 1 million South Asian Muslims, while the rest of the Muslims came from North Africa, East Europe and South East Asia. The census also showed that the group of the British Muslims was a comparatively young one, characterised with low age – under the age of seventeen (Abbas 2005). The data from the poll in 2011 was slightly different and showed an increase in the Muslim population. Islam continued to be the second largest religion in the UK; however, the British Muslim population has increased to 2,786,635, which represented 4.4% of the total population. The distribution of the group in the countries comprising the UK remained identical with only a slight increase in numbers in reciprocity with the general trend (Abdul Ali web; ONS; Masood 2006; PBS 2015). The successive Census in 2014 showed that the total Muslim population of the UK has increased even further to 3,114,992, of which about half (1,554,022) were born overseas. Across England and Wales, the Muslim population numbered 3,047,000 (97.8% of all UK Muslims) or 5.4% of the total population (Wikipedia/En/). However, the Muslims in the UK are not evenly distributed but are concentrated in just a few cities, like London, Birmingham and Bradford comprising 51.7% of the “combined Muslim population of England, Scotland and Wales” (Gale, Hopkins 23

2009: 7). Thus, it can be concluded that the Muslim population in the UK is predominantly urban. At the same time, due to the low employment rate and the high illiteracy, the concentration of poor Muslim groups is said to be a prerequisite for riots and disturbances31. On the other hand, due to the predominance of South Asian Muslims in the community, these have come to be regarded as the stereotypical representatives of Muslimness in the UK (Allen 2005: 52). In terms of the denominations they follow, the majority of Muslims in the UK in 2011 claimed they were Sunni, while only 400,000 defined themselves as Shia. The general trend observed in the UK is of an increase in the number of Muslims there as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Nigeria and Algeria, along with the more recent source of immigrants coming from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo and Somalia, contribute to the increase in the British Muslim population. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of converts which in 2011 was 100,000, 66% of whom were women (see ONS; PBS 2015; Masood 2006). Masood (2006: 6-7) speaks about 180,000 Muslims “who describe themselves as of white origin, of whom 63,000 describe themselves as white-British”. Looking at the British history of Muslims, Masood (2006) mentions a gold coin dating back to the 8th c. and King Offa of Mercia that has been found in the UK and signifies the Muslim presence on the Albion even at that time (Ali web; Abbas 2009). Later on the Muslim presence is associated with the Crusades and the expansion of the Empire (Haddad 1999; Smith 1999; Gale, Hopkins 2009: 4). Actually, Modood (2009: 195) states that the variety of Muslims in the UK was due to the policy of granting all colonials and citizens of the Commonwealth the status of “subjects of the Crown” which provided them with the right to free entry, and all the benefits enjoyed by Britons32. Due to trade and economic relations the first chairs in Arabic were established in the universities of Cambridge and Oxford in the 17th century. As reported by Abbas (2009: 363) the first substantial wave of Muslims came in the eighteenth century as employees of the British East India Company. These were sailors who came along with their families and On housing see Anwar (2005: 36-38) who also talks about segregation of living areas, overcrowding and the bad influence on health and employment opportunities. Gale and Hopkins (2009: 16) also provide an account of the distribution of living areas for the British Muslims. 32 See also Haddad (1999). 31


settled along the coast. However, it was at the time of the expansion of the Empire that the idea of Muslims as backward, homogeneous and fierce came about33 (Malik 2004: 154; Abbas 2005; Abbas 2009; Ali et. al 2016). Up to the nineteenth century Muslims’ visits to the UK had been sporadic; the first more significant groups to come to the island being from Yemen (Abbas 2009). The pre-Second World War settlements of Asians on the island served as a pull factor for the later migration waves. Being more specific about it, Lapidus (2002: 789-790) states that in the nineteenth century Indian soldiers joined the British armed forces and Yemeni and Somali seamen settled in London and Liverpool34. The late 1950s marked the next wave of Muslims mainly from South Asia (Pakistanis, Indians and Arabs) who came to make up for the shortage of man power on the island (Lapidus 2002; Encyclopedia 2004; Abbas 2005; Peach 2005; Gale, Hopkins 2009)35. Both Lapidus (2002: 799) and Abbas (2005: 9) state that the peak of South Asian immigrants was at the beginning of 1960s, while by the end of 1960s it was over. Abbas (2005) refers to the period of 1970s as the time when there was a large number of distinct South Asian communities working in various inner city areas and de-industrialized zones. In that particular period, the number of Muslim converts, most of whom had AfricanCaribbean origin, was 5000 (Runnymede Trust 1997; Poole 2002). At that time, i.e. 1962, the Commonwealth Immigration Act was employed which closed the doors to future labour immigrants (Encyclopedia 2004). It, however, did not prevent family reunions, which led to the immigration of marriage partners from Pakistan to the UK, which in its own turn led

This concept of and attitude towards Muslims was described by Said (1979) as Orientalism. See also Encyclopedia (2004), Peach (2005: 18-19) and Gale and Hopkins (2009: 4). 35 Abbas (2005: xiii) states that the number of South Asian Muslims in the UK in 2001 was approximately two thirds and they numbered around 1 million people. Despite this fact, they were faced with social exclusion and economic marginalization (cf. Abbas 2005). For a more detailed analysis on the situation of Muslims of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin (as they are deemed to comprise the bigger part of the Muslim population in the UK) see Peach (2005), while for an account of the existing policies and practices in relation to these two groups in particular see Anwar (2005). PewForum (2012) provides data on Muslim immigration stating that “about a third of Muslim migrants have gone to Europe, while less than 10% of Muslim migrants have come from Europe. At the same time, nearly half of Muslim migrants have come from the Asia-Pacific region, where only about one-in-five Muslim migrants have moved”. This inadvertently shows that Europe has become a pull factor for international Muslim migration. 33 34


to the establishment of more mosques and other places of worship which fostered better Muslim self-awareness (ibid.). The census of 1986 showed almost a million Muslims in Britain, most of whom lived in London, Birmingham, and Bradford in Yorkshire (Lapidus 2002: 799). In the 1990s there was a large number of European Muslim refugees from Bosnia and Kosovo as well as from Afghanistan and Somalia (Peach 2005: 19). The British Muslims are generally characterised by low achievement in school and unemployment (Modood 2009: 194; Anwar 2005: 32-36; Gale, Hopkins 2009: 16). At the same time, Abbas (2009: 364) states that there are also very rich Muslims coming from the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula while the East African Muslims are described as well-off. The most recent refugees from Somalia, Iraq and Syria add up to the number of poor Muslims in the UK. Thus, it can be said that the Muslims in Britain are even more diverse than those in Bulgaria and some of them have a very short history of being British citizens. That is the reason why it is difficult for them to have one body representing or standing up for their interests. As Peach (2005: 25) clarifies, there are Muslims of Arab, Albanian, Bosnian, Iranian, Nigerian, Somali, Turkish and many other groups of origin who compared to the South Asian Muslims differ greatly in terms of their social and economic status. In addition, she states that what can be true of a group, like Pakistani or Bangladeshi for example, might not be true of the other Muslim groups or even of the rest of the population who have remained in Pakistan or Bangladesh or the other places of origin. Thus, it is usual for each community to have its own council or another organisation that would stand for its interests. Those are frequently supported and sponsored by other countries like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. The organisations representing the British Muslims, such as The Muslim Society of Britain, The Muslim Association of Britain, The Islamic Society of Britain and Young Muslims UK, have started talking to and educating their members on issues such as living in a pluralistic society and having common values shared by Muslims and British alike (Geaves 2005: 67). Other bodies representing the interests of the British Muslims both on a national and international scale include the Muslim Council of Britain, the Muslim Council of Scotland, the Muslim Council of Wales, the Muslim Association of Britain, the British Muslim Forum, among others. They all 26

tend to the needs of the various Muslim groups comprising the community of the British Muslims (Abbas 2009). In Britain there are also some very secluded Muslim communities of Pakistani who denounce British lifestyle and maintain close relationships with their mother-land. In these communities there is a clash between generations as the young ones want to follow the British lifestyle instead of being subjected to intermarriages and arranged marriages with relatives from Pakistan. Religion, however, broadens their horizons as they are allowed to meet their religious peers and not be so secluded. Quoting Tariq Modood, Birt states that “British Muslims were the most likely to view religion as playing a very important part in their lives, a trait shared to a slightly lesser extent by British Hindus and Sikhs” (Modood et al. 1997: 301 qtd. in Birt 2009: 215). In addition, citing Werbner (2002), Birt (2009: 215) shows three aspects of community that come into play in establishing British Muslims’ sense of unity: moral, aesthetic, and political community, or that relates to care about each other, cultural knowledge and presentation in the public sphere which in its turn assures “demand for the recognition of ethnic and/or religious rights and a demand for protection against racism. At the same time, Anwar (2005: 45) states that [w]ith the significant demographic change that has taken place within the Muslim communities in Britain – a shift from first-generation migrants towards second- and third-generation British born citizens – the question of identity is now part of an ongoing discussion within Muslim communities in Britain.

According to Lapidus (2002: 800) it is only “since the 1980s that Muslims in Britain have tended to reaffirm the religious dimensions of their identity”. The same author also states that the Rushdie affair was a pivotal moment in the establishment of Muslims identity in Britain. Up to that time, ethnic differences were at play but then it was mostly profession of religion that mattered. As Lapidus (2002: 801) states the British tried to present the affair as freedom of speech; however, the insults at the prophet were considered unacceptable by Muslims and the declaration of fatwa on Salmon Rushdie strengthened the opinion that Muslims “were a fundamentalist bloc with anti-British, anti-liberal and anti-modern views”. Another pivotal moment for the establishment of Muslim identity was presented by the attack on the Twin Towers in the USA on 11 September 2001 and the continuing terrorist attacks associated with Muslim 27

perpetrators (see also Lyon 2005). The final threshold for the definition of Muslim identity came about in the 21st c. with the debates on burka wearing and the subsequent bans that were enacted in several European countries (Encyclopedia 2004). It should also be mentioned that most of the Muslim immigrants were protected by the Race Relations Act of 1976 which was applied in cases of racial discrimination. Later on immigrants were treated as ethnic groups; however, these acts and regulations could not be applied to matters of religion. It was only in 2006 that an Act made it an offence to “incite religious hatred” (Abbas 2009: 365). It is also important to mention that the British Muslims have their representation in public and political life. The first Muslim MP was elected in 1997 and three Muslims have been appointed to the House of Lords. Talking about political participation, Anwar (2005: 38) states that although their participation in the election process has improved in the past twenty years, i.e. 1985-2005, “their representation has made a slow progress”. He clarifies that in 2005, out of 659 Members of Parliament, there were only two of Muslim origin in the House of Commons and five in the House of Lords. In addition, at the time there was one Muslim Member of the European Parliament from Britain and no Muslim representation in the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly or the Greater London Assembly (ibid.). In 1998 the British Muslims won the same rights to state funded schools as Christians and Jews (Lapidus 2002: 801). However, the author states that despite these gains, the clashes and misunderstanding between Muslims and other Britons continue, which is supported by the various riots that have broken out. Religious education is a compulsory subject in the school syllabus. It is a general subject that touches on all different religions including Islam. There are also many Islamic schools that have been established36. Talking about higher and professional education, Abbas (2009) mentions the subject of Islamic Studies which is included in many universities in the UK as part of the departments of religious studies or of Arabic and Middle East Studies. According to the same author, there is no imam training at public schools, however, there are several private Islamic colleges. In addition, there are some culture-specific practices accepted by the general British population relating to food, times of prayer and religious 36

On religious education and the importance it has for the British Muslims see Haddad (1999).


holidays. Muslims are allowed to celebrate their traditional holidays and there have been special places provided for the performance of their religious rituals. Halal meat has also been widely available in the UK. Plots for Muslim cemeteries have been allocated and provided. In addition, a research carried by Gale and Hopkins (2009) on the attitudes of Christians and Muslims towards Britain show similar results in the categories “very strongly” and “fairly strongly” based on the groups’ attachment to Britain (86.4% of Muslims and 85.9% of Christians), the negative options also returned similar results (13% of each group), which leads to the conclusion made by the two scholars that “commitment to Islam appears not to hinder identification with Britain” (ibid.: 16) which disclaims the idea that Islam is not compatible with the British life and values. The overview of the historical, social and economic situations of the Muslim communities in the two countries shows some differences as well as similarities that can account for any differences in the presentation of the two respective communities in the media. Thus, the differences in the background of the two groups of Muslims observed so far are: ▪

▪ ▪ ▪

The Bulgarian Muslims have a longer history of coexistence with local Bulgarians and are generally perceived as closer to the majority based on their integration, on the fact that they have political representation, and a better status in society. The Bulgarian Muslims do not create problems, and therefore are not viewed as a threat to the country. The group of Muslims who are feared by the general Bulgarian population are mostly the immigrants and the refugees who have entered the country recently. The refugees and immigrants in Bulgaria have difficulties in finding places to live, to work, and integrate as a whole, due to some inconsistencies in the regulations governing the attitude towards these people as well as because of slow administrative procedures around their status of asylum seekers. In contrast, the community of the British Muslims is comprised of more groups that are different in their ethnic background and sometimes even traditions.


▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

However, as the group of South Asians has the biggest share, the characteristics of this group are transferred to the whole community. Generally, the British Muslims are not so well integrated in the mainstream society and this is also reflected in the areas they inhabit – they are basically concentrated in three big centres. The British Muslims in their bigger part are characterised by high levels of illiteracy, high unemployment rates, and a lack of representation in the political structures. In the UK, the Muslim community is generally perceived as immigrants who have availed themselves of the opportunity the Empire has granted them and the soft laws that have been applied to them. They are viewed as culturally very distant from the majority and at times their culture is considered to be incompatible with the British life-style.

There are, however, similarities, such as: ▪ Both groups consist of Muslims of Sunni denomination. ▪ Both groups do not originate from the country they currently inhabit. ▪ Both groups have the conscience of belonging to a global religious community or ummah. All these conclusions form the basis for the study that compares and contrasts media framing of Muslims and analyses the differences and/or similarities in the process. The latter have undoubtedly been influenced by globalisation as well as by some international events, and predominantly by the terrorist acts which have become more frequent in Europe. In addition, the fact that both countries are a part of the European Union also explains some of the similarities in the representations of both groups mostly due to common regulations and acts.


CHAPTER THREE. BEHIND THE SCENES Discussing the image of Muslims in the media, there should be an account of some of the major studies conducted on the topic. The analysis of media presentations of Muslims cannot but touch on the topic of the religious Other and the process of othering observed in the media. At the same time, it cannot neglect the studies of Edward Said (1979) on Orientalism as the orientalist perception and understanding of Muslims are the prerequisites for some of the existing stereotypes and attitudes displayed by the general public. Thus, this section focuses on topics such as Otherness, Orientalism, Islamophobia and how these have been used by the media when framing Muslims. It should also be mentioned that the concepts are interdependent, as each one of them has its own specificity, at the same time, however, they are very close to one another. FOCAL POINTS IN THE FRAMING OF MUSLIMS IN THE MEDIA The topic of media representations of Muslims is not a new one. The volumes of analysis feature different approaches, different sources, as well as different scopes and are conducted within various time frames. As it is impossible to cover all existing literature here, the focus will be on some of the studies most relevant to the current topic, i.e. the framing of Muslims in the media. The overview touches on studies conducted not only in Bulgaria and the UK but also on analyses conducted on the Australian, the European and the American media as the generally held notion is that the free information flow contributes to some similarities in the framing of the general image of Muslims worldwide. In addition, the fact that the scope of terrorist attacks has expanded and has affected almost every part of the globe would inadvertently influence the local media presentations in a similar way. The same goes for issues such as immigration, influx of refugees, increase in the number of Muslim converts – all of which can be considered problems the whole world is trying to solve. Furthermore, 31

proximity in language, culture and even lifestyle between the American, the British and the Australian people can also account for similarities in presentation37. Thus, the wider scope of literature on media presentations of Muslims would provide a better ground for comparison and contrast of the framing strategies used by the Bulgarian and the British media. It is impossible not to start with Edward Said whose studies, although contested, are of greatest significance for the present debate on Islam, especially in the West. Said’s Covering Islam (1997) is the work, which is usually cited and used as the basis of any research on Muslim presentation in the media. Analysing the perception of Muslims in the States, Said states that the negative association between Islam, terrorism and belonging “has become so pervasive that Muslims in the States were made to feel guilty just for being Muslim” (1997: 12). He also comments on the predominant negative associations between Islam and violence, primitiveness, atavism, threatening qualities and he also mentions the fact that media presentations of Islam are greatly generalised and present aggression as coming from Islam because of what it is. As he concludes “covering Islam is a one-sided activity that obscures what ‘we’ do, and highlights instead what Muslims and Arabs by their very flawed nature ‘are’” (Said 1997: 13). Many of the observations made by Said are confirmed by other scholars working in the field, which in itself proves the fact that presentation of Islam, at least in the West, is subjected to some common logic, perception and ideas. The role of the media in the development of the image of Muslims in postSeptember 11 Britain is reported as significant as they have not only reported the events but they have also commented on these events in detail and thus have taken “a crucial social and intellectual space” (Ahmed 2005: 109). Analysing the US media presentations of Islam, for example, Taha (2014: 4-5) claims that they tend to associate “religion with terrorism and lack of civic-mindedness”. Quoting Sayde (1994) he summarises the three images that the media seem to favour: the terrorist, the veiled woman and the demon demagogue. His interviewees state that the US media aim All these aspects are also a result of the common history and Britain’s imperial past. The proximity in the British and the Australian media is further supported by the fact that some of the British editions feature a special section or a separate edition dedicated mainly to Australia and the issues relevant to that country, e.g. Daily Mail Australia. For further links between the British, the American and the Australian media see also “History of Publishing” (Unwin et al. 2018). 37


at “discrediting Islam” and that they frame it as a violent religion and a threat to the West (Taha 2014: 7). Similarly, Ahmed (2005: 109) states that the media portrayal after the attacks was the factor responsible to a very high degree for the development of the negative perception of Muslims and for the incitement of attacks against that religious group. In addition, Dimaggio (2008: 77) explains that the media present the image of the States as “committed to promoting democracy and human rights”38, which when applied to the European context can be interpreted as: the function of the European media is to promote the image of the EU charged with the same characteristics. Thus, it is generally the EU against ISIS based on the atrocities experienced by the EU citizens. Nurullah (2010: 1021) clarifies the fact that the negative portrayal of Muslims in the media (mostly TV programmes in the US) can be traced back to the Second World War and “more particularly from 1960s onwards”. Gale and Hopkins (2009: 2) make the observation that ever since 11 September 2001, the media have presented the information about Muslim identities through an array of “troubled relations between ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’”39 starting with September 11 and continuing over a scale of successive terrorist acts, such as March 14 in Madrid, July 7 in London, etc., which mark the development of these relations. This reference to events happening in various places in the world connotes the observation made by both Cesari (2011) and Poole (2002) that the media tend to “mix foreign and domestic Islam together, thus extending the entire trope of politically radical Islam to immigrant Muslim populations” (Cesari 2011: 33) and attributing features of “foreign” Muslims to those considered “local” which leads to the unified image Said (1997) talks about. At the same time, the political, economic and social, even the historical circumstances of the different countries differ and these peculiarities influence media presentations as well. That is why, even foreign news gets “interpreted through national framework” (Poole 2002: 18). Another analysis on the portrayal of Muslims in the US (Kerim 2006) reveals that the more closely an individual or a group resembles an established stereotype about themselves, the more frequently they get to 38 39

See also Pintak (2006). On Muslim identities see also Yasmeen (2008).


appear in the media. Thus, Kerim states, Muslim individuals who have contributed in the fields of science, cultural performance, innovations, very seldom have their voices heard. In the cases when such individuals do appear in the media their religious adherence is not emphasised. In contrast, if they break the law or perform any kind of unlawful act, they surely get publicity and presentations, sometimes even a front page. In a similar way, Ali (web) clarifies that in addition to the predominantly negative presentations of Muslims in the media, the religious adherence is explicitly mentioned in cases of conflicts or any other negative events, while positive events such as art, cuisine, culture or sciences are not reflected at all. Ali’s conclusions are based on a survey conducted among Muslim and non-Muslim informants on the effect of the mass media on the perceptions of Muslims, who are presented as “backward, antiWestern, oppressive to women, terrorists and a threat to the British way of life, along with attempts by government to control ‘the Muslim problem’”. Abbas (2009: 373) touches on the same issue clarifying that Muslim opinion is generally presented in “matters of schooling, identity, political allegiance and voting”. This, he concludes, creates the allusion that Muslims live “separate lives or do not wish to integrate into majority society” (ibid.). Halliday (2006: 31) has contributed to the debate on that problem as well, stating that the general wrong perception when interviewing Muslims on a particular topic is that there is a single “reading of the issue in question – the status of women, the environment, globalisation or whatever” which, he states is not the case as there is “no such thing as a single ‘Muslim’ community in the UK, any more than there is a single ‘Jewish’ or ‘Christian’ one”. To this Modood (2009: 193) adds that the fear felt by Europeans in terms of immigration and cultural diversity has led them to focus predominantly on Muslims and to establish the said generalised image. The reason for this is the fact that “the estimated 15 million people in the European Union (EU) who subjectively or objectively are Muslim, whatever additional identities they may have, form the single largest group of those who are the source of public anxieties”. Focusing on the framing of Muslim women in the Western media, drawing conclusions based mostly on the American The Times, Rahman (2014) concludes that the image has become harsher, usually associated with descriptions such as submissiveness, oppression and backwardness – all 34

values that were considered inferior in comparison to the American values of democracy and freedom40. In addition, she states that the western press has been mesmerized with the idea of the veil, burka or chador as a symbol of oppression and sexual submissiveness41. Abbas (2011: 71-72) also provides an example where Jack Straw, backed up by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, among others, defined the veil as a symbol of separation and emphasised difference, an outright statement that Muslim women wanted to differentiate themselves from Westerners. Furthermore, at a point the veil is also regarded as a symbol of ongoing or continuing fundamentalism which led to radicalisation and extremism. The West, in its turn, has assumed the image of the one whose duty it is to free this oppressed Muslim woman and help Muslims be more like Us (Hadar 2008; Abbas 2011). Another analysis focusing on women viewed solely as sexual objects, albeit in a slightly different context, is conducted by Boycheva (2016). The subject of her analysis is the German media coverage of the events that took place in Cologne on the Eve of 2016. The reported abuse of “our” women was enough for the media within just a few hours to “generalize the guilt of a big group of people with distinct ethnic, religious and topographic profile” (ibid.: 241). The striking part is that media practitioners did not care to include clarifications or report the event as a single case (ibid.) but jumped on the bandwagon of immigrants abusing “our” women and “our” way of life. The whole event escalated to the conclusion voiced not only by illiterate and low class people but also by college students: “Muslims out!” (Boycheva 2016: 246). As the author observes, the interesting point here is the fact that during the debate on the whole attack on German women in Cologne, the host culture was advised by authorities to adapt to the Muslim culture. The explanation provided was that cultural differences especially in terms of the treatment and behaviour of women can escalate into aggression towards western women because of their professed freedom and the fact that Muslim men are incapable of suppressing their sexual urge and see women solely as sexual objects (ibid.: 250).

40 41

See also Pintak (2006). See also Byng (2010).


In a volume of collected papers on the presentation of Muslims, Manning (2006) analyses the Australian press and concludes that apart from some locally specific coverage on Lebanese rape gangs operating in Australia and some articles on Muslim women allowed to women only gyms, the Australian press follows the general mode of presentation of Muslims adopted by the American and the British press. He also reports on primarily negative Orientalist type of portrayal of the Australian Muslims. Manning (2006) shares the opinion that the Muslims in Australia are presented and are seen mostly through the international events connected with Muslims worldwide. Thus, the Muslims are presented as “violent people, possibly terrorist, and bent on maintaining their difference to an imagined ‘mainstream’ Australian culture” (Manning 2006: 140). Some of the most important factors which have contributed to said presentation were September 11, 2001, the higher visibility of Muslim faith and the fact that Muslims are more religiously observant compared to Christians. Furthermore, Poole (2002) analyses the presentation of Islam in the British media, paying particular attention to the presentation in both the printed and the electronic editions of The Guardian and The Times, The Sun, The Mail for a period of 7 years (1994-2001). She states that “by continuing to refer to ‘Muslim and Islamic terrorists’, the perpetrators are seen as products of a fanatical strain of Islam” (Poole 2002: 4), which fosters associations between religion and negative behaviour. The latter in its turn promotes the image of any Muslim as a potential terrorist. Based on an analysis on three different case studies that are closely connected with presentations of Islam and Muslims, Abbas (2011: 74) comes to the conclusion that media language “used to describe Muslims is often violent, thereby implying that Islam is violent, too. Arabic words have been appropriated into universal journalistic vocabulary and invested with new meaning that is generally exaggerated and aggressive”. Two years later, in a book of edited papers Poole and Richardson (2004) study the whole process of media production in reference to the way Muslims are featured in it. The analysis of media presentations of Muslims in four different countries, i.e. the UK, the USA, Australia and Israel have led them to the conclusion that there are some similarities in the media discourse on this particular group: the predominance of the image of the terrorist or a source of terrorism, the marginalized ordinary Muslim, the conflict framework, illegitimacy, criminality, violence, extremity, 36

fanaticism, sexual aggression, disloyalty of Muslims. The usual explanation for this kind of negative behaviour and associations is religion itself (Poole, Richardson 2006: 5; see also Modood 2009), which also supports the observation made by Said (1997) above on the perception of a generally flawed Muslim nature. Gottschalk and Greenberg (2011) analyse political cartoons published for over five decades in the States. Their study has confirmed that political cartoons employ the general stereotypes associated with Muslims, i.e. a uniform mass of people, presented mostly through Arabs in the Middle East, poppy growing, and presenting a threat to the West. In addition, the authors state that the general presentation of Muslims in cartoons was either situated in the extreme of ‘too little’ or in the other extreme of ‘too much’, i.e. men were presented either through effeminate passivity (too little) or as masculine rage (too much), women, in a similar fashion, were presented either as scantily dressed objects of desire (too little) or entirely covered objects of oppression (too much) (ibid.: 196). The norm of the middle value has been presented by the American values. A researcher from Bulgaria has also conducted an analysis on the cartoons of Mohammed published in various Danish newspapers in 2005. Kornadzheva (2010: 35) makes the following conclusions which are worth mentioning: such presentations tend to impose the image of Muslims as terrorists or as the enemy; the identities created pose uncertainty both for the individuals depicted as they feel insecure in their difference and in the general community as they also feel insecure in the possibilities for intercultural exchange and politics; Muslim immigrants are considered a foreign element while the Muslim countries are viewed as posing too many risks for western business (ibid.). Discussing tolerance, intolerance and zero tolerance in the press, Dobreva (2009c) dedicates a whole section to the ethnic minorities in Bulgaria. As the Bulgarian Turks comprise the biggest ethnic minority in Bulgaria that represents the Muslim population in the country, the focus, naturally, is on them. However, due to their integration in society and the fact that they resemble the majority and do not cause problems, they enjoy a limited coverage (in comparison to other ethnic groups, such as the Roma, for example) (Dobreva 2009c: 214-215; Dobreva 2011b). Dobreva (2009c) continues to analyse the main topics discussed, the language used in the development of the image of the Bulgarian Turks, and the tone of 37

presentation, among other aspects of the framing process. In another study, Dobreva (2011b) discusses the processes of demonisation of the Bulgarian Turks in the nationalist press and the reasons for that – mostly to make the Turks look similar to the ultimate problematic minority group in Bulgaria, the Roma, and thus present the Turks in a negative way. As Dobreva (2011a: 225ff) observes, when the Bulgarian mainstream media are negative towards the ethnic Turks it is mostly the political party that represents them – the Movement for Rights and Freedoms that is demonised. However, contrary to the observation made by Dobreva (2011a, 2011b) that readers’ response sections are also generally tolerant towards the Turks in Bulgaria, Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva (2013) reports on a change in the attitude of the readers who in some cases, predominantly under the guise of a nick name, use pejorative and in cases even derogatory language towards the Bulgarian Turks. Lazarova (2004: 59) clarifies the fact that the way majorities and minorities are presented in the media is within the victimization-stigmatization divide. Discussing the presentations of Pomaks (Bulgarian Mohammedans) she states that their “inauthentic otherness” is developed as a drama (forced Islamisation ages ago), scandal (their refusal to convert to Christianity), and as a threat (the possibility of establishing a Pomak country) (ibid.: 60). On the other hand, the image of Bulgarian Turks falls within the two extremes of victims and traitors. In the author’s opinion, the memory of the Turkish dominance that lasted for five centuries has contributed to the divide between Bulgarians and Turks. The image of the Turks as a threat is presented as the Turkish conqueror (ibid.: 61) the source of Turcisation. This threat later on develops as a kind of colonization through the involvement of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms as the political party is perceived as a way for Turkey to influence the Bulgarian political life (see also Dobreva 2011b). While the general attitude to the Bulgarian Turks is within the Us-Them relations with the Turks being viewed as the cultural Other but not as a Foreigner, the waves of immigrants coming from Muslim countries have changed the attitudes of Bulgarians to the newcomers. As stated by Encheva (2015), any new wave of immigrants provides reasons for concerns, and demographic problems are brought up as the main reason for the negative attitudes, such as not enough housing opportunities for the increased population, no job opportunities, inflation, etc. The most 38

recent concern voiced by the media, however, is the threat of Muslim radicals infiltrating the country under the disguise of refugees seeking protection (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2014, 2016b, 2017b). The presented overview of literature on the topic is far from exhaustive as such a large amount of literature cannot be only briefly discussed. The main findings, however, are reviewed and presented as relevant to the current study. Many of the studies will be touched upon in the following sections as the problems of Orientalism, Otherness, Islamophobia are relevant in most of them. DISCOURSES OF RACE AND RACISM In order to present a comprehensive view of the issue of the Muslim image in the press, a brief account should be given on phenomena such as racism which has been changing and evolving during the last 300 years or so (Richardson 2004). Generally, scholars agree on the understanding of two general concepts of racism – a narrow understanding, having to do mostly with phenotypical features, and a more generic one, focusing on any types of discrimination. As such, the notion of racism encompasses phenomena such as ethnicism and xenophobia (Dobreva 2009a, 2009b, 2009c). Although the idea of the existence of the concept of race understood as the purely biological/physiological distinction between people42 has been contested due to the free passage, the intermingling of people and intermarriages, it seems that the discourses on race, due to their ability to provide the notion of superiority and dominance continue to exist even nowadays. Moreover, it is a fact that the concepts of race and racism are discursively created, which means that they exist in society and are being created and developed in that society through the various means of communication and transfer of knowledge. In addition, racism is As the term race and its various definitions have been and continue to be discussed by a multitude of scholars (Bonilla-Silva 1994; Campbell 1995; Lustig, Koester 1999; van Dijk 1987, 1991, 1993a, 1993b, 2001, 2005; Poole 2004; Downing, Husband 2005; Bonilla-Silva 2006; Richardson 2006; Kundnani 2007; Dobreva 2010; Romm 2010; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2012; James 2017; Gooding-Williams 2017) the focus here will be mostly on the connection established between the notion of race and Islam and Muslims. 42


“exercised and reproduced by social practices of discrimination” (van Dijk 2005: 4). Apart from the various types of racism known before, such as the oldfashioned racism, tokenism, aversive racism, symbolic racism, tokenism, and spontaneous dislike (Lustig, Koester 1999), as well as every-day racism (Essed 1955) or one of the most-recent forms of racism, i.e. environmental racism, or NIMBYISM (Coggins 2004; Hubbard 2005), scholars such as Fekete (2002: 1 qtd. in Richardson 2004: xv) along with the Institute of Race Relations talk about ‘xeno-racism’, or anti-refugee racism, in the context of the new situation which sees multiple Others willing to cross the borders and enter various countries. This last form of racism is a kind of economic racism as it aims at imposing restrictions on any type of economic resources or particular standard of living. Exhibitions of racism, such as symbolic, modern, cultural, aversive, institutional (Downing, Husband 2005; Kundnani 2007), and colour-blind racism (Bonilla-Silva 2006) which are the result of the social exclusion and discrimination due to the advent of new ‘aliens’ are described by Romm (2010) as ‘new racism’ and they are not always overt but covert in most of the cases. As can be seen from the analyses of racism provided so far, views differ on the old vs. new exhibitions of the phenomenon. Scholars continue to talk about covert types of racism that are being exhibited in western societies nowadays. As one of these types of covert racism they point out the so-called cultural racism which does not take into consideration phenotypical characteristics but the general understanding of culture which is “depicted as so deeply embedded, so tradition-bound, that it is nearly ‘intrinsic’ or ‘natural’ to a group” (Mukhopadhyay, Chua 2008: 380)43. This particular type of racism is defined by van Dijk (1991), Van den Berge (1996), as well as by Essed (1955) as ethnicism. Cultural racism as defined by Mukhopadhyay and Chua (2008: 383) at its most basic level, rationalizes and perpetuates racial inequality through an ideology of cultural superiority and inferiority. Subordinate groups are culturally deficient even when the vocabulary is less judgmental. Dominant This understanding presents culture as something natural and immutable which makes it similar to the Primordialists’s concept of ethnicity as static (Hutchinson, Smith 1996). 43


culture forms, or their presumed superiority, are rarely questioned. Cultural superiority is the rationale for cultural dominance, not racism, as though racial groups had no culture.

Thus, it is exhibited through the definition of notions such as western values, nuclear family, feminism as superior and more advanced to other forms of cultural characteristics. As such, it accounts for the acts taken against Muslim culture, i.e. the ban of burka, the resentment towards arranged marriages and polygamy, religious rites, etc. The idea that one people’s moral values and religious beliefs are superior and more reasonable and practical than those of other groups lie in the essence of ethnocentrism (Axelrod, Hammond 2003; Moore 2008; Dobreva 2007, 2009c, 2011a) and, when it comes to Christian values, eurocentrism (Sayyid 1997; Huisman 2011). Both phenomena along with whiteness (Frankenberg 1993; Dyer 1997; Gabriel 1998; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2012) are viewed as the yardsticks used to judge all those who do not fit in. All these concepts establish the idea that the values held by those considered culturally white are the norm against which all others are being judged. As Kundnani (2007: 126-127) has stated: anti-Muslim sentiment rationalises itself as no more than criticism of an ‘alien’ belief system – hostility to religious beliefs rather than to a racial group – and therefore entirely distinct from racism. But such distinctions are undermined by the fact that religious belonging has come to act as a symbol of racial difference. The new official language of ‘faith communities’ largely takes faith to be, like race, a destiny set at birth and something that someone can observe about you from your appearance.

His analysis clearly shows the tangent between racism, understood as cultural discrimination, and faith, in this case Islam. As Kundnani (2007) continues to explain, the dominant perception of Islam as being alien and thus incompatible with Britishness, regardless of the fact that there have been several generations of Muslims living in the UK, is conducive to the discriminatory acts perpetuated against the British Muslims since the riots of 2001, the London metro bombing of 2005, among many other, up to the four terrorist attacks in the UK in 2017. In addition, he also adds that “‘Muslim community’ becomes, effectively, an ethnicity rather than a group sharing a religion” (Kundnani 2007: 126) which once again emphasises the link between cultural racism and Islam. The solution he 41

sees is a cohesive society in which non-Muslims and Muslims share life experience, learn about each other and acknowledge each other’s difference. Quoting Jakubowicz (1994: 27), Law (2002) states that “they identify the key components of racism as being an ‘intellectual/ideological framework of explanation, a negative orientation toward ‘the Other’ and a commitment to a set of actions that put these values into practice’” (Law 2002: 22). People rarely have personal experience with immigrants, refugees, or any other groups that are presented as Other. The experience is usually acquired through the media, folk tales, and other sources of information. Many scholars have written about the role the media play in the creation and maintenance of racist attitudes and social practices (van Dijk 1987, 1991, 1993, 2000; Angelova 2002; Cottle 2003). The exhibitions of racism against Muslims have been discussed by Said (1997), Runnymede Trust (1997), Poole (2002), Poole (2006), Richardson (2004, 2006), among others. Law (2002), for example, analyses the exhibitions of racism and its various types in the British newspapers and comes to the conclusion that the discourses of racism are still fanned by the media in various ways, mostly presenting the cultural Others (immigrants, refugees) or their traditions (Muslim beliefs, arranged marriages, sold brides) as a threat, criminalizing minorities (Black and Asian migrants pictured as welfare scroungers, abusing law-and-order), using editorials and opinion columns to reinforce existing usually negative stereotypes, remaining silent on minority issues (victims of violence, housing, health, minority women), denial of racism44, attacks on anti-racism (denying racism and racial discrimination) (Law 2002: 38-40). Eminic (2015) looking at the portrayal of Charlie Hebdo attack and the shooting at Chapel Hill, states that the demonisation of Muslims as terrorists continues even today. She comments on the fact that when the perpetrator of a crime is a Muslim, that person is described as a terrorist, regardless of the fact that there might be other Muslims among those killed. On the other hand, killings done by white people are described as This concept is taken from van Dijk’s (1991: 198) study – using “semantic strategies to deny, conceal, mitigate or excuse racism, blame victims and accuse anti-racists”, using success stories. 44


cases of a “lone wolf” or a mentally unstable person, similar to the case of Anders Breivik in Norway. The author claims that this continued difference in presentation is fostered by the different attitude towards Muslims (see also Ihsanoğlu 2011) and the continued influence of Orientalism as explained below. Dobreva (2015) states that the presentation of Charlie Hebdo attack first starts with the location of the event as happening at a particular time in a specific place and establishing the links that exist between this and the other attacks that happened simultaneously. She also clarifies that the event establishes a precedent which is followed in other similar subsequent events thus, developing a framework of references. Van Dijk provides one of the most elaborated theoretical frameworks for the analysis of racism in the media (1987, 1991, 1993a, 1993b, 2005). He defines racism as a ‘property of ethnic group dominance’, which is identified as ‘the historically rooted dominance of whites (Europeans) over Others’ (1993b: 47; van Dijk 2005, 2006) with elites predetermining what gets published and what is being presented to the audiences as the media are “the major and most influential forms of institutional racism” as well as the main source of racist beliefs (van Dijk 2005: 5). In addition, he states that although racism is discursively created as no one is born racist or with preconceptions about the racial Other, but acquires the knowledge of the Other through the media and other sources of information, there are also various exhibitions of racism that are not discursive, such as everyday discrimination, marginalization, exclusion, etc. (van Dijk 2005). It could be stated that the increased migration of people, especially the refugee crisis, as well as the increased prominence of identity politics have all jointly strengthened the idea of differences subsumed under the umbrella term “race”. In addition, there is an observed tendency in the media of imposing a white norm – in a way everything is judged based on the established understanding of Europe being white in general. A pivotal moment in this phenomenon is the understanding of superiority, dominance and modernity of one group versus the inferiority, subjugation and backwardness of the Other (see also Said 1979; Rahman 2014). Thus, the Other marks a key component in the understanding of race and the perception of a person or a group as different.


OTHERNESS In order to define one’s own self, people generally look for binaries or antipodes, something they can use as a background for the comparison and such that will provide them with a positive-negative paradigm of values (beliefs, characteristics, traits, images, etc.). Thus, for the Self to exist there needs to be an Other and usually that Other is everything that the Self is not (Breen, Devereux, Haynes 2008). In addition, the notion of the Self sets the boundaries of the unfamiliar, strange and unknown, as well as of the foreign. It also helps the members of a group define who belongs to them and who is different, therefore Other. It is indubitable that globalisation has led to exchange of people, falling of boundaries and a greater variety of people on the territories of the different countries all over the world. At the same time, globalisation, apart from being a purely positive phenomenon has contributed to the increase in the shades of Otherness which in itself has led to the need of remapping and re-assessing the image of the cultural Other. Psychologists state that people tend to differentiate between Us and Them, in-group and out-group, usually charging the second member of the dichotomy with negative characteristics in order to create a better image of themselves or of their group in general (Tajfel 1970; Eriksen 1995; Downing, Husband 2005; Breen, Devereux, Haynes 2008). As stated by van Dijk (2005) the differences attributed to the Other have been used to legitimize the discriminatory practices against people considered barbaric or primitive. The very division of humanity into different cultures is a dehumanizing activity as it breeds divisions and oppositions (Said 1979; Sax 1998). In addition, the dominant group has the ability not only to distinguish itself from other groups but also to grade or rank this difference (Said 1979; Sax 1998; Kostova-Panayotova 2007). The only case in which the Other can be viewed in a positive way and attributed positive qualities is in the cases when the culture in question is perceived as exotic (Sax 1998; Dobreva 2009b; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2012). Only in cases like this, the Other is not being inferiorized. However, talking about ethnic groups especially bearing in mind the processes of multiculturalism achieved through movement of people, continuing migration and the refugee crisis, the boundaries between Self 44

and Other become blurred. Analysing articles on the post-Charlie Hebdo image of Muslims in Dnevnik, a Bulgarian, and The Independent, a British newspaper (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2015), it becomes obvious that the traditional dichotomy of Us vs. Them or Self vs. the Other cannot be applied to the way Muslims are being perceived. Looking into the multiple cases of Muslim converts it is difficult to say whether they are a part of Us or a part of Them, because they are like Us but not quite (Fredette 2014: 3). At the same time, home-grown Muslims pose the threat of becoming terrorists born and bred in the culture of the dominant group while following the agenda of the so-called enemies (CheshmedzhievaStoycheva 2017b). As stated by Henderson (2009: 59): In recent years, Muslim populations in Western Europe have appeared to be more vulnerable to radicalisation than those in the United States, as evidenced by the new phenomenon of ‘home-grown’ jihadism: Muslim youth who were born and raised in Europe becoming radicalized jihadists who participate in terrorist activities against their own countries 45.

In addition, the moderate Bulgarian/British Muslims were primarily considered Other while after their radicalisation they were considered aliens intent on hurting peaceful citizens. As a result, the Muslim Other becomes “an object of fear, concern and suspicion” (Rahman 2014: 1) and thus acquires the features of the Foreign(er). Therefore, a trichotomy is better suited when analysing the image of Muslims in the European context. In this case, the degrees of otherness proposed by the German scholars seem more appropriate, differentiating between the Self, the Other and the Foreigner (Blommaert, Verschueren 1998; Bischur 2003; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2012). The third member in this case is reserved mostly for all those opposed to democracy and the peaceful existence of the dominant group, such as radical Muslims, terrorists, jihadists, or generally all those who can hurt and pose a threat to the dominant group. This is the member that remains more or less unchanged while the other two members are more fluid with various groups joining one or the other based on the situation. Using Weberian sociology in order to account for the relationships between different ethnic groups in Canada, Winter (2014: 129) proposes a triangular relation between Us, Others (those who are subject to “conditional inclusion”, 45

On the motivational aspects of recruitment and radicalization of jihadists see also Nesser (2010).


therefore closer to Us) and Them (those who are excluded, or considered outsiders). In support of the proposed tri-partite division, adversaries to the dichotomous view on the world in general, propose the idea of Bhabha’s (1994) in-between culture instead. The main reason for this switch of theories is based on the fact, already stated above, that the boundaries between the Self and the Other are fuzzy, especially when dealing with pan-ethnic issues, such as religion. “Ultimately, we must rethink ‘Europe’ and its changing nations so that Muslims are not a ‘them’ but part of a plural ‘us’, not mere sojourners but part of its future” (Modood 2009: 207). Regardless of the fact whether a group of Muslims is viewed as the cultural Other (i.e. known and not so threatening to the dominant group, or Us), or as the Foreigners/Aliens (or Them in the definition of Winter (2014), i.e. those that are totally unfamiliar and frightening to the dominant group), the media representations seem to be predominantly negative, presenting both Others and Foreigners as a possible threat. As stated in a research by Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva (2017a) “the threat posed by home-grown Muslims is considered even greater as they are “invisible” among the general population because of their western schooling, westernized looks and manners”. Gartenstein-Ross and Grossman (2009: 11) explain the reason for this new scare stating that “Homegrown terrorists pose a particular concern due to the increasing number of Westerners joining militant Islamic movements, and the operatives’ familiarity with the societies they are targeting”. The idea is that in today’s fast-moving and changing world people are strangers and no one really knows anything even about the people living next door. This estrangement, as stated above, contributes to the continued existence of negative images and also leads to the establishment of the image of the permanent “public devils” (Cohen 2002a) represented by Muslims, while the threat they are supposed to pose can be described as the newest “moral panic”. The latter is supported by the multitude of reports on terrorist attacks happening all over the world and the anti-terrorism laws and acts passed in various countries in Europe and worldwide. In the British context, the riots in Bradford, Oldham, and Burnley in the summer of 2001, as well as the attack in the London metro in 2005 have been regarded as reasons for Asian communities (which are predominantly Muslim) to self-segregate. Thus, in a way, Muslims have been blamed for 46

their own fate as cultural aliens and following the integrationist debates promoted also by the media in the UK, Muslims are seen as those who have to subsume their own cultural values under what has been defined as Britishness, while frequently they have been excluded from the cultural debate altogether (Kundnani 2007). Thus, the lack of intercultural communication and exchange or the impossibility to achieve cultural relativism (Glazer 1996; Rosando 1998) are blamed on Muslims. The fact that most of the terrorist attacks in the UK have been carried by Muslims born in the country justifies the continued tarring of the whole community and the increase in the distance between Us and Them. The latter has been fostered further by the transfer of negative qualities and the notion of a threat to the waves of immigrants, most of whom Muslim, who came to look for a better life on the island. Later on, under the influence of the terrorist attacks in the USA, the war on terror legislation further increased the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims, i.e. between Them and Us, through the imposition of anti-Muslim activities (Kundnani 2007), such as various stop and search procedures. As Kundnani (2007: 126) states: “to be ‘Muslim’ in the ‘war on terror’ is to belong to a group with common origins, a shared culture and a monolithic identity that can be held collectively responsible for terrorism, segregation and the failure of multicultural Britain” as well as to be a Muslim means to be “the enemy within” (ibid.: 128). Abbas (2005: 11) further clarifies that the negative representation of the Muslim Other as “barbaric, ignorant, blinkered semicitizens, as maddened terrorists or intolerant religious zealots” is mostly in “an effort to aggrandise the established powers, legitimising existing systems of domination and subordination”. The beginning of the conflict between Europe and Islam is to be found as far back as the 8th century. Alatas (2005) supports this claim with references to the Arabic presence in Spain, the Crusades, and the Ottoman Empire among others46. This conflict is conducive to the demonisation Islam experiences on behalf of the western media (Alatas 2005: 42ff)47. The reason, as stated by Alatas (2005), is the economic strength that the western media have.

46 47

See also Poole (2002). See also Eminic (2015).


The idea of otherness and the threat that the religious Other can potentially present, mostly through associations with the events of 11 September 2001, as well as other terrorist attacks, have prompted the development of particular profiles of Islamic terror suspects, resulting in the development of terrorist databases in various countries (Fekete 2006). The general character of such profiling is so broad that even being of “presumed Islamic affiliation” or belonging to a Muslim organisation, even if it is not terrorist, is already enough to get an individual entered into said list. All this has led to extensive stop and search practices, identity checks and surveillance of places of religious worship. This in its turn has resulted in various laws which have been executed in relation to religious profiling, such as Race Relations Act 2000 and Terrorism Act 2000 in the UK. The former claims that it is unlawful for police officers to discriminate people based on race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality or national origin, the latter, however, claims that in case of suspicion of terrorism, one’s ethnicity can be taken into account when deciding on a search procedure. Thus, the number of people of Asian background stopped in the UK has jumped by 300 percent (Fekete 2006). As a result of the increased terror attacks and the increased number of migrants AntiTerrorism Acts have been passed in various countries including Bulgaria. The Anti-Terrorism Act is actually the most contemporary legislation protecting the country against acts of terrorism. Prior to this Act, the Law for the Protection of the Country (passed in 1924) and the Law for the Protection of the Nation (passed in 1944) operated in Bulgaria. As Jenkins, the former editor of The Times is quoted saying “[t]error stories are always the easiest for government to sell. Headlines write themselves and the pictures always ‘burn or bleed’ (The Times 4 December 2002)” (qtd. in Miller 2006: 49) which also refers to the propaganda that surrounds the topic of national security. Karim (2006) also mentions the fact that with the change of time and the events from 11 September 2001, Muslims generally came to occupy the place taken by Communists before in the American psyche. Thus, the image of the scary and threatening Other came into being. The collective Self should be on guard against the Other and this becomes the general image that gets presented (Hafez 2000; Poole 2002; Richardson 2004, 2006; Karim 2006; Poole 2006).


As Dobreva (2011a: 260) concludes demonisation as a strategy used by the media in the presentation of groups of people is one of the most harmful ways of mass media reality construction as it provides the ground for stable negative stereotypes or generalisations which can tar a whole community based on a single example. The same process is defined as othering, or otherizing, or marginalizing (Said 1979; Sax 1998; Fürsich 2002). ORIENTALISM48 Orientalism has received its highest prominence due to the work of Said (1979) who used it to explain the division of cultures that exists in the western mind. According to him, Orientalism is associated with the historical construction of Eastern cultures as alien and other (Poole 2002: 18; Huisman 2011). As explained by Said (1979) himself, Orientalism can have several meanings, which in his opinion are interdependent (ibid.: 2). He mentions its academic designation, associating it with Oriental Studies or Area Studies, as well as its more general meaning, i.e. “a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between ‘the Orient’ and (most of the time) ‘the Occident.’” (ibid.) The third meaning presented by Said is of Orientalism as a corporate institution for dealing with the Orient, or, generally, the Western dominance, authority and power over the Orient. By default, the concept is meant to bring clarity to people who are not part of the culture described as part of the Orient (the countries of Asia and particularly East Asia). Following the definition provided by the contemporary understanding of Orientalism includes:

Despite the fact that Orientalism, as stated by Said (1979), is primarily a British and a French “cultural enterprise” (ibid.: 4) and an American one after World War II, mostly based on the fact that it is closely related to post-colonialism, this notion might not be applicable to the Bulgarian context due to the different cultural and historic experience, as well as to the fact that Bulgaria does not have such experience of colonialism (Bjelić 2002; Todorova 2014), it is important to look into it as its role is considered paramount in determining the attitude towards Muslims and especially Asians in general. The attitudes towards the Muslim Others, in their turn, through the information flow and cultural exchange, influence the Bulgarian attitude, if not toward the Bulgarian Muslims, then toward Muslim immigrants. 48


1. a peculiarity or idiosyncrasy of the peoples of Asia, especially the East; 2. the character or characteristics of the peoples of Asia, especially the East; 3. the knowledge and study of Asian, especially Eastern languages, literature, etc. (

The definitions provided herewith point on the one hand, to the characteristics pertaining to people from the East, while on the other to the knowledge of that culture. In addition, the comparison of understandings about the Orient proves the fact that the original idea has persisted over the years and is active even today. As stated by Richardson (2004: 20) the Orient with everything it entails is “constructed in Western ideology as a permanent and enduring object of knowledge in opposition to the Occident as its negative and alternative pole”, however, its form shifts and adapts according to the needs of Western writers. Its main purpose is to account for a discourse of subordination through the creation of a negativized Other (Richardson 2004; Huisman 2011). In this case, the role of the negative member of the duality is Islam. Esposito (1999: 645) also contributes to the discourse of Orientalism clarifying that “[b]y the nineteenth century much of the Muslim world found itself subjugated to European imperial powers, demonstrating its political, economic, and military impotence and challenging the veracity of Islam itself”. Orientalism is constructed as the West’s alter ego (Said 1979) and Islam “remained forever the Orientalist’s idea (or type) of original cultural effrontery” (ibid.: 260; italics in the original text). The image thus created has helped justify the attacks on the East undertaken by the West starting from the Crusades to present time War on Terror. The notion of the Orient therefore is of significance for the understanding of present day presentations of Islam and Muslims (Poole 2002; Richardson 2004). Orientalism also attributes fixity to Muslim communities and uses examples and generalisations of the part-to-whole type to present contemporary Muslim societies (Richardson 2004: 11). In addition, scholars tend to rely more on written sources rather than field studies when talking about real living Muslim communities. This in itself contributes further to the static image they receive. Orientalism is a form of inward reflection, preoccupied with the intellectual concerns, problems, fears and desires of the West that are 50

visited on a fabulated, constructed object by convention called the Orient (Sardar 1999: 13 qtd. in Richardson 2004: 7; see also Arab American National Museum 2011).

All this comes to prove the fact that the characteristics used to present Muslims are imaginary and concocted by the West in order to satiate its own fantasies and desires. The Orientalist frame of thought is so pervasive that it affects almost any sphere of personal and communal life. Thus, the rise of Political Islam which is seen as the source of all terrorist acts, is presented as the antipode to modern democracy, therefore, Islam in general is considered inimical to democracy and democratic societies, simply because it is presented as savage, inhumane, and backward (Esposito 2002a; Mollova 2010; Terman 2017) and is associated with “violence, authoritarianism, terrorism, fundamentalism, clerical domination and hostility to modern, ‘western’, secular democratic government” (Richardson 2004: 12-13; see also Poole 2002). This is also reflected in media reporting where conflicts in the East are not analysed as a result of some social, political or economic problems but rather as a consequence of cultural specifics. The East is thus diametrically opposed to the West and in order to broaden the gap, the Orient is being presented as the demonised Other who regards the West as the archenemy they have to wage a war against (Pipes 1998; Richardson 2004). Thus, a monolithic image of Islam is established fostered by coverage mostly of terrorist acts and militant jihadists (Esposito 2002a). Muslims continue to be characterised by sex, violence, cunning and irrational religion (Islam). The West frequently comments and is even shocked with the ideas of polygamy, adultery, and divorce. The idea of Orientalism and the inherent patriarchal structure it imposes on Muslims also accounts for the perception of some markers of Muslim-ness as oppressive – the veil worn by Muslim women, for example (Esposito 2002a; Richardson 2004; Kundnani 2007). The latter is also linked to backwardness, submission and ignorance and its true significance is never sought or commented on; nor is the opinion of Muslim women ever reported. In addition, women and gender relations in general, as well as practices related to women oppression, such as footbinding, genital mutilation, etc., are all defined as “gendered orientalism” (Terman 2017: 5). Women are also viewed as passive, pleasing their husbands, and highly sexual (Esposito 2002a; Arab 51

American National Museum 2011; Terman 2017). The focus on Muslims’ beards is also associated with backwardness and Islamic extremism (Friedel 2016). Sharing his opinion on twenty-first century Orientalism, Klein (2009) adds a different stereotype associated mostly with the more affluent countries from the Middle East, like Kuwait. An aspect of the opposition West vs. East that has not been mentioned so far, is the assumption held by some that Orientalism and Orientalist attitudes and notions are a prerogative only of right-wing politicians and nationalists. Klein (2009) contests that supposition by claiming that left-wing, similar to right-wing politicians, have their own preconceived ideas that are used to judge the Middle East by. The defining characteristic in this twenty-first century Orientalism as suggested by Klein (2009) is whether an Eastern nation is with the West or against it. Those who support the West are seen as oppressed countries that need to be helped by the West, while the others are perceived as oppressors. So, the values that are used to judge the East against are still the Western ones, such as working conditions, economic crisis, expat mentality, bad driving, structure of towns, type of governance, among others (ibid.). In addition, there is also the factor of economic strength and the control over the oil wells. The West, especially the States, are afraid of losing their power in the Middle East and if Islam is in any way seen as threatening this status quo, then the western activities are frequently justified as necessary to protect western values (Poole 2002; Hadar 2008). In this flow of thought, Said’s (1979) work identifies the following eight Orientalist themes: 1. Oriental untrustworthiness underlines the belief that Orientals are by nature untruthful and therefore should not be trusted. 2. Islam as a threat asserts that the Orientals are threatening because of their adherence to an Islamic ideology. 3. Oriental inferiority questions the basic humanity of the Oriental as compared with the Westerner. 4. Oriental backwardness makes up the argument that the “backward” Orient is the opposite of the “advanced” West. 5. Oriental irrationality stresses the mystical and irrational nature of the Oriental. 6. Oriental submissiveness advocates that the Oriental is by nature in a position of submission. 7. Jews versus Arabs (or Muslims) operates when the significance of a situation is defined in terms of the Palestinian–Israeli confrontation. 8. Oriental strangeness stresses the oddities of Oriental individuals as 52

compared with a normal Western standard” (Taha 2014: 3; Poole 2002; Abbas 2005, 2011). In addition, the Runnymede Trust (1997) also develops eight main categories which are similar to those presented above: 1) Muslim cultures are seen to be unchanging and monolithic; 2) Muslim cultures are wholly different from other cultures; 3) Islam is inferior, different, barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist; 4) Islam is threatening; 5) Islam’s adherents use their faith for political advantage; 6) Muslims’ criticisms of the West are rejected out of hand; 7) hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices; 8) Islamophobia is assumed to be unproblematic. Regardless of the fact which of the two versions is considered, the categories serve as the basis of negative stereotypes for Muslims and at the same time, justify the exhibitions of Islamophobia against the members of that group. Said’s (1979) analysis on Orientalism as well as the analyses of other scholars presuppose the fact that the concept of Orientalism is in a way inborn (Friedel 2016). This is easy to understand bearing in mind the fact that it is viewed as part of one’s culture and the general perception is that a person is born into his/her culture, as mentioned above. At the same time, Rahman (2014) concludes that in view of the processes of deterritorialization and interconnectedness there is interdependence between the West (Us) and the Orient, so that the butterfly effect is visible and events happening to the Others affect Us as well. That is the reason why the original idea of an Orient is already obsolete. However, the author continues to explain that the preconditions for Orientalism are still active in the neo-Orientalism postulating a division between the West and Islam on the premise that Islam is seen as incompatible with the western values of democracy (Hadar 1992; Samiei 2009; Byng 2010). The one to blame for that is Islam. Within this new ideology Muslims are presented as the new barbarians (ibid.). The revived concern with Islam only fuels the xenophobic hostility of Western European countries (Husband 1994). Another reading of Orientalism defines it as a Practical Orientalism (Haldrup et al. 2006; Friedel 2016). What this concept entails is that it is promoted not only on the institutional level, but through every day practices of othering (Haldrup et al. 2006) as well. Furthermore, the authors state that it has to be constantly repeated and enacted in order to 53

be actual. These two characteristics of Practical Orientalism make it quite similar to Essed’s (1955) understanding and definition of everyday racism, even more so, as both Haldrup et al. (2006) and Friedel (2016) uphold the view that its exhibitions remain invisible to those who use it, though it influences people’s activities. At the same time, similar to stereotypes, Orientalism is reinforced by bodily experiences. Thus, positive encounters with the Orient and people from that area might deconstruct the Orientalist image (Haldrup et al. 2006; Friedel 2016). The sensuous systems that are explored are: the haptic experience is about touch and refers to the tactile receptivity of the skin, bodily contact and the movement of the body through the environment, and it may as such also be seen as a kind of foundation for the wider multisensual geography; olfactory experiences, some other quite intimate ones, refer to the smell-taste perceptual system, in this way underlining the close connection between these two senses; auditory experience relates to the sensuous perception of sounds, to hearing and listening, and many authors make use of the term ‘soundscape’ to illustrate this geographical experience; and finally visual experience is concerned with sight and appearances (Haldrup et al. 2006: 179).

As the media convey their messages through both visual and auditory senses, they possess the power to influence the views of the Orient. Bulgaria’s position is different. It was a part of the Orient, represented by the Ottoman Empire, while at the same time it was a part of the geographical area considered Periphery to the Centre of Europe. Looking at the relationships between the West and the Balkans, scholars prefer to talk about Balkanism, rather than Orientalism (Stancheva 2005; Todorova 2009, 2014). The reason for that is mostly the space that the Balkans occupy. In contrast to the geographical place allocated to the Orient which is non-defined, the location of the Balkans is distinctly outlined both geographically and historically (Todorova 2009). At the same time, rather than being considered part of Europe, the Balkans, and (South)Eastern Europe in general, have been viewed as а periphery, thereby closer to the Orient, even its subordinate (Herzfeld 2002), than to Western Europe. The reason for this can be found in the nature of the new nation-states’ formation – focusing on ethnic differences and the blood spilt in cross-national conflicts. Furthermore, Boztemur (2016) clarifies that the way Balkan nationalities were formed after the demise of 54

the Ottoman Empire was through rejection of the Other. Thus, the new borders of the new nations were set on the basis of common origin, religion, etc., all characteristics associated with the understanding of ethnic belonging (Eriksen 1993). The Balkan Wars that followed were viewed by westerners as extremely savage and contributed to the negative image of the Balkans (Todorova 2009). The definitions of the term provided by most of the dictionaries focus on two of its aspects. Based on the definition provided by the English Oxford Living Dictionaries Balkanism is presented as: 1. Balkan nature or character; 2. Also with lower-case initial: The action or fact of balkanizing or dividing (italics mine). The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers the following definition: 1. the quality or state of being balkanized a country fated to endure a century of Balkanism; 2. Balkanization, while ‘balkanize’ balkanized; balkanizing transitive verb 1: to break up (a region, a group, etc.) into smaller and often hostile units; 2: divide, compartmentalize (MerriamWebster).

The negativism in the concept is perceived in its second meaning which has to do with the post-Ottoman use of the term. Hostility, as was clearly shown in the discussion on Orientalism is a defining characteristic attributed to that part of the world by the West. In this sense, the two terms appear similar, though attributed to different geographic entities. The Balkans are considered part of the Ottoman legacy and hence the negative associations that come with the term Balkanism, which was initially associated with the establishment of many countries feeble in terms of political or economic strength after the demise of the Ottoman Empire (Todorova 2014). Todorova (2014) claims that afterwards, when the countries gained their political independence, the Ottoman legacy continued to be felt, however, as a perception only. This perception has remained even today and is to be found in the nationalist press which very often resorts to the discourse of the oppressed Bulgarian subjects of the Ottoman Empire. As stated by Bjelić (2002: 7) “Balkanism as a critical study is a system of representation based on the historical perception of the Balkans by colonial rulers”. He also explains that Balkanism meanders between the concepts of Orientalism and Occidentalism as it is a feature


of the people in the Balkans to present themselves as Occidental in terms of the Turks who are perceived as Oriental, for example. It was only with the establishment of the EU and the accession of Eastern European countries that the attitude towards that part of the continent slightly changed (Haldrup et al. 2006). Still, though, the condition of acceptance into the new union was compliance with the rules established by Western Europe, i.e. by the centre. Stancheva (2005) contests the idea of the Balkans feeling oppressed in any way by Western Europe as the attitude in the eastern part of the continent towards its western counterpart has been of awe. The West has been and still is considered as stronger economically, politically, culturally as well as technologically; therefore the East willingly, rather than by force, follows its footsteps (ibid.). This supports Dobreva’s (2009b) analysis on the xenophilic attitude of Bulgarians towards foreigners.49 In addition, the Balkan Peninsula is considered to be a bridge (or a crossroads) between the West and the Orient, so in a way, it is a geographic area that is in-between. Very conveniently, if that bridge is tipped sideways and positioned so that it faces the Orient, it forms a barrier (Bjelić 2002). The latter is very plain to see in relation to the refugee crisis – the Balkans are the place that has to push or keep all those undesirables out. The same holds true in regard to Islam. Therefore, it can be stated that the image of this geography is subject to interpretations, however, the more positive image is probably a result of more recent developments. The demarcation lines between the Balkans and Western Europe after the fall of the Ottoman Empire are many – Catholicism and Protestantism in the West as the legacy of the Roman Empire, Eastern Orthodoxy in the East; capitalism in the West, communism in the East, etc. In this context Todorova (2014) states that the contemporary processes of homogenisation of the population on the Balkans and the adherence to the common European values mark the final stage in the Europeanization of the region. The latter supports the change of attitude of central Europe towards the Eastern part of the continent. Todorova (2014) defines the process as the political demise of the historical concept of the Balkans and As can be easily seen the difference in opinion presented here is not a matter of some theoretical opposition but rather a result of perspectives. While Halrup et al. (2006) and Todorova (2014) present the attitude of Western Europe towards the Balkans and Eastern Europe, Stancheva (2005) and Dobreva (2009b) present the attitude of the Balkans and Bulgarians towards Western Europe. 49


Eastern Europe. At the same time, this Europeanization that is being enacted in Eastern Europe gives historians the reason to talk about “intellectual neo-imperialism, neocolonialism or self-colonialism” (Todorova 2014) hence the connection with post-colonialism as the new Europeans feel oppressed by the Western Europeans mostly through the types of governments, the political, legislative, and other impositions they make on the Eastern countries (Herzfeld 2002; Haldrup et al. 2006; Todorova 2014). In addition, as both Bjelić (2002) and Goldsworthy (2002) argue the Balkans can never be accepted as truly European mostly due to the metaphoric associations that exist in the western psyche, such as a powderkeg, a vampire, as well as a “singularly ‘Balkan’ butchery” (Goldsworthy 2002: 29)50, and also due to their ambiguity. All these images are conducive to the fossilisation in their interpretation and at the same time show the Balkans as more similar to the Orient than to Europe. Todorova (2009: 17) concludes that “[b]ecause of their indefinable character, persons or phenomena in transitional states, like in marginal ones, are considered dangerous, both being in danger themselves and emanating danger to others”. The latter is reflected in various sources, such as journalistic and quasi-journalistic forms (Todorova 2009) as well as in some recent literary works, such as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series. The descriptions of Bulgaria become the Orient or are associated with Communism and the image of the Soviet Union – with backwardness and savagery (Goldsworthy 2002; Cheshmedzhieva 2006; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2017a). The general image of the Balkans is “a site of chaos and political turbulence” (Kostova 1997: 10). Todorova (2009: 14) similarly states that in the western mind “the standard Balkan male is uncivilized, primitive, crude, cruel, and, without exception, disheveled”. Kostova-Panayotova (2003), however, mentions that the people from the Balkans have frequently attempted to change the black-and-white metaphor used to describe the relationships between the Balkans and Western Europe by reversing said metaphor and talking about “dark” Europe. The author notices the use of the aforementioned ‘black’ metaphor in the works of various writers. At the same time, this strategy helps increase the positive self-esteem which has been hurt by the advent 50

On the topic of Centre – Periphery see also Kostova (1994).


of the post-modern society and the crisis of national identity especially in the Balkans. In conclusion, it can be stated that although Orientalism and Balkanism do share some common features related mostly to the Western perception of the people and countries located in both areas, they also have their idiosyncrasies, as presented above. The most significant one is that Balkanism evolved as “a reaction to the disappointment of the West Europeans’ ‘classical’ expectations of the Balkans, but it was a disappointment within a paradigm that had already been set as separate from the oriental” (Todorova 2009: 20). ISLAMOPHOBIA As a kind of a thematic frame of this chapter, due attention should be given to one of the most persistent types of racism experienced by Muslims today, i.e. Islamophobia. The definition of the phenomenon provided is “dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force” (ЕOLD) and its origin is shown in the 1920s. This information shows the fact that the concept was formulated as a term long before the events of 11 September 2001. The latter has been supported by scholars who state that the exhibition of negative attitude towards Muslims predates the events from the 21st c. (Runnymede Trust 1997; Cesari 2011; Esposito 2011; Kalin 2011) but the term was coined later in time when Muslimness gained prominence due to the increased numbers of Muslim immigrants, the Iranian revolution, and the terrorist acts that followed. Abbas (2011: 74) defines Islamophobia as “a complex, multifaceted, economic, political, and cultural phenomenon, and its impact on Muslim/non-Muslim relations will remain an important feature of social life in Britain for some time”. Many people argue that Islamophobia is a new form of ‘acceptable racism’. After the Danish cartoons affair in 2006, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, held a press conference at the City Hall and called for an end to the media’s “orgy of Islamophobia” (Ali web). Halliday (2006) in his turn, dislikes the term Islamophobia, preferring anti-Muslimism instead. As Cesari (2011: 21) explains: 58

The term Islamophobia is contested because it is often imprecisely applied to very diverse phenomena, ranging from xenophobia to antiterrorism. It groups together all kinds of different forms of discourse, speech, and acts by suggesting that they all emanate from an identical ideological core, which is an irrational fear (a phobia) of Islam.

Islamophobia has come to be used mostly due to the increased incidents of discrimination, xenophobia and rejection of Muslim cultural values. In the opinion of Runnymede Trust (1997) that promoted the use of the lexeme, a new term was needed to account for this phenomenon to be acted upon and recognised. At the same time, the criticism towards the use of the term focuses on the fact that reality has changed and nowadays what people oppose is not the religion itself but the people who profess it, i.e. Muslims in general, including immigrants. Halliday (2006) also states that the term is not appropriate because it suggests that there is only one possible Islam against which discrimination is aimed. The latter has also to do with one of the main manifestations of Islamophobia, i.e. presenting Islam as a monolith religion (Abbas 2011). Touching on a similar aspect of the presentation and perception of Islam and acts of Islamophobia, Kalin (2011: 6) describes the latter as cultural racism which originates from views of the monolithic character of a religious, cultural or an ethnic group whose value system is believed contrary to any diversity. Cesari (2011) points out two characteristics of Muslim communities in Europe that make it difficult for Islamophobia to be recognised and at the same time account for the inappropriateness of the term: Muslim communities in Europe are mostly immigrant and they are socioeconomically marginalized (ibid.: 24)51. These two traits explain the other types of discrimination that European Muslims experience: xenophobia, racism, anti-immigration policies, rejection of cultural values, among others. Therefore, talking about discrimination against Muslims in Europe, a more generic understanding of Islamophobia should be applied; Talking about the European Muslims the author clearly excludes the Muslims in the Balkans as she does not mention the population living there but focuses only on Western Europe. She does mention Greece as the country of the EU which has a very big indigenous Muslim population, however, Cesari (2011) does not mention Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia which also have big Muslim populations. She, correctly notes, though, that in Western Europe the notions of Muslim and immigrant overlap (ibid.: 25) which is a phenomenon characteristic of that part of the continent. 51


one that encompasses all possible discriminations based on class, race, ethnicity, or culture. As Islamophobia, similar to all other types of discrimination, can be discursively created, it functions in society and is transferred and promoted by one of the main means of communication, the media. Looking at the presentations in the media, it could be stated that the more closely a text supports or promotes the closed views on Islam as put forward by Runnymede Trust (1997)52, the more prejudicial, biased and Islamophobic the presentation is. Poole (2002: 23) provides three ways through which hostility can be reported: type of news stories, “coverage that encourages opposition to any action that aims to increase equality” and the use of ethnic reporters to confirm it. The latter has also been mentioned by Cesari (2011) who states that whenever there are Muslim intellectuals who are allowed to speak their role is of an “expert witness” (ibid.: 36), people who are familiar with all the processes that influence the life of the community. Such people usually speak up in order to disclaim the committed atrocities (see also Boycheva 2016). Rahman (2014: 1) provides another interpretation of Islamophobia defining it not only as a “simple hostility against Islam but as a possible threat to European-Western values as against Islamic values which might come as a consequence to multicultural contacts”. The negative portrayal of Muslims and instances of Islamophobia increased after 11 September 2001, with Muslims being presented as showing support to anti-West resistance, and using violent terror (Sayyid 1997; Poole 2002; Birt 2009) and these images were developed into new types of moral panics which resulted in the increased discourse on the War on Terror. These have also determined governments’ rhetoric and the division of Muslims into “radicals” and “moderates” (Birt 2009: 217-218)53. Thus, the conclusion made by Birt (2009) is that “Islamophobia is not irrational, but rather a rational process involving the deliberate demonisation of Muslims based upon misinformation used, in the post-9/11 context, to support the war on terror” (ibid.: 218).

See also Poole (2002), Abbas (2005, 2011), and Taha (2014). Geaves (2005: 69-70) also mentions Muslims’ presentation as the Fifth Column and defines them as the misunderstood and uneducated victims of racism. 52 53


Modood (2009: 204) states that Muslims enjoy the worst negative portrayal and if in the coverage of that particular group the religious marker Muslim were substituted with Jews or blacks, these publications would be attacked as racist. However, he also states that it is difficult to assess whether Islamophobia in the UK today is racial or religious54. In this respect Modood (2009: 201) also adds that the category of Muslim should be used to judge the inclusiveness of social institutions just the way they are in terms of race or gender. Anwar (2005: 39-43) confirms the view of Modood (2009) that Muslims are subjected to various forms of Islamophobia mostly because religious discrimination is not considered unlawful in Britain, while he also mentions the case of Jews and Sikhs who are actually protected by the Race Relations Act (Abbas 2011; Kalin 2011). At the same time, Abbas (2011) also states that local councils are more prepared to take action and look into Muslim issues and problems mostly under pressure of Muslim activist groups. The associations of Islam today, however, are mostly negative as mentioned above, and are a source of intolerance as it is mostly associated with extremism and terrorism and the assumptions that Muslims are bent on destroying Western values. By contrast, the Muslim world is increasingly regarding the West as an arrogant, imperialistic colonizer prone to propagate Western materialism and mass culture, to destabilize and destroy Islam, and to exploit the Muslim world’s potential while imposing Western values and way of life on the rest of the world (Ihsanoğlu 2011: vii).

The observation made shows first, the distrust both cultures view each other with, and then, the impossibility of both to co-exist mainly due to these hierarchies of opinion that dominate them (Kalin 2011). As stated by various scholars, due to the fact that Muslims defy ethnicity as well as colour specificity, the problems of this group should be discussed in terms of racism, in terms of understanding and equality, which means not having to hide one’s origin, or family, or culture, but showing respect to cultural differences and identity. Modood (2009) subsumes all these under the term political multiculturalism. According to Halliday (2006) the way to fight or counteract Islamophobia or any The fact that racism against Muslims is housed in ethnic and cultural terms is also supported by Allen (2005: 49) who states that while race is protected against discrimination, religion is not. 54


similar act of discrimination and racism is through education and information, the latter including the media as well. Islam and the debates concerning its coexistence with European values invariably position the issue within the wider topic of multiculturalism. Touching upon an aspect of cultural specifics and their compatibility with western values invariably leads to wider and more general problems. As Kalin (2011) shows the debate of banning the scarves in France was fanned by the media in relation to the maintenance of French values and what it means to be French. In a similar way, each new terrorist act committed by Muslims is reviewed within the broader topic of European values of freedom, tolerance, democracy, sexual equality and secularism or the more specific cultural peculiarities of Britishness, Spanish-ness, German-ness, etc. (Poole 2002; Richardson 2004; Modood 2009; Esposito 2011). All these presentations in turn, lead to feelings of isolation, of constantly being pointed at, of being unjustly tarred, victimized and stereotyped, and thus contribute to the segregation of Muslim communities and their encapsulation in particular areas or towns (Modood 2009; Birt 2009; Kalin 2011). This, as explained by Geaves (2005: 67) imposes further challenges on Muslim communities as they have to learn how to live in non-Muslim societies and above all “they have needed to discover how to participate in a society which has no need for Islam in its public life”. In addition, he also argues that Asian Muslims in the UK have had experience with colonialism and carry it within themselves, albeit influenced by the new conditions they shut others out and create various stereotypes about them (see also Esposito 2011). The exhibitions of Islamophobia can take various forms, some of which more implicit, while others more explicit, some less, while others are more aggressive. The most widely publicised acts of Islamophobia that continue to be mentioned are the Danish cartoon crisis, the speech of Pope Benedict XVI at Regensburg University in 2006, the speech of former president George W. Bush, as well as Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons. The cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005 and 2006, as well as those by Charlie Hebdo, which led to the attack on the offices of the magazine in 2015, are viewed as manifestation of freedom of speech and expression by the publishers, while regarded as blasphemy and acts of outright Islamophobia by Muslims (Abbas 2011; Gottschalk, 62

Greenberg 2011). As Abbas (2011: 71) explains “publicizing of deliberately offensive material that offers a misrepresentation of a religion does not constitute free speech”. Despite the application of political correctness and the ethical code of practice, it seems that these regulative measures are ineffective in the media portrayals of Muslims. Other, more frequently encountered acts of Islamophobia, take the form of oppositions to the building of mosques and the desecration of Muslim cultural centres, among others. In the public and business sphere “Islamophobia takes the form of suspicion, staring, hazing, mockery, rejection, stigmatizing, and outright discrimination […] indirect discrimination, hate speech, or denial of access to goods and services” (Kalin 2011: 9). The old-time notion of old-fashioned racism which considered cultures as racially inferior has shifted to the understanding of cultures as religiously inferior (Kalin 2011). The focus of media presentations not only on Muslim communities in their host countries but also on Muslim-majority countries fosters and strengthens the establishment of negative stereotypes. As reported by both Poole (2002) and Kalin (2011) preference is given to publications covering conflicts, “Muslims engaged in political, militant and terrorist activities” (Kalin 2011: 14) while topics such as education, culture, economic development are not given much attention. Islamophobia is accepted as a justifiable result of the negative acts performed by Muslims. The theoretical frame set up by the analyses preceding this one along with the concepts of Otherness, Orientalism and Islamophobia as well as the general concept of racism provide the backbone for the analysis that follows. As has already been stated, the notions discussed are frequently interdependent passing from one into the other and thus forming a kind of vicious circle of attitudes towards the other, notions of the other born by feelings of superiority, awareness of the difference in religion, exhibitions of discrimination, Islamophobia and going back to the starting point of realizing or becoming aware of traits that make the Other, Foreign. This vertigo of a kind, makes it difficult sometimes to find the demarcation line between the concepts. The role of the media in this circle, as has become obvious, is significant. The dominant trend observed in all media coverage of Islam and Muslims, regardless of the country, is the predominantly negative reporting on 63

Muslims and the establishment and transmittance of specific stereotypes which are usually influenced by and have their origin in the perception of Orientalism. These presentations are also frequently subjected to the distinction between Us and Them and in cases where there are immigrants, refugees or other Muslims who are considered alien, the dichotomy is expanded to a relationship comprised of three different entities – the Self, the Other and the Foreign. The members of each of the entities change based on the situation; however, the last group of the Foreigner usually remains more or less the same – all those willing to hurt Us. Subjected to all these influences, Muslim men are usually framed in the media as fierce, uncivilised, backward, while Muslim women are presented as submissive, oppressed, and as sexual objects. The image of the Muslim as a terrorist and as someone intent on hurting Us (Westerners, Europeans, the civilised ones) is interpreted by all media analysts as predominant after the events of 11 September 2001. The changes in the media discourse on Muslims are observed in terms of articles on Muslim culture and traditions where the tone is usually neutral and sometimes even positive. The theoretical overview provides the background information necessary for the definition of some assumptions on the topics, ideas, and ways of presentation that could be encountered while analysing the media publications in the Bulgarian and the British press. Thus, the following assumptions can be made: ▪ ▪

Due to international events and the prominence of ISIS/ISIL many of the publications in both the Bulgarian and the British press will focus on terrorist activities; The first assumption gives rise to three more: a) that international news will predominate; b) the stereotype of the Muslim terrorist will be present in both media discourses; c) the frame of terrorist activities will be present with all its elements, i.e. converts, radical preachers, radicalised people, terrorist cells, counter/legislative measures undertaken for the prevention of acts of terrorism, attitude towards returnees; Neutral or positive reports are expected in articles on Muslim lifestyle or religion when the object of attention are moderate, integrated Muslims; 64

The presentations employed by the Bulgarian media are expected to differ from those in the British media mostly due to the long history of coexistence between Bulgarians and “local” Turks. It is also expected that in the articles on politics the tone of presentation might be negative primarily due to the proximity of Turkey; the tone of the articles on religion and lifestyle is expected to be positive or neutral.

The assumptions formulated herewith trigger the necessity for an analysis on the topical distribution of articles, on the references used to denote the Muslim subjects in the articles, on the stereotypes used and on the metaphors that assist the framing of Muslims in both media discourses.


CHAPTER FOUR. SETTING UP THE FRAME Analysing the corpora collected from the Bulgarian and the British media, it has been noticed that the articles generally fall within two main groups: articles providing local or international coverage on Muslims. In consistence with the analysis conducted by Poole (2002) such a general division would help determine the effect of the framing of Muslims, i.e. whether the general image of this religious group has been enhanced by local or by international coverage. Next, the main topics have been outlined and attention has been given to the places that are presented, the voices that get heard and the general tone of presentations. By focusing on particular topics, newspapers, as they are widely read, influence public opinion and thus frame social reality. Therefore, they promote a particular way of “seeing Islam” (Poole 2002: 100) and Muslims within the particular culture and reality they are a part of. Poole’s analysis (2002) on the image of Muslims in the British press has shown that coverage on Islam at that time revolved around conflict, terrorism, social and political turmoil, and disaster (Poole 2002: 56). Her analysis also proved that the majority of articles featured international coverage while only 12% of the publications referred to the British Muslims. This led her to the conclusion that public opinion on Muslims is greatly governed by the image created by international news. In addition, her observations have shown that even news on local Muslims generally referred to world events including Muslims, which in its turn established the idea that all Muslims are the same (ibid.). Poole’s research also shows that in the period of analysis Islam received comparatively higher coverage than Christianity and Judaism, which in their turn received more prominence than Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism, which she attributes to the similarity between Christianity, Islam and Judaism as well as the fact that the other religions are not considered a threat to the West (Poole 2002: 60). Looking at the bigger corpus of the study at hand, it can be noticed first, that publications on Islam are more prominent than articles on any of the other religions. Christianity is rarely mentioned in the articles published in the Bulgarian newspapers and in the rare cases when such references do 66

occur they are mostly in relation to some traditional customs and holidays55. Second, the Bulgarian national press mentions Judaism only in relation to traditional holidays, investments made by Jews, or visits of some religious leaders. Furthermore, the attention of the Bulgarian media to the other religions is low mostly due to the fact that the average number of people belonging to other religions in the country is minimal as well (NSI). The observations on the British media coverage support the aforementioned conclusions of the study conducted by Poole (2002). This proves the fact that the visibility and the influence of Islam in both cultures are similar. As Poole (2002: 64) states Islam’s ability to be newsworthy relies on established notions of who Muslims are and what they represent to (interpretations of) British culture and perhaps even how ‘useful’ these representations of Muslims are to ‘us’ in creating a focus for anger and blame.

In addition, the association between Islam and terrorism (Said 1981/1997; Richardson 2004; Poole, Richardson 2006; Fredette 2014) also contributes to the higher visibility of this religion in the media discourse. As Richardson (2004: 130) concludes “the topic of terrorism is a perpetual feature of press representation and discussion about Islam and Muslims”. On the other hand, the trend observed by Poole (2002) regarding the presentation of Muslims in the British media has remained the same, i.e. international coverage outnumbers the local news by almost a half in most of the cases. Dobreva’s (2009c) analysis on the Bulgarian media’s representation of Turks covers a total of 404 articles. Furthermore, Dobreva’s study shows that 34% of the articles are on politics, another 34% are on religion, 13% on criminality, and the remaining 19% cover other topics related mainly In an earlier study it was shown that an exception to this trend is observed only in the nationalistic press where Christian values and Christianity are stressed upon and presented as suppressed and even obliterated by foreign traditions and values (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2012). A similar trend is commented on by Dobreva (2011b) in tems of the opposition Bulgarians – Turks: it is explicitly mentioned only in the nationalistic press. That is also the place where the most negative references to the Turkish minority are noticed. As Dobreva (2011b: 220) explains further, the reason for this demonisation of the Turks in the nationalistic press is to present them as similar to the Roma minority as the latter are considered the ultimate Other. 55


to the Turkish lifestyle and culture (Dobreva 2009c: 247), however, politics is a topic that is recurrent in all the others56. Looking at the local vs. international news distribution in the bigger corpus for this study, the following trend has been observed: Topical distribution of articles from the bigger corpus 400 300 200 100 0



total no of articles

Table 1. Local vs. international news distribution in the bigger corpus

As the table clearly shows there is a difference in the number of local vs. international news covered by the Bulgarian and the British media. While the coverage of the British media confirms the observation made by Poole (2002) that international news exceeds the local and thus influences the general presentation of the British Muslims, the trend observed in the Bulgarian media is of a predominance of local over international news. LOCAL COVERAGE

Politics When the ratio between local news vs. such on politics and international news is presented graphically, it becomes obvious that local politics in the

The topic of the involvement of the Bulgarian Turks in politics is also discussed by Markov (2002) and Cohen (2002b). 56


Bulgarian media take up almost half of the total amount of local news, which is not the case in the British media: Local news vs. politics vs. international 250

200 150 100 50 0 24ch


Novinar local

St politics






Table 2. Total number of local news articles compared to political and international news

The difference in distribution is mostly due to the fact that Bulgarian Muslims are included in the political life of the country57 mostly through the Movement for Rights and Freedoms who along with the Socialist Party form the opposition to the ruling party in the Bulgarian Parliament. Further analysis of the articles related to politics proves that to be true as the Movement for Rights and Freedoms is featured widely in the analysed articles (97 articles in total). The references to said party are mostly in terms of it representing the Muslim population in Bulgaria, however, the references to common Bulgarian Muslims in these articles are only indirect: [1]58 Местан: Няма да направим компромис с участието на ултранационалисти в управлението /h/[…] На събора дойдоха Dobreva’s analysis shows that direct reference to Turks is observed in four main topics: Turks in government, Turkish religion, crimes committed by ethnic Turks, Turkish culture and traditions (2009c: 249). The general conclusion she makes is that when the articles feature common people of Turkish origin, the language used is neutral or positive, while when politics comes into play the situation is reversed and the language used by the media acquires negative charge (ibid. 252-253). 58 The original examples from either the Bulgarian or the British media are numbered in sequence in square brackets, so that they can be easily discerned and found in cases when one and the same 57


стотици мюсюлмани от цялата страна и гости от Турция. Организатор на проявата е областното ръководство на ДПС в Търговище, а гости освен лидера на ДПС Лютви Местан, бяха евродепутати, депутати от региона, кметове на общини в България (‘Mestan: We would not make compromises with the participation of ultra nationalists in the government /h/ […] The fair was attended by hundreds of Muslims from the whole country as well as by guests from Turkey. The organiser of the event was the regional leadership of MRF in Targovishte. In addition to the leader of MRF Lyutvi Mestan, MEPs, deputies from the region, and the mayors of various municipalities in Bulgaria were also among the guests of the event’ – 24ch/26.07.2015); [2] Мехмед Дикме: Етническият конфликт е между ромите и всички останали /h/ […] „Ако в България ще има някога някакъв конфликт, той няма да бъде между българи и турци или между християни и мюсюлмани. Той ще бъде само между ромите и всички останали”, заяви той. (‘The ethnic conflict is between Roma and all others /h/ […] “If at any time and point there arose any conflict it won’t be between Christians and Muslims. It will be only between Roma and all others” he stated’ – 24ch/25.05.2015); [3] Алиосман Имамов: Вкарването на ДПС в скандала в Гърмен е недобронамерена измислица /h/ (‘Aliosman Imamov: MRF’s involvement in the scandal in Gurmen is an ill-conceived fiction’ – Dn/26.05.2015).

A common strategy in the framing in the articles on politics in the Bulgarian corpus is the foregrounding, directly in the headline, of the name of the politician or the party who is in the focus of attention. The leader of MRF – Lyutvi Mestan along with Mehmed Dikme, the former Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov are frequently quoted. The same trend, however, is observed with all other politicians who are quoted in the articles – their names usually take initial position and are made salient in the headline while common Bulgarian Muslims are metioned only fleetingly. Apart from the fact that the resort to well-known politicians increases the truth value of the articles, it does little to promote the image of common Muslims. The only thing that becomes clear is that they are the main electorate of MRF (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2013).

example is used in different analyses. The translation of the Bulgarian examples into English is made by the author.


Another party claiming to represent Bulgarian Muslims, which has recently appeared on the horizon, is DOST (10 articles in total). Its presence in the Bulgarian media discourse in the analysed period is very scarce due to the fact that it appeared on the Bulgarian political scene only in 2016 and thus the references to the alternative to MRF are found only in the small corpus: [4] ДОСТ успя да разбие монопола на ДПС над българските турци и мюсюлмани, но не и да получи правото да ги представлява в парламента като алтернатива на олигархичния модел на ДПС (‘DOST managed to break up MRF’s monopoly over the Bulgarian Turks and Muslims, however it failed to receive the right to represent them in the Parliament as an alternative to the oligarchic model of MRF’ – Kapital/31.03.2017).

The example emphasises the fact that in politics it is parties rather than common people that matter and thereby get to be in the focus of attention. At the same time, example [4] hints at the dominance exercised so far by MRF over the Bulgarian Muslims59. The paratactic structure the Bulgarian Turks and Muslims, on the other hand, hints at the diversity that exists within the general Muslim community and in a way refutes the stereotypical understanding that the Muslims in Bulgaria are Turks only (a fact which has been commented on in the section on the background of the Bulgarian Muslims in Chapter Two). However, due to the fact that it is the main political representative of the Bulgarian Muslims, the statements made by the party leader are perceived as conveying the opinion of all Muslims in Bulgaria: [5] ДПС осъди терористичнитe атаки /h/(‘MRF has condemned the terrorist attacks’ – St/27.06.2015). Very frequently such speeches and discussions on the problem of terrorism in Bulgaria include the clarification that the Bulgarian Muslims are moderate and very united and do not pose a threat to the security of the country60. The latter is a very common topic entering

Lozanova (2004) also clarifies the fact that MRF is viewed as the criteria for distinguishing between good vs. bad Turks (good being those who do not support the party). At the same time, it can be regarded as a quality criterion, a sign that we are true Europeans (ibid.: 61). 60 In her analysis on the representations of the Bulgarian Muslims, Dobreva (2011b) also mentions the use of Islamists as a descriptor for the supporters of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms which in itself demonises the MRF in the media discourse of nationalist parties. In the analysis at hand no such references have been noticed, which is suggestive of the more tolerant stand of the national media. 59


all spheres of life, and is the focus of attention of political and religious leaders as well as common people. Therefore, it is not a surprise that within the general group of articles on politics both the Bulgarian and the British media feature a subgroup related to the regulations and acts necessary to protect each of the countries (8 and 14 articles respectively) from the infiltration of terrorists under the guise of refugees. To be more specific, in the Bulgarian media these articles deal with the Anti-Terrorism Law, the safety of the Bulgarian borders along with the setting up of a fence to protect the southern border and the possible threat Muslim immigrants and refugees can present for the demographics and the economy of the country. [6] Валери Симеонов, “Патриотичен фронт”: Ограда на турската граница ще спре ислямизацията /h/(‘Valery Simeonov, Patriotic Front: A fence along the Turkish border will stop Islamisation’ – Dn/03.10.2014); [7] Експерт по тероризъм: България трябва да разработи политика за превенция на радикализацията /h/(‘Expert in terrorism: Bulgaria has to develop a strategy for the prevention of radicalisation’ – 24ch/23.01.2015).

The focus of these acts is not on the Bulgarian Muslims but rather on the Muslims coming from the outside. In an interview on the topic even the Bulgarian Minister of the Interior at the time, Tsvetlin Yovchev, restated that the main problem for Bulgaria comes from the wave of refugees, quoting thousands of jihadists who had entered the country disguised as refugees. It was only in passing that he mentioned the fact that there were some signs of possible radicalisation among the Bulgarian Muslim communities. The British media are also focused on anti-terrorism laws and their implementation as well as on the measures necessary to curb the immigration flow to the UK. Similar to the presentations in the Bulgarian media those in the British media on the Anti-Terrorism Law and possible regulations bear only indirect reference to Muslims. [8] David Cameron launches 5 year-plan to tackle Islamic extremism in Britain /h/ ‘It is an extreme doctrine subscribing to intolerant ideas’ /sh/ Young Muslims are drawn to fundamentalist Islam in the same way young Germans were attracted to fascism in the 20th century, David Cameron will suggest today, as he sets out a five-year strategy to combat Isis-inspired radicalisation /l/(In/20.07.2015). 72

Several articles in this group (23 in total) touch on the speech mentioned in example [8]. Some of them even feature the full transcript of the speech of the Prime Minister. The information on Muslims that all these articles share is only related to Muslim’s susceptibility to radical ideas. Both the Bulgarian and the British media spell out the reasons people might decide to fall into the trap of extremist ideology. As stated by Cameron they are “discrimination, sectarianism and segregation” while the Bulgarian politicians spell them out as illiteracy, poverty, segregation, which is basically the same. In contrast to the Bulgarian media, where both the ruling party and the opposition agree on the need of measures taken to assure the protection of the country as well as on the fact that local Muslims do not present a threat, the media in the UK feature the opinion of various politicians who find fault with the plan proposed by David Cameron. People like Baroness Warsi, politicians and political analysts express concern that the strategy will brand even Muslims who are actually fighting radicalisation. In addition, it is stated that people who have certain appearance will be stigmatized and subjected to various procedures to prove they are not extremists, which will discourage and scare them and as a result can do them more harm than good. Another subgroup of articles in the Bulgarian media (40 in total with another 34 articles where the event is also acknowledged, however, it is not the focus of presentation) deals with the so-called Process of Revival, or Process оf Rebirth, of 1984-1989. These articles mostly feature political leaders’, in most cases the Prime Minister’s, acknowledgement of what happened, disapproval of the events that occurred at the time, and a hope that similar oppressive acts as well as such acts aimed at “deleting” personal identity would never happen again. A large number of those articles deal with the need to maintain ethnic peace that is characteristic of the situation in Bulgaria mostly because these past events and their commemorations have been and still are used by various politicians as a means to stir that peace. In addition, both Dnevnik and Standart feature long historical reviews of the whole process as well as some comments by people who have witnessed and survived it. The latter two, however, cannot be viewed as political, but rather as features that promote cultural awareness.


A similar topic, which is also discussed in terms of cultural awareness and the promotion of ethnic identity (9 articles), generally in terms of human rights, deals with the news in Turkish (6 articles) which have been greatly opposed by the members of the nationalist and patriotic parties. They provoke heated debates in the Bulgarian parliament between the members of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and the members of the far right parties. However, the general tone of the presentations in these articles is neutral61. Political provocation in Turkish is another topic (2 articles), which attracts the attention of the Bulgarian media mostly as the ban on the use of the mother tongue is viewed as an infringement of the personal freedom of expression. In contrast to the provocation in Turkish, the news in their mother tongue received a favourable vote and have continued to be aired on Bulgarian national TV ever since. In addition, the small corpus contains an article on the banning of scarves in Bulgaria. The issue is viewed by the Bulgarian authorities as a measure for the protection of the country, while Muslims view it as a breach of their personal freedoms. Similar to the Bulgarian small corpus, the British small one also features an article on the banning of scarves, however, not in the UK but in other countries. The article lists the countries that have undertaken the measure as a way to assure national security. In general, the group of political news in the Bulgarian media has its focus on the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the measures developed for the protection of the country from terrorists’ infiltration, events closely related to the past of the Bulgarian Muslims as well as their human rights and the way those are assured. As all these topics are discussed from the perspective of politics, they touch on common Muslims only indirectly, i.e. mentioning them only in passing. The British media, on the other hand, deal mostly with the counter terrorism scheme and the debates whether or not it could foster Islamophobia, the counter-radicalisation/de-radicalisation plan, as well as home security. All these are related to the British Muslims only indirectly as they mostly deal with the threat posed by immigrants and refugees As stated by Dobreva (2009c: 216), the right granted to the Bulgarian Turks to air news in their mother tongue is viewed by the majority as “preferential treatment”, “reverse discrimination”, or as a form of “illegal privilege”. No such definitions have been encountered in the Bulgarian corpus for the study at hand. 61


trying to enter the UK and establish their lives there, or those who have already entered the country and face segregation, poverty and discrimination, and the possible ways of dealing with this issue. These topics invariably touch on various terrorist activities and the terrorist threat which are also featured greatly in the group of international coverage.

Other local topics The local coverage which is not related to politics focuses on some culture specific issues which differ in Bulgaria and the UK. Some of the topics in the local Bulgarian news focus on establishing intercultural understanding as they cover some typical Muslim holidays and traditions. An article published in the Bulgarian Dnevnik, is a good, albeit isolated example, as it presents the traditional wedding ritual of Pomaks, including pictures of the bride who is decorated in a very sophisticated way. The article depicts the celebrations with all their significance and hidden meanings. It is interesting because it presents a culture that is generally unknown, as Pomaks comprise a very small part of the population and the coverage on this group is almost negligible. Other topics include the holiday called Ashure (2 articles in total), with its traditional dishes and significance, Ifthar (or Fatoor) – the evening meal that marks the end of the holiday of Ramadan62 for Muslims (3 articles), Bayram (2 articles), the ways to pray Namaz (or Salah) (1 article). The tone of all articles presenting typical Muslim holidays and rituals, similar to the observations made by Dobreva (2009c), is neutral and the main function is to explain the main significance of the holiday in a way that is easy to understand by the readership. At the same time, these articles invariably feature the typical Turkish or Arab names of the holidays or the different dishes, rituals, sometimes even utensils, which are diligently explained in Bulgarian as well. As stated above, such articles contribute to the familiarization with the cultural Other and bring the general reader who is traditionally ethnic Bulgarian closer to the lifestyle of the Bulgarian Muslims. The end of Ramadan has been reflected on in the British The Independent as well. However, that is the only holiday in common that the Bulgarian and the British newspapers present. 62


In addition, the small corpus provides a feature on burka, scarf, chador, niquab and veil accompanied with various pictures in order to explain the difference between them. The publication of the latter article has been prompted by the ban on scarves and the articles on the increased number of girls, especially in some villages who started covering their heads. A similar informative article is published in the British small corpus as well, mostly in order to disambiguate the dress item in the minds of common Britons. There is also a group of articles (42 in total) in the analysed Bulgarian newspapers, which describe the peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims in various villages and towns in Bulgaria. The characteristic feature of these articles is that they usually include the words of both the Bulgarian Christians and the Bulgarian Muslims who state that they have been living in peace and understanding from time immemorial. The Christians alongside the Muslims celebrate St. George’s Day and Hidirlez, Bayram, and even Epiphany when Muslims also jump in the icy waters of the rivers to catch the cross so they are healthy and strong throughout the year. Such publications are usually accompanied by visuals which show all people sitting, eating, drinking and talking together and even dancing horo (a traditional Bulgarian folk dance). In addition to the holidays people celebrate together, there are reports of some churches and mosques sharing the same ground or being built in close proximity. There are also publications on Christians and Muslims visiting together places regarded holy and using one and the same water springs believed to have healing properties. Publications of this kind fall within the description of the open views on Islam as presented by Runnymede Trust (1997) based on which “Islam [is] seen as distinctively different, but not deficient, and as equally worthy of respect”. There are also a number of articles on the cases of Islamophobia (8 articles) such as the desecration of a mosque with indecent writings and abusive language aimed at Muslims, or throwing pig trotters at the mosque. These usually occurred after a terrorist act has been reported, after the debates on the news in Turkish, or on the National Day of Bulgaria on March 3rd. The general tone of the articles of this kind is generally neutral and their function is mostly to inform. The interviews or the opinions of the people presented in those news show sympathy to the victims, or in the cases when they are the voices of the victims, they usually 76

express their surprise of the acts witnessed as Muslims have coexisted peacefully with the Christians for a long time. Three articles dealing with the closing of a religious school in Kurdzhali and another 10 articles dealing with the protest of local people over the transformation of a mosque (Kurshum mosque) into a museum comprise this group of articles. The focus of the visuals that accompany these articles is on the places in question which do not look strange or different from the regular buildings. A topic that received considerable attention in the Bulgarian media in the period when the bigger corpus was compiled was the topic of the 14 imams from Pazardzhik who were convicted of spreading radical Islam and supporting ISIS (147 articles in total). Terrorism in general is a topic that enjoys a lot of attention as it easily creates panic and shatters society. In this particular case, the topic has been in the media focus for quite some time. The main imam who was accused – Ahmed Mussa Ahmed, has been in the limelight ever since 2005 when he was first reported as supporting a forbidden Islamic foundation. The articles in this group are worth mentioning because the location and the ethnic group subjected to radicalisation are different than what has usually been expected. Rather than focusing on the Bulgarian Muslims, the articles on radical Islam in the Bulgarian context are located in the Roma neighbourhoods of Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Smolyan and some other towns. Due to the support, the sense of unity and solidarity that exist within the community of the Bulgarian Muslims, as well as based on the fact that they have a political representation, therefore have people who stand for their interests, the ethnic group that fits the profile of subjects susceptible to radicalisation are the Bulgarian Roma (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2016a). The reason for this is the high illiteracy, poverty and misery associated with the group. In addition, it is known that in times of election, Roma are the group most susceptible to bribes and selling their votes. Furthermore, the members of the group frequently change their religious adherence. They follow the religion that pays the most. Converting or choosing Islam over other religions gives them prestige and higher status in society63. The imams Minkov (2004: 14-15) quotes two reasons for a person or a group of people to undertake conversion: 1) if conversion meets the converts’ expectations in terms of their worldly rather than spiritual reasons; 2) if this will improve their status. Both reasons find a fertile soil in the community of the Roma in Bulgaria. 63


accused of spreading radical literature started translating texts from Arabic, set up their own mosques and changed their clothing to fit the dress code associated with the terrorist: wearing a Salafi beard, Arabic clothes (usually white), women wearing burkas or headscarves (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2015, 2017c). For the first time in publications on radical Islam in Bulgaria the focus of attention is drawn to the only woman in the group – Aleksandrina Angelova (Melikshen/Merikshen – the two spellings are used in the different newspapers). She is presented as wearing a headscarf and the media use titles such as [9] Радикалната Мерикшен: Разкриха защо и студентка е обвинена за пропагандиране на Ислямска държава /h/(‘The Radical Merikshen: The reason why a student was also accused for the propaganda related to the Islamic State has also been revealed’ – Trud/04.12.2014).

In addition, she was described as “the brain of the group” (see [160]) as she was the one to translate the radical literature. This is significant as women’s voices as stated by Poole (2002), rarely get heard in the media. It is a generally held notion that Islam does not regard women as equal to men, so putting a woman to the foreground is a notable exception to the accepted rule. The wife of the convicted imam as well as his mother were also interviewed and mentioned in the articles. They voiced their own opinion on the trial. Similar to the articles on converts, which are reviewed in a separate section below, the articles on Mussa invariably feature the story of his background, his life and the time when he converted to Islam and the traits of character that have changed as a result of his radicalisation. In contrast to the general lot of publications on converts, however, the change mentioned in Mussa is positive – he is described as more caring for his family and calmer, while also contributing positively to the whole community as his teachings are reported to have reduced crime in the neighbourhood and to have made men stop drinking and smoking. Still, the narrative about Mussa features a detail that is frequently mentioned in orientalist discourse and is nowadays used as a defining characteristic of terrorism and terrorists – insanity. Mussa himself has stated that he suffered from schizophrenia when he was younger, something confirmed by his mother as well. He said though that he was cured by Islam – a fact 78

that sounds strange and has been commented on by specialists who express the opinion that so far there have been no proofs of such a cure. In addition, the other person who received somewhat more special attention – Merikshen, is reportedly suffering from Graves’ disease and although she fainted in court during the trial, she is not reported to have experienced any other problems while being part of the radical group. The coverage of the trial for radical Islam whose focus is on Ahmed Mussa is accompanied by various pictures which can be divided into two main groups – places and perpetrators and members of their families. The places shown in the non-verbal element usually depict the mosque where Mussa preached and the court where the trial took place. These two scenes do not provoke nor provide additional information to the verbal element. The second group includes mostly pictures of Mussa alone or with his followers, of people of the Roma quarter in Pazardzhik, as well as of Merikshen and Mussa’s mother. While Mussa’s pictures capture either him in full size or only his head, those of his mother and Merikshen are focused only on their heads. They never stare directly into the camera and are usually wearing a burka. Thus, the focus is always on their sideways look and the dress item which clearly states their religious adherence. The burka is not typical for the Bulgarian Muslim women but was something that was introduced under the influence of Arabic preaching; it is a piece of clothing associated with radicalism and radicalisation. In the pictures of Mussa, the characteristics suggesting Mussa’s radicalisation are his beard (actually all his followers, who were also apprehended are presented in the pictures as wearing beards of a similar kind) and his trousers which are of the looser Arab fit. Sometimes he is pictured with the white clothes usually associated with the Arabic imams. Thus, the focus of all photos used in the articles is on the characteristics associated with radicalisation. The apprehension and the trial that followed started the debate of how vulnerable Bulgaria is to radical influences and who the possible victims of radical preachers are. Headlines such as [10] 15 000 роми приеха исляма в Пазарджик. Вече не крадат, но децата им не искат да учат /h/ (‘11 500 Roma in Pazardzhik converted to Islam. They no longer steal but their children do not want to study’ – 24ch/11.11.2014) as well as [11] Необходим е комплексен и сериозен подход, който да обърне внимание на цъкащите в гетата бомби (‘A compex and a serious 79

approach is needed to address the issue of the bombs ticking in the ghettoes’ – St/05.04.15) and [12] Гетата като бурета с барут /h/ (‘Ghettoes Like Powder Kegs’ – St/01.04.15) show the scope and the danger of the process that has started. In addition, statements such as: [13] Интеграция или тероризъм: Радикалният ислям ще посее семена у нас не сред бежанците, а сред ромите /h/ […] В България нямаме милионно население от азиатски или северноафрикански произход, изповядващо исляма за разлика от западноевропейските държави. Бежанците от Сирия, Ирак и Афганистан, които влизат у нас, са устремени към Западна Европа и много малка част от тях ще станат български граждани. Имаме обаче едно малцинство, което е много по-маргинализирано от британските пакистанци или французите от Магреба. Това са ромите, които живеят по нашите ширини може би още от ХI-ХII век. […] Не е ясно колко от тях са наистина извън системата, но е факт, че радикалният ислям вече е сред тях, като замества липсващата интеграция. (‘Integration or Terrorism: The place where the radical Islam will sow its seeds here is not among the refugees, but among the Roma /h/ […] In contrast to the western countries, in Bulgaria we do not have a million strong population of Asian or NorthAfrican origin professing Islam. The refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who enter our country head for Western Europe and very few of them would become Bulgarian citizens. There is, however, a minority which is much more marginalized than the British Pakistani or the French from Maghreb. It is the Roma who have lived in the area ever since the 11th-12th c. […] It is not clear how many of them are really outside the system, but it is a fact that radical Islam is already among them substituting the missing integration.’ – St/24.02.2015).

The comparison between the UK and the population there viewed as most susceptible to radical influences, with the Bulgarian Roma shows how the same phenomenon can exist in different contexts should it find the necessary favourable conditions for its development: both the South Asians in the UK and the Roma in Bulgaria feel dispossessed due to low integration and fewer opportunities for personal development and fulfillment. In addition, the Bulgarian Roma are easily excited and are known for their easily inflammable temper that is usually the cause of frictions among the Roma and the Bulgarians as well as among the Roma themselves. Ahmed Mussa is a part of that community; therefore, it can be assumed that he also has the characteristics usually ascribed to that group, i.e. being generally lazy, unscrupulous, ready to do anything he gets paid for, among others (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2009, 2012). The


threat that the activity of Mussa poses for the society is further analysed in: [14] Бившият мюфтия на София: ИДИЛ вече знае за Ахмед Муса /h/ […] Според него след акцията на ДАНС в Пазарджик „Ислямска държава” вече знае, че в България има Ахмед Муса, който се е ангажирал да наема бойци за тях. „Политиците разиграха този фарс”, коментира Али Хайредин и подчерта: „Мюсюлманин не се става с брада или облекло, мюсюлманин се става със сърце”. (‘The former Mufti of Sofia: ISIL is already informed about Ahmed Mussa /h/ […] According to him, following the SANS action in Pazardzhik, Islamic State already knows that Ahmed Mussa in Bulgaria has committed himself to hiring fighters for them. “This whole farce was a political game,” said Ali Hayredin and stressed that: “One does not become a Muslim by growing a beard or wearing a specific attire, one becomes a Muslim with his/her heart” – 24ch/29.11.2014).

The mere mentioning of the Islamic State is enough to create panic and suggest the scope of the threat for the country which has so far been spared from any significant terrorist acts. The example is also suggestive of the fact that there is a process of radicalisation going on. Along with the number of converts reported in [10] and the fact that the Roma population in Bulgaria is around 800 000 the threat reaches enormous proportions. It is further on fanned by the media through the use of intertextual references eliciting the debates that ensued after the apprehension of Mussa. The Roma ghettoes have been described as “ticking bombs” as well as [15] Гета с часовников механизъм /h/(‘Clockwork Gettoes’ – St/26.11.2014) which on the one hand, hints at the threat lurking in the ghettoes, while on the other intertextually refers to Burgess’ novel Clockwork Orange and the manipulative nature of the Roma, who if directed in such a way, are capable of violence and even terrorist activities as they fit the profile of easily manipulable masses of people (CheshmedzhievaStoycheva 2017c). In addition to the articles discussing radicalisation in Bulgaria, there are also 9 articles that report on the capturing of foreigners who are assumed to be spreading radicalisation. Four of them deal with the capturing and the trial of the Haitian Fritz Julie Joakchen on the TurkishBulgarian border. Joakchen was considered a member of the same terrorist cell as the brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi who along with Amedi Coulibaly were responsible for the Charlie Hebdo shooting. The rest of the articles featured reports on other wanted terrorists caught in Bulgaria 81

and transported to Spain or Brazil for a trial. These articles in a way support the statements that radicalisation is going on in the country and that it truly poses an imminent threat. The focus of the local British news is mostly on British converts and the problems of home-grown terrorists64 (52 articles in total, of which 11 articles are on women who have left the island to join ISIS). These articles comprise the biggest group of publications on matters related to the British social life65. The articles are usually framed in a similar way: they feature pictures of the converts which might show the way they looked before they grew the typical beards as well as pictures which invariably feature the images of the converts after they joined the terrorist group. In the pictures depicting their terrorist life, the converts are shown facing the camera directly, in most of the cases smiling, sometimes holding guns of various kinds, at other times posing with other jihadists. The articles that present general statistics about the total number of converts, do not show separate individuals but rather ISIS related paraphernalia, like the flags or some written books. Another part of the framing of individual converts is a story about their previous life and how normal they were. There is also a group of articles on women who have converted to Islam or have decided to leave the UK and join the ISIS: [16] Young mother who stole her ‘party girl’ twin sister’s passport so she could join ISIS in Syria for a second time is spared jailed so she can be with her young child /h/(DM/31.07.2015); [17] Are schoolgirl jihadi brides in training to be suicide bombers? Woman IS defector says trio are likely to die in Middle East /h/Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana fled the UK in February; ISIS defector taught teenagers how to behave in terror group’s caliphate; The girls ‘will never be allowed home and will likely die in Iraq or Syria’; Report reveals growing influence of UK

In her content analysis Poole (2002) comments on the fact that terrorism is primarily linked with the religion itself rather than with any other factors, as well as on the widely held opinion that people trained abroad come back to the UK to act as “sleepers” (Poole 2002: 10). The latter is also connected with the notion of the “threat within” that was predominant in the press after September 11, 2001 as well as with the legislation necessary to counter it. 65 In her analysis on the British media reporting on Islam, Poole (2002: 64-65) outlines 51 topics which she later on reviews in terms of subtopics and a combination of other references. She states that “[t]he few themes underlying most of the topics examined […] are imbued with negativity and represent Islam as a threat both to internal security and traditional values, as deviant and prone to segregation” (Poole 2002: 66). 64


terror twins Zahra, Salma Halane; Jihadi widows ‘recruit women to war zone and revel in attacks on the West’ /sh/(DM/28.05.2015)

The threat is presented as even more imminent as women and young girls might marry ISIS soldiers and thus contribute to the increase of their army. Apart from that, some of the women leave the country with their children, as in the case of the three sisters from Bradford who left their husbands and their country along with their 9 children to join ISIS. [18] The mothers who took their children to hell and the haunting question: How did nobody realise what they were planning? /h/Khadija, Zohra and Sugra Dawood have gone missing with their children; The sisters, from Bradford, are thought to have fled to Syria to join ISIS; But how did nobody notice the plans of three women with nine children? /sh/(DM/24.07.2015)

In addition to the general concern about women leaving their country and families willingly to join the terrorist group and the contribution they can have to the whole unlawful activity through the production of more soldiers or supplying them with information related to the country, the more worrying question raised in the example itself regards the inability of the authorities or anyone else to understand their intentions. There was nobody who managed to capture them on cameras or to stop them anywhere on their way to Syria. The latter in itself raises questions about the effectiveness of the security and the surveillance measures employed assuring the protection of the general population. It also raises doubts about the stop and search procedures (6 articles in total) executed by the authorities and the way the targets of these acts are selected. The corpus of the local British news features three articles on the same topic. In the cases reported, the checks were unreasonable and did not prove useful. The measures can sometimes lead to absurdities, such as: [19] The THREE-year-old jihadi: Child is identified as extremism risk by counterterror project /h/(DM/27.07.25015) which in a way increase the panic in society as radicalisation is not something that can be seen or predicted. Apart from the coverage on the women who left the UK to join ISIS, there are reports of British medical students joining the terrorist group (5 articles). Such coverage shows the spread of radicalisation and in a way also refutes the assumption that educated people are “immune” to the process. The focus of such articles is on the threat coming from the enemy within. 83

The threat of further spread of radicalisation and the possibility of new terrorist acts becomes even more imminent when the number of Muslim immigrants entering Europe is added to that of converts. The scare is hyped by the decrease in the age limit of people who join ISIS as well as by the invention of new ways for recruitment involving mostly new technologies. As it is well known, the Internet devices and all types of new programmes and gadgets are very alluring and mostly used by the young generation. Thus, the recruitment process has found new ways of getting to its main victims – teenagers, who because of all the problems of adolescence feel misunderstood, left out, and are generally outcasts. They try to prove themselves, to act as mature people, and find a cause to stand up for. Using the newest technologies for communication, the extremists appeal to youngsters and manage to indoctrinate them. Two of the articles published in The Daily Mail focus on that topic. In addition, in one of the articles the newspaper quotes some of the language exchanged between a victim and a recruiter featuring endearments such as “cutie” and “babe” (DM/27.07.2015) shared between a seventeen and a twenty-one years-old boys. The seventeen year-old one was considering joining the terrorist group. Though the article states that it is not certain whether there was really any intimate relationship between the boys, the publication did state that the boys did feel close. The example is intriguing as Islam does not favour homosexuality and ISIS are said to be especially vicious about such relationships applying sharia law and pushing homosexuals off cliffs and then stoning them in case they survive the fall (see [62] and [63]). Psychologically, however, the language used by the boys, even if it is in a jocular fashion, emphasises the need for the new recruits to feel worthy of attention and that they can relate to someone and find understanding (Haffman 2007; Korteweg et al. 2010). A common feature shared by most of the articles on converts from the British media discourse is the involvement of relatives in the narrative. The latter are usually appalled, apologetic or worried about their close ones and cannot understand the reasons for their choice: [20] ‘I’m ashamed of my son’: Fury of GP father of British medic who recruited young UK students to join ISIS in Syria /h/Mohammed Fakhri Al-Khabass’ father ran a GP practice on Teesside; He said: ‘Our family’s position is one of shame and embarrassment’; 25-year-old grew up in Middlesbrough but went to university in Sudan; He then radicalised other students before persuading them to be IS medics; Al-Khabass believes 84

music and photography are ‘sins that displease Allah’; (DM/17.07.2015)66; [21] Why have you taken our grandchildren to a warzone? ‘Devastated’ parents of Bradford sisters who fled to Syria criticise their daughters’ actions /h/Sisters’ parents are ‘very worried about children... […] /sh/(DM/18.06.2015).

The examples show the pressure Muslims feel from the society as well as the need for them to prove the fact that not all Muslims are the same and that not all of them support ISIS and their radical views. This coincides with the statement made above that Muslims are the victims of their own faith, having to prove their worth all the time and disclaim the assumed vile nature of Islam. The latter is further supported by articles published in the British newspapers that claim that Muslims should be more British (5 articles in total): [22] Muslims in Britain must feel and act more British, says SHIRAZ MAHER /h/David Cameron’s courageous and wide-ranging speech is one of the most significant recent interventions; […] Best weapons for fight against extremism are liberal values of democracy /sh/(DM/21.07.2015); [23] ‘Teach British values in schools’, says head of Ofsted: Sir Michael Wilshaw insists young Muslims ‘need to believe they belong to our society’ /h/Sir Michael Wilshaw says Ofsted will fail schools for not promoting values; Values ‘include tolerance and understanding of other faiths and religions’; Warning comes after three mothers fled to join ISIS with their nine children /sh/(DM/16.06.2015); [24] British Muslim leaders issue fatwa against would-be jihadists /h/Imams reportedly tell Muslims to oppose the promotion of the ‘poisonous ideology’ of Islamic State /sh/(G/21.08.2014).

The difference implicitly stated is between the two cultures that are seen as incompatible and in a way supports the existence of the Orientalist notions even in the minds of the integrated British Muslims who are aware of their difference or at least of their fellow Muslims’ Otherness. The examples also present the notion of incompatibility between the dominant culture and Islam and the lack of British values in the upbringing of third

Structurally, The Daily Mail employs a very specific technique presenting the headline and the subheadlines. It is only in this newspaper that the subheadlines are arranged as bullets that provide the details of the reported event. In this study each time an example from said newspaper is quoted the subheadlines are divided by semicolons for brevity. 66


and fourth generation Muslims who thus remain isolated and feel they do not belong to the British mainstream society. At the same time, the examples propose two ways to fight extremism – education and through the religious leaders, i.e. the imams. The aspect of this “fight” against radicalisation that raises eyebrows is the “punishment” imposed by the imams. The resort to a fatwa brings recollections to the Rushdie affair when the former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie for his “blasphemy”. The surprising aspect is the fact that people who claim to have integrated and acquired British values resort to means which are considered backward and undemocratic. On the other hand, the choice of punishment can be interpreted as using the language jihadists and would-be jihadist can understand. Still, even if that is the intention, the proverb “An eye for an eye” seems outdated in modern societies. In the section on other topics within the British local coverage there are also articles on converts who have decided to return to their home country (5 articles in total). Such articles usually focus on the difficulties returnees face in integrating into their own society and the mistrust they are viewed with. These people are the embodiment of Bhabha’s (1994) inbetween culture and experience what it means to be neither a part of Us nor of Them. Articles of the kind also touch on the topic of Muslim fundamentalism, the latter strengthening the image of Islam as “the political and physical threat within” (Poole 2002: 71). The notion of a threat is further increased by the approximate number of the returnees that are hiding in the UK as well as by the reported number of extremists in the country: [25] As many as 250 British-born Syrian returnees are living in the UK, having previously aligned themselves to the black flag of Isis and been exposed to its extreme Islamist creed. No one seems to know who, or where, they are. Some of them will inevitably be battle-hardened fighters who have carried out barbaric acts. Many could pose a serious threat to national security. Most will be radicalised and living off the radar, worried that, like Begg, they will face criminal charges if they become known to the authorities (In/03.10.2014); [26] 100 extremists a year lecture at universities: Fanatics given a platform to spread hatred of the West despite ministers demanding crackdown on radicalism /h/Last year, there were 123 speeches by extremists at leading universities; Led to more than 20 university students being convicted of terrorism; Many places haven’t participated in Government’s anti86

extremism strategy; University which has had most extremists is Queen Mary, in East London /sh/(DM/30.06.2015); [27] How former mill town Dewsbury in West Yorkshire is linked to more than a dozen Islamist extremists and terrorists including Britain’s youngest suicide bomber /h/More than a dozen terrorists have links to Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire; Talha Asmal, Britain’s youngest suicide bomber, was from the mill town; Mosque attended by 7/7 mastermind Mohammad Sidique Khan and another bomber just minutes away from Talha’s home; Imam says extremists recruit young Muslims using ‘paedophile ring’ tactics /sh/(DM/15.06.2015), see also [84], [85], [86].

As the examples suggest, radicalisation is going on (7 articles in total), unobserved and unnoticed because of its invisibility. The numerical references 250, 100, more than a dozen, modifiers such as “huge numbers”, “more children” encountered in some of the other examples, phrases like in their hundreds along with the repetition suggested through the time adverbial a year and the explicit naming of a proven terrorist Sidique Khan increase the notion of a threat posed by the process. At the same time, rather than looking for appropriate and adequate measures to reduce its spread, the topic is considered a taboo: [28] Western leaders have been treating Islamic extremism like ‘Lord Voldemort’ /h/Counter-extremism expert says the failure to name and shame Islamist ideology for what it is has led to youngsters joining Isis in their hundreds /sh/(In/20.07.15).

As discussed elsewhere (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2016b) the intertextual reference to the Dark Lord brings associations with the fear that wizards in the Harry Potter Series feel of that character because of the dark magic he wields; they do not dare pronounce his name; in addition, he has emissaries and spies everywhere and through them he hurts his enemies. All these features are transferred to Islamic extremism – it is viewed as scary, threatening, invisible and hideous looking, while at the same time, it is also a taboo subject. Another intertextual reference reported in the Bulgarian media likens ISIS to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: [29] „Наши съюзници започнаха да финансират ИД, защото както ще ви кажат хората в региона, ако искаш някой, който ще се бие до смърт срещу Хизбула това са фанатиците, ислямските фундаменталисти. Като Франкенщайн е…”. (‘Our allies started financing IS because as the people from the region will tell you, if you need someone 87

to fight to death against Hezbollah, you need the fanatics, the Islamic fundamentalists. It is like Frankenstein’ – Klassa/30.03.2017).

The interpretations of this example are various. On the one hand, the example inequivocally suggests that only fanatics can defeat another group of fanatics, which establishes a vicious circle of killers trying to surpass other killers. On the other hand, the intertextual reference associates the allies and sponsors of ISIS with Victor, Frankenstein’s creator, who strove for scientific discovery. US allies wanted to stop the Islamic revolution waged by Hezbollah in Lebanon and other Muslim countries, therefore, it can be said that they wanted to do good. However, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Thus, the good intentions of the benefactors turned into a hideous creature that surpassed Hezbollah as it was allegedly composed of Guantanamo convicts and mercenaries known for their cruelty. All this gives the reason for the conclusion in [30] MICHAEL BURLEIGH: It’s when, not if, the extremists hit Britain /h/(DM/26.06.2015) which sounds like a bad omen as the threat seems inevitable. There are, however, seven articles from the British media which comment on the measures taken by authorities to assure the safety of the people after attacks that have happened somewhere else in the world. These safety precautions include iron ring fences to protect Wimbledon tournament which coincided with the anniversary of London 7/7 attack, stopping suspicious people, or investigating suspicious objects. The function of these articles is not so much to add something to the image of Muslims but rather to show common people that something is being done to prevent further atrocities. At the same time, even the fleeting reference to terrorism provokes negative feelings to Muslims which may result in exhibitions of racism and Islamophobia. A very telling example of discrimination provoked by security measures is reported in the small British corpus. A British teacher has been refused entry to the US under Trump’s legislation simply because his name was Muslim. Fourteen articles in the British corpus cover cases of Islamophobia, such as taunts about dress code, forceful removal of the headscarf of a worker at a hotel: [31] Teenager claims she was left ‘crying and shaking’ after managers ordered her to take off her Muslim headscarf while she worked as a waitress at The Savoy /h/(DM/02.07.2015), cases of nimbyism: [32] Villagers’ fury at plans to build 10,000-capacity Islamic burial ground in the heart 88

of the countryside /h/Proposed Langho Natural Burial Ground would be 27acres in Ribble Valley […] /sh/(DM/22.07.2015), unrest at the possibility of turning a chapel in a hospital into a Muslim prayer room, and restrictions on the length and styling of beards at the police force, among others. The accounts of hate crimes range from verbal assaults on public transport (In/18.11.2015), to shouts at Muslim taxi drivers (In/18.11.2015), to women being poured over with alcohol on public transport (G/13.10.2015). The exhibitions of hate crime even extend to individuals who only look Muslim: [33] “Christian Uber driver beaten and threatened by passenger ‘who thought he was Muslim’” /h/(In/17.11.2015) and [34] “I may not be a visible Muslim woman but Islam has definitely become attributed to ‘brown people’, even if they’re not Muslims. We saw this when a Sikh man was accused of being one of the attackers in last week’s attacks” (G/20.11.2015)67. The last example mentions an interesting phenomenon – a kind of colour differentiation based on religious ground. Another cultural marker that gets under Islamophobic attack is the typical Muslim food: [35] ‘Animal lover’ who stuck ‘beware halal funds terrorism’ stickers on chicken products at his local Sainsbury’s is given a month-long curfew /h/Liam Edwards today plead guilty to racially aggravated criminal damage; The 29-year-old entered Sainsbury’s and placed stickers on halal products; His stickers stated: ‘Beware! Halal is barbaric and funds terrorism’; […] /sh/(DM/23.07.2015).

The latter also confirms the fact that anyone and anything that bears characteristics generally attributed to Muslims can be subjected to abuse. The general trend described is of increase between 70% to 300%: [36] Hate crimes against Muslims soar in London /h/816 Islamophobic offences recorded across UK capital – up over 70% on last year – with women wearing veils most vulnerable /sh/(G/07.09.2015) as well as: [37] There has been a 300% increase in reported Islamophobic attacks. A number of Islamic centres, including the Finsbury Park mosque, have been targeted in arson attacks. This is against a backdrop of videos of verbal and physical Islamophobic attacks on public transport – and it is notable that, while people The example confirms an observation made by Poole (2002) who states that as a result of the negative reporting the umbrella term Muslim is seen to cover a lot more ethnic groups, including Sikh and Arabs, who have been attacked both in the UK and the USA under the understanding that they are Muslim. 67


are happy to film these incidents, few appear keen to step in and assist (G/01.12.2015).

In addition to simply mentioning the increase in such abuse, the examples also spell out the most vulnerable Muslim group – Muslim women who show their religion visibly. Another topic that has also been discussed in the British media is related to religious education and the existence of Muslims only schools in the UK (7 articles). The topic is also viewed through the prism of the invisible threat posed by the teachings provided in those schools mostly due to the fact that their funding and governance are not always transparent. Thus, the schools are perceived as channels for the infiltration of radical ideas and are therefore viewed with suspicion and considered a threat. British articles from the small corpus focus on the Westminster attack (15 articles in total) which happened on 22 March 2018. The accounts of the attack, along with the information on the attacker – Khalid Masood, the way the attack was carried out, the possible reasons for it, as well as the casualties involved, are also followed by the initiatives undertaken by Muslim women of different backgrounds who stood up holding hands on the Westminster Bridge in defiance of presentations that tarred all Muslims with the same brush (5 articles in total). The attack provoked reflections on the nature of Islam and whether it is the religion or personal inclinations that are to be blamed for atrocities like that one. Based on the background of the attacker the incident was once again viewed as a homegrown terrorist act. In addition to the information on the attacker and his life before the incident, there are also various analyses on the attack itself, opinions of people who knew the attacker, descriptions of his previous life, which show him as: “a charming, friendly and professional employee” (G/28.03.2017) which is a strategy characteristic of the framing of most reports on terrorist attackers. The reports on the attacker are also followed by an array of analyses, most of them published in The Guardian: [38] The Guardian view on religion and violence: context is everything /h/There are no religions that are entirely pacifist because there are no societies entirely free of conflict. What matters is how the holy books are read /l/(G/26.03.2017); [39] Exploring the links between religion and violence /h/(G/27.03.2017); [40] Should we blame Islam for terrorism? 90

/h/(G/27.03.2017); [41] What do many lone attackers have in common? Domestic violence /h/Desperate attempts to profile Khalid Masood after the Westminster attacks blame Islam, Kent or even drunk teenagers, but the common thread in terrorism is often misogyny /l/(G/28.03.2017).

The examples clearly show the inclination to a more liberal reading of the whole event. It is done from a more personal perspective and an attempt is made to refrain from labelling and tarring a religion. The trend observed in the sequence of headlines presented, though, shows a desire to account for what has happened through the nature of a culture which is again running into the vicious circle of religion (Islam) being part of a culture and culture being part of a religion and as such being determined by it. There are also four articles which focus on the reaction of a Muslim woman captured on camera minutes after the Westminster attack. The speculations on the visual, which presented a woman talking on her phone passing by the victims left lying on the bridge after the attack, clearly showed the negativism that Muslims in the UK frequently encounter. The opinions ranged from openly hostile: accusing the woman of callousness, insensitivity and unwillingness to help, to such trying to protect her and find the reason behind her actions. The speculations provoked various reactions which proved the influential nature of both media presentations and the use of visuals in this case. As it turned out, the woman was scared having closely escaped the attack, and was just frantically trying to get through to her relatives to tell them of her state as well as to inquire about theirs. This plainly shows how people easily jump into conclusions based on the limited information included as explanation to a non-verbal element. However, had the woman been visibly British, the comments might have been of a different nature, which in its turn speaks of the prejudices and stereotypes which are rife in people’s minds. The small corpus of local news also features seven articles on the accusations faced by a Muslim woman on having sex with a minor. The article is accompanied with the picture of the woman who is presented as 36 years-old by The Mirror, while as 38 by The Daily Mail. The school-boy abused is described as 14 years-old and the act as “sex” in The Mirror, while “full sex” in The Daily Mail. The Mirror then clarifies that the [42] “Quran tutor also allegedly kissed the child – who cannot be named 91

– on multiple occasions when she didn’t believe he was 16 or over” (Mirror/29.03.2017). The presentation connotes the idea of Muslim women as seductresses and at the same time again hints at the warped nature of a religion that allows for marriages with minors – a topic discussed within this group of articles as well. The fact that the woman was described as Qur’an teacher provokes the assumptions that she would follow the teachings of the surahs. At the same time, being a teacher at a school implies that she has some status, has managed to integrate into the mainstream society and would refrain from any actions considered degrading to one’s authority. Instead, the feeling left is that even the educated people who follow Islam are like that. The focus of the nonverbal element is on the niquab the woman wears, which hints at the clandestine nature of Muslim women as no one but their husbands know their true appearance. Articles like these touch on the Clash of Civilisations notion and the incompatibility between Muslim values and the ideas of democratic societies. The problems of marriages with minors have been discussed primarily in articles on immigrants and their integration in society as well as in terms of women protection. The issue is not limited only to the British context but has been viewed within German and French contexts, mostly due to the big number of immigrants and refugees headed to these countries. There is, however, a group of seven articles that discuss Muslim lifestyle in general. In addition to the typical roles of men and women in the Muslim family that the articles analyse, there are such touching on polygamous marriages as well as on forced marriage: [43] Forced marriage: How hundreds of terrified British victims of the tradition are being failed every year by the services they need most /h/Exclusive: In a year there has been just one prosecution for the practice /sh/As millions of schoolchildren across England and Wales break up for the summer over the coming days, a few hundred, the vast majority girls, are full of dread. These are the victims of forced marriage, a tradition that is spreading across the country, and spreading fear in its wake /l/(In/17.07.2015); [44] There is no room for cultural sensitivity where forced marriage is concerned /h/Muslim women are the most at risk, and that cannot be ignored /sh/(In/22.07.2015).


The articles of this type focus first on the fact that the tradition is incompatible with British values, presenting it as outdated and barbaric as it deprives people of their freedom to choose their own lives. In addition, the tradition is feared by the young girls born into it, although there are no personal accounts presented in the articles to support that claim. The interesting approach in the presentation of the issue is the use of the ethnonym British in [43] to denote the girls, victims of the tradition. Rather than using the religious marker and presenting them as the cultural Other, the journalists have chosen to use a marker that would position Muslim girls within the positive side of the dichotomy as part of Us, the modern society. In addition, in example [44] the religious marker is used in order to activate the frame of the oppressed Muslim woman who needs to be rescued by the West68. The problem with the forced or arranged marriage and the honour killings sometimes resulting from it, leads to another very big issue, which is also extensively discussed in the UK. The grooming of young girls is a very heated subtopic that is in the focus of the British media: [45] Police withheld bombshell report revealing how gangs of Muslim men were grooming more than 100 schoolgirls as young as 13 in case it inflamed racial tensions ahead of General Election /h/[…] It says 100 mainly white children were at serious risk of being groomed; Report says perpetrators were all Asian, which could cause tension locally; […] /sh/[…] Police pinpointed 75 grooming suspects – most with a history of sexual violence – with most being from a Muslim background from Birmingham (DM/25.06.2015).

The problem of grooming in the UK is viewed as a problem of cultural specificity which has resulted from the tradition of arranged marriages and their oppressive nature. The fact that the religious marker and the ethnonym are used interchangeably further strengthens the association between this major group of Muslims and the criminal act. Thus, the whole group is criminalised and their religion, as the problem is presented as pertaining to Islam, is presented as illegal and immoral. The Guardian has tried to stand up against the denigrating trend visible in most of the publications by stating that:

The seterotype of the Muslim woman presented in the Bulgarian and the British media is reviewed in greater detail in Chaper Seven. 68


[46] In the media, using Islam or Muslims as descriptive terms when referring to criminals remains all too common, even in cases where faith has little or nothing to do with the crime. The Times ran a front-page story in March with the provocative headline “Call for national debate on Muslim sex grooming”. There is nothing in Islam that could justify such heinous acts, and none of those involved in this particular crime cited Islam as their motive. So why was this story headlined in this way when articles about other cases of paedophilia made no mention of the perpetrators’ faith or ethnicity? (G/23.09.2015).

Despite the calls for a distinction to be made between a psychiatric disorder and the preaching of a religion, the equation between the two, as explicitly stated, is provocative and intentional serving the purposes of those who are willing to increase the rift between European values and Muslims. The attempts at clarifying the issue and paining a different image of the whole religious community are very few and insufficient to change the general flow of presentation. At the same time, there is another trend that is observed in the publications of the kind. References to grooming are no longer associated only with the activities carried out by Muslim men who are not sexually satisfied, but also as a synonym of radical indoctrination and its victims, who are boys and girls alike: [47] Safia Shahid offers “a message to my sisters”, warning young women about the dangers of grooming after the disappearance of several teenage girls, such as the 15-year-old friends from Bethnal Green Academy now believed to be married to Isis men in Syria (G/08.10.2015); [48] The ‘sweet natured, friendly kid’ was reportedly killed after detonating a car packed with explosives as part of an Islamic State attack in Iraq after being groomed online by ISIS fanatics. Talha’s distraught family said last night that jihadis used the internet to exploit the A-level student’s naivety in a process of ‘deliberate and calculated grooming’ (DM/14.06.2015).

With the increased prominence of ISIS and the rise in the number of converts leaving to join them, the semantic field of the verb “(of a paedophile) prepare (a child) for a meeting, especially via an Internet chat room, with the intention of committing a sexual offence” (EOLD) is broadened and becomes more generic, predominantly associated with the idea of preparation and training for “a particular purpose or activity” (EOLD). Thus, it is used as a synonym of to recruit and to radicalise. 94

Similar to the Bulgarian corpus of articles on Muslims, the British one features a group of publications on Muslim customs and traditions (13 articles in total). The articles generally present some of the typical and biggest holidays for Muslims, such as Eid Mubarak. In addition, as a significant part of religion, there are 5 articles on the world’s oldest Qur’an found in the UK in the University of Birmingham. The articles on Muslim culture and traditions both in Bulgarian and English contribute to the achievement of cultural awareness by explaining the meaning of various Arabic words denoting Muslim institutions or religious figures, e.g. Grand Mufti, the Chief Mufti, attire, e.g. niquab69 – ‘dress covering the whole body’ (Dn/16.01.2015), burka ‘full face veil’ (In/13.01.2015), hijab – ‘headscarf’ (Dn/12.01.2015; Dn/13.01.2015), military lexis, e.g. jihad – ‘protecting yourself when someone is attacking you’ (In/01.01.2015), interpretation of religious terms, starting with Islam – ‘Islam means peace’, Wahhabism – “the Saudi version of the religion – and its kin, Salafism”, sharia – ‘Islamic law’, “the road that brings the devout Muslim closer to God” (Dn/29.01.2015; In/23.01.2015), the hajj (In/23.01.2015); kufirs – ‘non-believers’, “Rafdi” – ‘a pejorative term for Shias used by Sunnis’ (In/15.12.2014), Eid al-Fitr, among others mentioned above. The use of specific lexis is an act of tolerance towards Muslims and an exhibition of the attempt of the non-Muslim majority to understand their culture and show acknowledgement and appreciation for it. It also fosters the sense of inclusion, the feeling that Muslims are a true part of the society they comprise. The small corpus also features articles on Muslim traditions, such as henna paintings and nail art and the entrepreneurial spirit of a Muslim woman who has managed to turn tradition into art and a business undertaking which has turned profitable. In addition to this article on the successful Muslim woman, the short corpus introduces readers to a list of the top ten most beautiful Muslim bloggers, which is a change in the general trend of predominantly negative, male-dominated presentation of Muslims. As the journalist who has written the article states: [49] It’s no secret that there has been (and still is) a lack of diversity within the fashion and beauty industries, but with the recent debut of Halima Aden, the As the lexemes used in the Bulgarian and the English articles are the same, only the English versions and explanations are presented here for brevity. 69


first hijab-wearing supermodel, the upcoming Nike hijab collection and the army of aspiring Muslim make-up artists and stylists growing a huge following, things are moving in the right direction (GlamourMagazine/31.03.2017).

There is an obvious change of the general trend led not only by Halima Aden, but also by celebrities (12 articles in total) such as Bella Hadid and political figures, such as Baroness Warsi. All these Muslim women are not afraid to profess their religion openly and thus be a positive role model for other women of the same religion: [50] “I’m proud to be a Muslim” Bella Hadid opens up about her Islamic faith /h/ The supermodel and her siblings are half Dutch, half Palestinian /sh/ Supermodel publicly discusses her religion for the first time /sh/(In/04.04.2017).

The corpus also features an article on a pregnant Muslim rap musician who flaunts her belly and wears a hijab on TV, on two Muslim friends who have decided to set up comedy series, on Nura Afia, the first Muslim face of a mass cosmetics brand, as well as the stylist and designer Nailah Lymus who founded Underwraps. As Lymus states [51] People are finally looking at us as beautiful women... I think it’s the responsibility of those who have social presence or time in the limelight to give more information and speak to the beauty of the religion. We’re getting attention, and it’s important we try to dismiss or break down negative associations [around] Muslim women (Refinery29/27.03.2017).

The accounts of successful Muslim women do not end there. Another article [52] Muslim women hit back at racist stereotypes with #CanYouHearUsNow hashtag /h/(Stylist/04.08.2016) introduces to its readers Muslim women like Dalia Fahmi – a politics professor; Stephanie Kurlow – a woman who has the ambition to become the First Muslim Hijabi Ballerina; Taz Ahmed; Noor Wazwaz – a journalist; Marriam Durani – a single mother with a doctoral degree who works as an education researcher at Harvard; Rabia Chaudri who trains young peace activists on effective advocacy – so all remarkable Muslim women who have proven that they have accomplished a lot not by staying silent as is generally believed but through taking their stand, being very brave to defy the existing stereotypes and stand their ground. These articles on prominent Muslim women disprove Said’s (1979) statement that one of the main features of modern Orientalism is the fact that Muslims are not 96

able to represent themselves but need “credible mediators” to speak on their behalf. Despite the examples of emancipated Muslim women who try to break the stereotype, which is a new trend in the framing of Muslims in the media, traditions and patriarchal conservative views are still rife in the community: [53] Muslim gymnast is criticised by religious leaders for wearing a ‘revealing’ leotard during her double-gold victory /h/Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, 21, won six medals, including two golds, at games; She was then attacked by Muslim clerics for wearing a leotard in the event; However tens of thousands of fans have shown support for her online; Sport minister suggested that male spectators should avert their eyes ‘if they cannot contain themselves’ /sh/(DM/17.06.2015).

At the same time, the example shows the positive attitude of the rest of the society toward the girl and the acknowledgement of her achievements. Generally, the example confirms the fact that if a person has proven him/herself and if he/she has contributed to the fame of the society and has managed to integrate in that same society, differences in religious adherence, language, traditions, etc. do not matter. The more the Other resembles the Self, the more accepted and recognised he/she is. There are other Muslim voices that can be “heard” coming from the articles on the British Muslims such as the football player Fredi Kanouté, Britain’s Muslim oarsman Moe Sbihi, the master chef Nadiya as well as Muslim journalists, like Aftab Ali, who through their articles make their voices heard. All these contribute to the positive image of the Muslim community and break the stereotype of non-Muslims talking about Muslims. INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE In terms of international events, there are some similarities as well as differences in the topics covered by the Bulgarian and the British media. Some of the main events that have shaken the world at the time of the study and which cannot remain hidden from public attention are indubitably the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the various other attacks ISIS have committed.


Most of the articles comprising the international coverage section are presented as news thereby focusing on the truthfulness of presentation and informativity as well as aiming at reaching a wider audience and assisting in the development of the mass media reality (Dobreva 2011a). There are, however, some interviews and analyses especially in terms of personal feelings and emotions presented. Based on the proximity principle there are some international events that are covered only by the Bulgarian media, such as some reports on the commemoration of the tragic events that took place in Srebrenitsa in 1995 when Ratko Mladich killed 9000 people (25 articles in total). In addition to the reiteration and clarification of the events that stand behind the toponym, the articles focus on the way common people reacted and the opinion of some political leaders who denounced the cruelty and the ferocity of the act. Another prominent topic which was covered predominantly by the Bulgarian media is Turkey’s stand on its EU accession, on the Armenian genocide, the immigration crisis as well as on their fight with ISIS, the Kurdish attacks and the most recent 2017 military strategy against ISIS, called the Operation Euphrates Shield (a total of 60 articles). These articles in their majority feature the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as well as 2015 Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and the names of the two politicians are usually foregrounded in the headlines of the related publications. The events in Turkey are of significance to Bulgaria first, because both countries share a border and second, due to the fact that Turkey is the last stop for refugees as well as terrorists entering Bulgaria and the continent. In addition, as stated at the beginning, a big part of the Bulgarian Muslims are descendants of Turks from Turkey and the influence of the Asian country on the Bulgarian politics has been subject to various debates. Suspicion and distrust accompany Turkey’s expressed desire to join the EU. The Western countries accuse the Turkish President of an authoritarian type of government, abuse of human rights, lack of freedom of expression due to the halting of various journalists and academics, oppression of women, among others. Erdogan, aware of his significance, though, is similarly aggressive and provocative when addressing the European countries: 98

[54] Ердоган: Западните страни се държат двулично /h/(‘Erdoğan: The Western countries show hypocrisy’ – 24ch/13.01.2015); [55] Ердоган с ултиматум към ЕС /h/[…] Относно еврочленството на Анкара Ердоган каза: “Ние проверяваме Европа. Ще може ли Европа да приеме и да включи в редовете си Турция, чието население е мюсюлманско? Ако сте срещу ислямофобията, вие трябва да приемете Турция в ЕС, каза той по адрес на Брюксел”. (‘Erdoğan with an ultimatum to the EU /h/[…] Regarding Ankara’s membership into the EU, Erdogan stated: “We are testing Europe. Would Europe be able to accept and include in its ranks Turkey, whose population is Muslim? If you are against Islamophobia, you should accede Turkey to the EU” he said addressing Brussels – 24ch/24.01.2015); [56] Давутоглу: Няма да се молим на Европа, ислямът е основна религия /h/[…] “Ние ще станем част от Европа. И знаете ли защо? Турция извън Европа – това би бил сериозен пропуск. Поважното е, че ние ще продължим пътя си към Европа заради всички 45 милиона мюсюлмани в страните от ЕС, които представляват нашата религия, език и култура. С тях ние ще се интегрираме в ЕС и това със сигурност ще стане един ден. Но няма да се молим, няма да просим, нито ще искаме специални привилегии, напротив, ще влезем в ЕС с вдигната глава и чест. С нашите религия, език и обичаи ще влезем в ЕС и това е сигурно” […] (‘Davutoğlu: We would not beg Europe; Islam is a major religion /h/[…] “We will become a part of Europe. And do you know why? If Turkey is not included in Europe, it will be a serious omission. The most important thing is that we will continue our way to Europe for all the 45 million Muslims in the countries of the EU who represent our religion, language and culture. Together with them we will integrate in the EU and that will certainly be a fact one day. But we will not beg, we will not plead, nor would we ask for special privileges, on the contrary, we will enter the EU with our heads up high and with honour. We will enter the EU with our religion, language and customs and that’s for sure” 24ch/24.01.2015).

The decisiveness and self-confidence expressed by the head of the Turkish Republic and his supporters are evident. Their resolution at the same time is threatening as they hint on possible union and the existing links between Turks all over Europe. Both Erdoğan and Davutoğlu speak openly of the power the Turkish Muslim population in Europe has and they instill cultural pride, a sense of unity, as well as the notion of belonging to a common homeland that supports and fends for them. The numbers Erdoğan and Davutoğlu quote and the association that exists between Islam and politics, hint on the manipulability of such big masses of people scattered all over Europe and the power they might have if stirred in a 99

specific direction. This becomes particularly threatening bearing in mind the support Ankara provides for the Islamic religious organisations in Europe thus holding the Turkish diaspora under Turkey’s influence. As stated in two successive articles published on the Bulgarian online platform EkipNews on March 28 and March 29, 2017 [57] Международната мрежа от мюсюлмански религиозни агенти на Ердоган (част 1) /h/(‘The international network of Muslim religious agents of Erdoğan’s (part I)’ – EkipNews/28.03.2017), the network of mosques and imams in Europe stir the diaspora into the direction that their President wants them to and provoke in the rest of the European population the weariness of spies acting on behalf of Turkey in the midst of Europe. The articles also mention the Şehitlik Mosque in Berlin and its activity in recruiting Germans of Turkish origin to be sent to Turkey to be educated and then infiltrated the schools in Germany and to teach there. The whole presentation falls within the recruitment/radicalisation frame and thus provokes fear and concern. Turkey’s acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide, or at least of the multitude of Armenian victims during WWI, is another topic that the Bulgarian media discuss, albeit on a smaller scale (5 articles in total). This has been an issue, however, related to Turkey’s ambitions of joining the EU and thus marks a positive development as up until recently they have denied the existence of Armenian genocide during the First World War stating that many Turks were killed at that time as well. Other international topics that have been reported by the Bulgarian media include the death of the Russian member of the opposition Boris Nemtsov (4 articles), various attacks committed in most of the cases by Muslims, such as the attack in Sydney, where a Muslim held 17 people hostages in Lindt Café (3 articles), the attacks in Turkey (1 article), in the Philippines (1 article), in Nigeria (2 articles), Kenya (4 articles), Belgium (2 articles), Germany (1 article), Copenhagen (1 article), China (1 article), Pakistan (1 article), Turkey (1 article), Dallas (2 articles), London (2 articles), Tunis (5 articles), France (2 articles), or thus the total number of articles on various attacks happening all over the world in 2014-2015 amounts to 29 which focus on the extended geography of these acts of terrorism. The small corpus adds to these the attack on Westminster presented in 3 other articles, thus showing the continuation of these acts to this day. In addition, there are also 2 articles on the German pilot who 100

crashed a plane, killing all its passengers. The latter stress on the fact that mass killings are not only a prerequisite of Muslims but that Christians are also capable of atrocities, however, such atrocities are not presented by using the terrorism frame. A group of 21 articles in the British media focus on cases of Islamophobia, such as PEGIDA rallies in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany (8 articles), the organised movement for churches to be converted into mosques in France (4 articles), the clashes between Muslims and Christians on the boats filled with immigrants (7 articles). All these articles stress on the incompatibility between the two religions or at least on the irreconcilability between the people who profess them. The tone of presentation is neutral; however, the explicit use of the dichotomy Christianity – Islam and the fact that it is Muslims who commit acts of oppression against Christians is enough to provoke negative associations. The biggest part of the corpus of international news in both Bulgarian and English is comprised of articles related to acts of terrorism committed by ISIS/ISIL (245 articles in total in Bulgarian and 281 articles in total in English). This general group of articles consists of coverage on ISIS activities, training of ISIS soldiers, on the members of the terrorist group, women living under ISIS, and the group’s general ideology. The Bulgarian and the British media show similarity in their coverage on this particular topic. Similar to Poole’s (2002: 152-153) observations on the depiction of the image of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and the association established between the name of the person and any conceivable act of terrorism, the corpus of this study features the same connection and explicit acknowledgement of ISIS’/ISIL’s involvement in any act of terror that has happened anywhere in the world. This in itself maintains the threat of Muslim terrorism and the idea of an impending enemy attack. The reporting on the networks existing between the terrorists along with the extensive coverage of the aforementioned attacks happening worldwide create the image of a global terrorist organisation to which virtually everyone and anyone could belong. This generalised image of an all encompassing terrorism stresses the fact that nobody is safe: [58] “Ислямска държава” зове всички мюсюлмани на оръжие /h/(‘Islamic State calls all Muslims to arms’ /h/– Novinar/15.05.2015); [59] Знамена на 101

“Ислямска държава” се веят над Балканите /h/(‘Islamic State flags flaunt over the Balkans’ – St/05.02.2015); [60] Разузнаването предупреждава: Терористичните заплахи ще нарастват /h/(‘State Intelligence Agency warns: Terrorist threats will increase’ – Trud/09.04.2015); [61] The sick ambitions of a caliphate bent on carnage: Chilling map predicts where ISIS will strike the West with ‘lone wolf attacks’ – as FBI sets up 56 centres to monitor Fourth of July terror threat /h/Experts predict that ISIS will soon awaken sleeper cells in Western countries to carry out terrorist attacks; […] /sh/(DM/30.06.2015).

The mere mentioning of ISIS rings terror, however, accompanied by hard evidence, such as that presented by the State Intelligence Agency or FBI data, the threat becomes even more imminent. Even areas such as Bulgaria that used to be considered “immune” to terrorism are presented as already infected by it: [62] Харалан Александров: Българите сме с имунитет към радикалния ислям /h/(‘Haralan Alexandrov: The Bulgarian people are immune to radical Islam’ – 24ch/21.01.2015). If the idea is developed further through the association between the flag and the symbolic claiming of the territory it is flown above in [59], the area of the Balkans is depicted as already conquered by the terrorist organisation which further increases the panic caused. The use of the modal verb will to predict future events, along with the time adverbial soon that is used in [61] enhance the feeling of fear and doom as well. The framing of the articles on Islamic State invariably include pictures of the soldiers and the activities they do. They are presented as lacking any human values and are viewed within the Orientalism – West paradigm being presented as inhuman and beast-like involved in beheadings, stoning people to death, torturing, and miming their captives, holding Yazidi brides as sex slaves, scarring them when they “misbehave”: [62] Джихадисти убиха с камъни обратни /h/(‘Jihadists stoned gays to death’ – St/26.11.2015); [63] “Ислямска държава” обезглави трима за вероотстъпничество и хомосексуализъм /h/(‘Islamic State beheaded three people for apostasy and homosexuality’ – Trud/26.11.2014); [64] In an IS training camp, children told: Behead the doll /h/(DM/20.07.2015); [65] ISIS offer a Yazidi sex slave as a PRIZE for memorising the Qur’an in sick ‘celebration’ of Ramadan /h/The barbaric competition is being held at several mosques including the Osama bin Laden mosque /l/[…] Yazidi women who have survived the ordeal of being a sex slave, have talked about being raped and forced


into converting to Islam and living a life of servitude (DM/22.06.2015); see also [56], [59], [60], [196]-[198].

Modifiers such as sick and barbaric are frequently used in the description of ISIS soldiers and activities and add to their dehumanisation. In addition, the involvement of children in the whole training camp experience, along with the evidence of children actually performing beheadings of real people, enhance the brutality ascribed to the group. The practice of slavery and Yazidi sex slaves are reviewed in 2 articles in Bulgarian and 14 articles in English. The Independent features a sequel of three articles written by Patrick Cockburn who conducted a series of onspot investigations into the life of women and common people under ISIS. The accounts sound unbelievable and horrific. The very idea of holding someone a slave and offering that person as a trophy in some competition in today’s world is outdated and incomprehensible. In addition to example [65] which hints at the attitude of ISIS towards Yazidis, who are considered a low form of life by them, there are also articles discussing the general behaviour towards women [66] “Women are to be treated as chattels, forbidden to leave the house unless they are accompanied by a male relative. […] /l/” (In/15.03.2015). There is even a written code that determines the conduct of those who want to be considered “good wives” of Islamic State soldiers: [67] Isis now targeting women with guides on how to be the ‘ultimate wives of jihad’ /h/[…] But unlike most of Isis’ propaganda that addresses men and attempts to recruit them, this specifically targets women supporting Islamist fighters by circulating advice on how to be ‘good wives of jihad’ (In/31.10.2014).

All these, along with the multiple accounts of children of a very young age being trained to behead people, hold rifles, be part of the group’s brutalities, create the image of the ultimate evil and the enemy who is capable of any atrocity. Additionally, ISIS militants are shown as having no values as there are reports on the way they demolish or cash-in on various centuries-old antiques (8 articles in total) which are remnants even of their own culture. Other articles describe the forceful conversion ISIS apply to infidels: [68] Pakistani Christians accused of lynching ‘offered acquittal’ if they convert


to Islam /h/Defendants are accused of lynching people after a 2015 suicide bombing /sh/(In/31.03.2017). The presence and active implementation of sharia law is another aspect that adds to the image of the backward and monstrous savage who mutilates people based on accusations that have not been proven. In order to stress the influence and scope of the terrorist group, the articles associated with its activities invariably comment on the presence of European converts within the group’s ranks (6 articles in Bulgarian and 44 articles in English), sometimes defining them even as the most ferocious among its members. These articles are usually features, they are very long and detail the life of the converts before they joined ISIS as well as their role in the group or they mention the converts’ “accomplishments” in terms of people killed. Thus, their monstrosity is being highlighted. Those articles feature accounts on Tariq Kamleh – an Aussie doctor, gynecologist, who joined the terrorist group to work as a medical there, Jihadi John, nicknamed “The Beast”, or “The White Beast”, known for his brutality and presented in various pictures with captives or getting ready to for the next mission. None of the converts who have joined the terrorist group have shown any remorse or regret. They are usually presented as taking high ranks within the organisation and enjoying various privileges: [69] British Muslim convert killed fighting for Islamist extremist group alShabaab was ‘second in command of his unit at the time of his death’ /h/Thomas Evans rose through the ranks of the Islamist group in Africa; The 25-year-old was radicalised after converting to Islam when he was 19; Nicknamed the ‘White Beast’, Evans was also the cameraman of the group /sh/(DM/20.06.2015); [70] What turned Tom from High Wycombe into a throat-slitting jihadi called the White Beast /h/(DM/19.06.2015).

All these articles on ISIS and the converts who have entered their ranks serve as a kind of a PR for the group: the more people hear about a group and the more threatening it appears, the more respect and fear they will show to its members. The group thus imposes its dominance and its power because publicity actually makes them powerful. However, both the bigger and the small corpus of articles in English feature articles, which show a convert’s regret for coming back:


[71] ‘I regret coming back’: White Muslim convert who went to fight for ISIS and named his son after Osama bin Laden is now back in Belgium – but still dreams of a worldwide Islamic caliphate /h/(DM/01.04.2017); [72] The blue-eyed son of a Palestinian father and German-born Muslim convert mother, who grew up in the Australian west coast city of Perth, has said his only regret about leaving Australia last year to join the Islamic State movement was that he had not left sooner (DM/18.06.2015).

This article is notable as it marks a change in the general attitude and opinion of returnees and hints at possible future terrorist activities performed by people such as Michael ‘Younes’ Delefortrie who are still under the illusion created by ISIS and may act as their undercover agents. In addition, it is only in articles on converts where phenotypical features, such as whiteness of the skin and the blue colour of the eyes, can be explicitly stated to stress the European background and show the incompatibility between these characteristics and the profession of Islam. Another very characteristic feature of the framing on the image of the convert is the presence of narratives of their life before they got converted or before they joined ISIS. These accounts generally show converts as nice and decent people: [73] Neighbour Roger Edwards said: ‘It is a shock to hear it is happening. They have been here about five years and are very polite, great neighbours.’ Another, who asked not to be named, described one of the brothers as a ‘a very nice gentleman.’ (DM/01.07.2015); [74] One friend said he was a ‘decent, smart, cool and outgoing – never the kind of person who would be speaking or encouraging the idea of jihad or terrorism’ (DM/17.07.2015); [75] Той е добър човек. Непрекъснато казва на хората да не пушат, да не вдишват тази отрова (‘He is a good person. He is constantly telling people not to smoke, not to inhale that poison’ – Trud/29.11.2014).

The descriptions of the terrorists using positive adjectives further stress the assumption that it is the religion which turns people into merciless killers, which in itself emphasises the association that exists between Islam and terrorism and criminalises the religion as well as the people who profess it. Thus, in a way, the whole group gets criminalised based on the generalisation achieved through the explicit repeated reference to the ethnic background of the people involved in the acts of terrorism. Another characteristic of the framing of terrorists is the use of mug shots displaying their faces or the use of pictures taken at the time of their 105

apprehension. The mug shots focus on particular facial features which get associated with terrorism – Muslim beards, shaved heads, and headscarves if women are depicted. The articles also feature pictures of the scenes of actual or prevented terrorist acts in order for the readers to assess the scope of the tragedy and the deaths they have or might have taken. The interest in such events is fostered based on the recency, negativity, relevance and proximity news values (Galtung, Ruge 1965; Fowler 1991; Bell 1991). One of the most extensively covered attacks by the media in the analysed long-term period is the killings in Charlie Hebdo’s offices. Only in the first week after the attack was carried out and only in two of the analysed newspapers, i.e. Dnevnik and The Independent, the articles published totaled 24 and 133 articles respectively70. In addition, there were another 54 articles in Bulgarian and 67 in English published in that same period. The difference in the number of presentations in Bulgaria and the UK can be accounted for with the closer proximity between the UK and France where the attack happened. The debates that followed Charlie Hebdo were within the premises of Orientalism and the freedom of speech and expression which was condemned by Islam especially in terms of depicting the image of the prophet Mohammed. The generalisations used in terms of Islam being a militant religion, backward and incompatible with western values led to campaigns such as #JeSuisCharlie supported by various people including celebrities like George Clooney who stood for freedom of speech, or to campaigns like #JeSuisMuslim, websites “I’m Muslim and I’m not a terrorist”, #I’llRideWithYou, exhibitions of Muslimhood and other acts of solidarity with Muslims trying to disperse the imposed association between Islam and the act of terror71. The debates were plenty and they tried to define the thin line between freedom of expression and cultural awareness, which connotes understanding and recognition of the specifics of the culture of the Other. Another characteristic of all articles framing terrorist acts is the fact that each time an atrocity happens, there is an interview or a discussion on the See also Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva (2015). On the opinion expressed by the British Muslims on jihad, martyrdom and terrorism see Ansari (2005). 70 71


essence of religion and the difference between Islam and terrorism with some prominent Muslims, like the Grand Mufti in Bulgaria, celebrities like Nidal Algafari, journalists who are in charge of the presentation of issues related to the community, such as Olya Al-Ahmed in Standart, or Arabists who present the essence of Muslim psyche (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2016a). In addition, there is always a Muslim who apologises on behalf of the whole community for the bloodshed terrorists have caused: [76] Мюсюлманка се извини на света заради атентата в Париж (видео) /h/(‘A Muslim woman apologised to the world for the attack in Paris’ – Trud/10.01.2015). The apology in itself is frequently interpreted by nonMuslims as an acknowledgement and a confirmation of the existing link between Islam and terrorism. As Fredi Kanouté states [77] ‘Muslims should not have to prove they are not terrorists before talking’ /h/(G/28.03.2017). The explicit association between an act of terrorism and religion, tars the religion itself and presents the act as typical only of the group of people professing this religion, in this case Islam. This trend stands in contrast to the presentation of “white terrorists”, such as Anders Breivik from Norway: [78] Mass killer Anders Breivik enrols in political science course at University of Oslo /h/[…] Anders Breivik, the convicted murderer who claimed the lives of 77 people in a terror attack in Norway, has been accepted to the University of Oslo /l/(In/17.07.2015).

There are no apologies and no blame thrown on Christianity as a religion. On the contrary, the activities are attributed to the mental state of the perpetrator who is generally presented as mentally unstable. As the example clearly states, the descriptors of Breivik focus on the fact that he has killed many people; he is defined as a mass killer, the convicted murderer and extremist. It is only in the body of the text that the attack is explicitly described as a terrorist one, however, there is nowhere an explicit reference to Breivik as terrorist. As Elliot Friedland (2018) states mass shootings that have some kind of a political motive should be regarded as acts of terrorism even more so as mass shooters usually learn from terrorists and the acts they have committed in order to be able to “inflict maximum carnage” (ibid.).


Articles on terrorism are usually followed by analyses on the process of radicalisation and the conditions which foster the process (35 articles in total in the Bulgarian and 27 in the British media). The reasons most frequently mentioned are feelings of marginalisation and alienation as well as poverty, low social status and illiteracy (Wiktorowicz 2004; Whine 2007; Hoffman 2007, 2014). The various restrictions and strategies set forward by governments in order to be able to profile possible terrorists are said to alienate Muslims further as they feel criminalised. The whole crime frame (see Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2016a) is activated: there is a terrorist act, there is a suspect, then a perpetrator – Muslims and there is a trial – sometimes the whole society jointly passes the verdict by throwing into the public discourse generalisations about Muslims. At other times, the verdict takes the form of various laws on terrorism which further contribute to the criminalisation of the whole community. All regulations are defined as a “witch-hunt” that leads to “demonisation” (G/11.03.2015) and thereby to further alienation: [79] A lot of Muslims feel that there is a constant anti-Muslim narrative in the media”. He added that there was a risk of ending up with “stereotyping and that population alienated, and end up with a ‘them and us’ narrative” (G/19.10.2015).

The continued division between Muslims and non-Muslims only feed moderate Muslims into the machine of radical preachers who convert them to the cause of militant Islam as they justify their existence through feelings of belonging and fighting for a common cause. As Iqbal Wahhab states in his article in the International Business Times: [80] The counter-narrative is a much harder sell. But that must be the focus now – the moderate Muslims who think people like me are only serving to point a light on things they’d rather not discuss because this community suffers so many social and economic hardships already must come off the fence. It’s not a posture we can afford any more. We may not have created this problem but we have to find a role in helping to fix it. (IbT/04.06.2017); [81] We Muslims MUST stop blaming others for the way our young are radicalised, writes chairman of the Muslim Forum MANZOOR MOGHAL /h/(DM/17.06.2015).

The essence is in acknowledging and owning the problem by all people involved rather than jumping onto the blame game as in one way or another both Muslims and non-Muslims are the victims of terrorism. 108

Both the Bulgarian and the British media feature articles on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (3 and 5 articles respectively) – the Boston marathon terrorist who planted bombs along with his brother on April 15, 2013. The bombs killed three people, while the injured ones were more than 280. The focus of the articles is on his court trial, his appearance in court, the apology he extended to the families of the deceased and on the reactions of the relatives. The general feeling was that he was rather mocking than being sincere about his remorse as he appeared “unconcerned, unrepentant and unchanged” (DM/23.06.2015). In addition to the images of Tsarnaev, one of which contains the offensive finger sign while in his cell, the articles employ images of the victims and casualties who came to the trial showing explicitly their artificial limbs or crutches, thus, stressing the pain they have experienced, all of which come to justify the final verdict. Another attack that is featured in both the Bulgarian and the British media is the Chattanooga shooting (in 5 and 26 articles, respectively). In addition to the general background of the attacker, which did not hint of any terrorist inclinations, as he was educated, the articles, similar to those on Tsarnaev, feature pictures of the vicitims and stories about their lives. The only hint of a possible radicalisation was a reference to a quote from the Hadith he sent to a friend.72 The focus, on the one hand, is on the fact that the innocent lives of good people were wasted, while on the other, on the fact that the shooter had dared attack American naval officers. The stress here is not only on the personal drama but on the fact that the perpetrator has in a way dared challenge a whole institution, people who are meant to guard, protect and defend the country. This makes the audacity of the whole act even greater. The British media published a group of articles (42 in total) which introduced readers to various campaigns against ISIS that ended up in defeating the terrorist group. Despite the fact that it is again a matter of military campaigns, and despite the victims, the articles sound optimistic as they explicitly confirm the fact that the war with terrorism epitomised by ISIS can be won. These articles also show that the organisation is not as omnipotent as they present themselves to be.

As David Cook, an associate professor, specialist in Islam at Rice University in Texas, explained to The Guardian (quoted in the article) “For ultraconservative Muslims, the Hadith ‘is usually understood within the context of love for Islam and hatred for its enemies’” (In/19.07.2015). 72


Apart from the mostly negative coverage of different terrorist attacks happening at different times in various places all over the world, both the Bulgarian and the British media in their international coverage of Muslim related events publish articles talking about the measures undertaken for the successful integration of Muslims in the mainstream society (2 in the Bulgarian and 10 in the British media), about Muslim culture and the Qur’an (12 in the Bulgarian and 11 in the British media), as well as about positive acts committed by Muslims (4 articles in each media discourse). The number of these is comparatively smaller than the number of articles on terrorist acts. Still, by providing information on the lifestyle and traditions of Muslims as well as by presenting the community as willing and able to integrate and to be more like Us, these articles foster better understanding of Muslim culture and mark an attempt at dispersing the negative stereotypes. However, the predominantly negative coverage is too strong to be reversed. Thus, the topics discussed in both media discourses as a part of both local and international coverage can be summarised in the following chart: TOPICS






Attacks Worldwide




Bad face of Muslims




Boris Nemtsov




Campaigns against ISIS








Charlie Hebdo












Cultural Awareness




David Cameron’s Speech




Dzhohar Tsarnaev





Human rights








Intercultural Understanding












Local Attacks




Movement for Rights and Freedoms/DOST




Muslim lifestyle




Muslims should be more Bulgarian/British




Positive Acts committed by Muslims








Radicalisation Analyses




Religious Schools








Revival Process




Safety Acts and Regulations




The Pope’s Visits












Yazidi Sex Slaves



Total number of articles



Table 3. General distribution of the topics covered in the Bulgarian and the British media (in alphabetic order)


In conclusion, the topical analysis of media coverage in the Bulgarian and the British media shows a total of 31 general as well as some more specific topics. Therefore, the number is smaller in comparison to Poole’s (2002) analysis which returned 52 different topics. The difference in numbers can be explained with the shorter period of this study as well as with the resort to some more generic topics which were considered necessary due to closeness of discussed matters. However, the variety of topics is big enough to present a multifarious image of the Muslim communities and of the issues related to these communities in both countries as reflected by their national media. As the topical analysis has shown, the differences in the framing of Muslim related events are to be found mostly in the local coverage of both media discourses which can be attributed to the differences in context as stated above. The Bulgarian media feature articles on culture specific Muslim holidays, the way they are celebrated, the dishes prepared and the participants involved. Some of the holidays presented by the British media are similar to those celebrated by the Bulgarian Muslims which in its turn confirms the existence of a global ummah that all Muslims belong to. Another similar topic in both media discourses is the topic of converts or radicalised Muslims. These articles differ in terms of their subjects as in the Bulgarian case the focus is on the Roma ghettoes and the converted Roma, while in the British context it is a matter of Britons who have converted to Islam and have left the country to serve with ISIS. The problem of converts and the terrorist activities they perform is widely discussed in both the Bulgarian and the British media coverage of international events as well. The methods of presentation employed by both media discourses are similar to accounts of the event, followed by discussion mostly in terms of the existing radicalisation, the reasons for the process as well as the approaches which can be undertaken to counter it. The issue is presented in terms of the Clash of Civilisations with a focus on the incompatibility between Islam and western values. Both media discourses feature interviews with Muslims who present the difference between mainstream Islam and terrorism. Apologies of the kind reestablish the link between Islam and terrorism while the acts and strategies undertaken to counter further terrorist acts lead to the criminalisation of 112

Muslims as they feel profiled and subject of “special” attention. Thus, a crime frame is established that is similar in both discourses. The coverage on terrorists leverages on the Orientalist discourse representing ISIS soldiers, or the converts who have joined them, as savage, backward and generally monstrous. The visuals used in both media discourses are also similar with pictures of ISIS soldiers with guns, executing different punishments, or simply posing in their uniforms for the camera. ISIS flag is also frequently displayed. As Bulgaria has not experienced the phenomenon of Bulgarian ISIS fighters returning to their country of origin yet, there are no articles published in this category. The same goes for analyses on the incompatibility between Islam and Bulgarian values or the need for the Bulgarian Muslims to be more like the Bulgarian Christians. The reason for the latter is the comparatively good integration of Muslims in the Bulgarian society and the fact that they are viewed more like Us, rather than as Them. That is also the reason why the Bulgarian media features more articles on intercultural understanding and cultural awareness than the British media. Both media discourses offer articles on the terrorist attacks which have happened in various parts of the world; a fact which shows the extended geography of terrorism. Political coverage also has its local specificities governed mostly by news values such as relevance, personalization (in terms of the use of political figures) and proximity. Based on the fact that the Bulgarian Muslims have their representation in the Parliament, the political news on the topic mostly focus on The Movement for Rights and Freedoms and its presence in the Parliament. In addition, there is another party that makes its appearance in the small Bulgarian corpus as it also claims to stand for the interests of the Bulgarian Muslims and be an alternative to MRF, i.e. DOST. These articles, however, bear only an indirect reference to the Bulgarian Muslims, as readers do not see the image of the common people but the stance of politicians. Other stories that bear reference to the Bulgarian Muslims only due to the proximity with the areas mentioned in them, are the coverage on the events in Srebrenitsa, the murder of Boris Nemtsov, the political stand of Turkey on various issues, as well as the coverage on the Process of Revival which is directly linked to the Bulgarian 113

Muslims. The discussion of that painful period contributes to the intercultural understanding and awareness as the general readership of the mainstream media, i.e. the Christian Bulgarians get to learn about the series of painful events that the members of the political majority at the time were responsible for. At the same time, the Bulgarian and the British corpora on politically related issues provide some similarities in terms of the laws and acts being negotiated or passed in relation to deradicalisation, home security and the Anti-Terrorism Act. In addition to these topics, however, the Bulgarian media comments on the commemoration of events significant for the Bulgarian Muslims such as the terrorist act on the Station of Bunovo, the news in mother tongue as well as the ban on headscarves as part of the coverage on human rights. A positive trend observed in both the Bulgarian and the British media is the presence of more Muslim women who are interviewed or are presented as beautiful and successful, women of different professions and occupations, women who are not afraid to speak up. The latter fact aims at breaking the existing negative stereotypes associated mainly with the image of the submissive Muslim woman. Both the Bulgarian and the British media present the opinion of both important Muslim figures as well as Muslim journalists which is also a positive trend as readers get to hear members of the community speak about themselves rather than have someone else speak for them. The topics touched upon generally set up the frame used in both media discourses on Muslims. The analysis on the more specific linguistic devices such as the references used, the metaphors as well as the stereotypes employed will provide the building blocks that trigger any of the frames set up.


CHAPTER FIVE: WHAT’S IN A NAME “To be named, means to be categorised” (Gossieux 2004: 40) If we start with the notion that naming an entity already attributes specific characteristics to it (Gossieux 2004: 40; Jeldtoft 2009), we can assume that calling someone or a group of people Muslim already triggers all the stereotypical ideas one has about the people of that religion. In addition, as the religious denominator itself is charged with multiple connotations, its mere mentioning starts the frame associated with it in all its various aspects. A similar observation is made by Yankova (2007) who mentions the fact that the names are viewed as the reflection of and adherence to a particular group as well as the assessment the others have for that group. Furthermore, Morin (2016) claims that the words used to name and define things are of importance mostly due to the fact that they are not “neutral agents”: they mark a very important function of language – to label and create the world. As he states, the way this is done can influence perceptions as “words in and of themselves have no inherent meanings; rather, they attain meanings in their own historical and discursive settings through a long process of repetitive, selective, and careful usage within specific contexts” (ibid.: 987-988). Both the historical background and the review of the existing literature on the topic of Muslims have inadvertently suggested that the negative traits attributed to Muslims will greatly outnumber the positive ones. This is only natural to assume based on the fact that we are talking about a religious Other, a group that is not considered the norm and is usually taken as an outsider, thereby viewed through the Us vs. Them dichotomy and charged with all the connotations transferred to it by Orientalist thinking. As historically Muslims do not belong to the place of origin of either British, or Bulgarians (if this could be viewed as a stable concept at all), they are perceived as outsiders, people coming from without, from the outskirts of the continent which in its turn charges them with all the


concepts contained in the Centre – Periphery dichotomy73. The latter in itself is characteristic of Said’s (1979) analysis of the perception of Muslims in European societies. Thus, the image of Muslims is subjected to layers of meanings and interpretations, which, however, do not really tell us who Muslims are, but rather, why people perceive them the way they do. Talking about references, the first concept that has to be clarified is what the religious denominator Muslim means. There are various definitions both from dictionaries, i.e. “adjective 1. of or relating to the religion, law, or civilization of Islam; […] 2. an adherent of Islam. 3. Black Muslim” (see and various Islamologists, but the view taken here belongs to Taji-Farouki and Poulton who state that [w]here the individual is concerned, it includes any persons who believe in or practise some form of Islam, consider themselves to be culturally Muslim whether or not they practise Islam, or one of Muslim ancestry (Taji-Farouki, Poulton 1997: 3).

The same authors also clarify the fact that the status of most Muslims in the Balkans today is of minority groups living in countries populated with predominantly Christians to which they do not usually belong. The same can be applied to Muslims in Britain as although part of the former colonies, Muslims settled on the Isle at a much later stage (see Chapter Two). The only way for them to uphold their identity was mainly through religion – a notion that surpasses ethnicity, language or origin and fosters the feeling of being part of a “universal Islamic community or umma” (Taji-Farouki, Poulton 1997: 3). In addition, with the change of the understanding of racism more towards ethnicism (van Dijk 1991) in which cultural traits stand out, Muslimness has become more visible and at the same time, some of the attitudes and features attributed to ethnic minorities before became transferred to the new acceptable and fluid enemy shaped by religion (van Dijk 1991). Halliday (2006: 29), for example, points out that until ten years ago the categories Arab and Muslim were not that common in the British political culture but they became prominent under the influence of the Rushdie affair. His conclusion comes to show that certain terms or categories get activated at a particular moment triggered by some political, historical, See Balkanism above. This discrepancy in the perception of the two countries makes the analysis of the perceptions and the media language about the religious Other very intriguing. 73


social, or other events. Thus, for example, the problems posed by immigration (van Dijk 1991) and refugees (Cohen 2002a) are also shifted to Muslims. This further contributes to the idea of the threat they pose as the new enemy, while the increasing number of second and third generation Muslims born in the UK as well as the Turks in Bulgaria, are associated with the metaphor of the fifth column and their loyalty is questioned just like the compatibility between Islam and Bulgarianness or Britishness, respectively. Discussing the categorisation of Muslims in articles on terrorist activities Poole (2002) analyses the use of categories such as terrorist/ism; bomber/bombs; killer/kill/killed; asylum seeker; militant; exile; extremism/ist; dissident; radical/ism; Islamist; fundamentalist; and activist in 20 articles in total. Her findings show that the first category was used 70 times followed by bomber/bombs – 36 and killer – 33. Poole (2002) notes that [w]hat is also apparent is that the use of the lexical item ‘fundamentalism’ was low in all papers, as journalists increasingly refrained from using the word because of uncertainty over its meaning, publicity over its misuse and its Christian connotations (ibid.: 150).

In addition, Poole (2002) states that “Islam has been inextricably linked to terrorism and extremism, so that these terms have become virtually interchangeable when applied to Islamic fundamentalists” (ibid.: 140). All this gives the reason for some scholars to describe Muslims as a threat and as the new public devils (Cohen 2002a). Others state that Muslims have been essentialized, demonized, racialized and sub-humanized to the extreme [and are] used as an identifier of a posited sub-humanness in contemporary discourses and global civil society. Nothing is ‘normal’ about Muslim the subject and everything revolves around an abnormal category (Bazian 2017: 1).

Poole (2002) claims that the use of “unfavourable” terminology by the media is another aspect of Muslims’ dehumanisation. At the same time, the author also states that this is a way for media texts to acquire their credibility (ibid.: 46). Looking for ways to avoid this dehumanisation, scholars, in particular sociologists, claim that providing more characteristics to a particular entity, 117

or charging, in this case, a person or a group, with many different categories, can reduce the degree of prejudice or bias exhibited towards the categorised object (Prati et al. 2016). As the scholars point out, the notion of decategorisation is effected through the move to individuation, thinking about separate individuals and introducing features, such as education, age, gender, music, food, football teams, etc. to define each one of them and disperse the notion of a group, so that the main negative characteristic becomes diluted and can no longer be associated with the entity in question or with the supposed threat it poses, which, in turn, fosters humanisation of the whole group. Prati et al. (2016: 529) have tested their theory using a list of eight uniquely human traits – positive: optimistic, broadminded, trusting, humble; and negative: insecure, irresponsible, negligent, arrogant; and eight non-uniquely human traits – positive: curious, sociable, defensive, hedonistic; and negative: conforming, nervous, instinctive, uncooperative, which they have applied to two opposing teams. These terms have been selected by Prati et al. (2016) based on Loughnan et al.’s (2010) study on dehumanisation. That is the reason why the descriptors selected by Prati et al. (2016) were applied to the manually collected corpora of media texts for the present study. This test, however, did not return any matches. The latter comes to confirm the fact that while such descriptors are suitable for other social topics such as rivalry in sports, for example, in matters relating to religion and the language the media use, they are inapplicable. The reason for this can be as Abbas (2005: 12) observes that [t]he language used to describe Muslims often connotes violence, thereby inferring that the movements the individuals represent are violent too. […] Words such as ‘fundamentalist’, ‘extremist’ and ‘radical’ are regularly used in apocalyptic headlines across all sectors of the British press.

Additionally, Poole (2002: 49), referring to Sayyid (1997) and Lueg (1995), states that the most frequently employed image is that of the fundamentalist which is invariably linked to Islam, disregarding the fact that there are also cases of Christian and Jewish fundamentalism. Thus, all Muslim acts are presented as fundamentalist or extreme, thereby terrorist. The collocations with Muslim have been checked in the Oxford Collocation Dictionary and the search returned: Muslim noun ADJ. devout, fervent | Shia, Shiite, Sunni MUSLIM + NOUN beliefs, faith | community | 118

extremist, fundamentalist; Muslim community/ country/ extremist/ faith/ festival/ Sabbath. The collocations found in the dictionary unequivocally suggest that the positive modifiers attached to Muslim/s are negligible if we accept that devout initially has a positive connotation. Having in mind the aforementioned facts, the set of references provided by Abbas (2005) and pointed out by other scholars, as well as appearing in the dictionary of collocations shown above, has been applied to both the small corpus of articles on Muslims in Bulgaria and the UK and the bigger one, respectively. The references tested in the first case are considered mostly negative based on the presumption stated above that the media language on Muslims is predominantly negative as well as on the opinion held by various scholars that the adjectives radical, fundamental, extreme are generally applied to the religious marker Muslim (Richardson 2004; Abbas 2005; Dobreva 2008; Gale, Hopkins 2009). Thus, the set of negative markers tested included: terrorist, radical, extremist, jihadist, Islamist, and fanatic. However, while the image of Muslim terrorists at the beginning of the century has been associated more with the threat coming from outside, the events around the attack on the London metro and Charlie Hebdo, among many others have prompted the development of the stereotype of Muslims as a threat coming from within (Hoffman 2014: 5ff)74. The latter prompted an analysis on the use of the term convert which has also been subsequently checked. The total number of uses of negative references from the bigger Bulgarian corpus comes to 4968 uses, while the bigger English corpus returned 5746, or a total of 10714 uses of negative references. The small Bulgarian corpus provided 166 results, while the English one – 1780, or a total of 1946 uses of negative references for only one week. In addition, a set of positive descriptors (polite, good, decent, moderate, normal, proper) has been used to further confirm or reject the assumption that the media language about Muslims is predominantly negative. The findings of both tests have been compared to the results found in on-line corpora

Hoffman (2014: 5ff) actually discusses various evidence suggesting that the attack on the London Metro was not a result solely of home-grown terrorists but carefully plotted and acted out campaign of Al’Qaeda. 74


such as COCA, BNC, BulNC, and BNC_customBG75 which has been specifically created for the purpose. The reason for this is to check the consistency of presentation in the manually collected corpora to the substantially bigger database offered by the online ones. The total number of uses of positive references in the bigger Bulgarian corpus is 83, while the bigger English corpus returned 174 uses, or a total of 257. The small Bulgarian corpus featured only 1 use of positive lexis, while the small English corpus – 19. NEGATIVE REFERENCES The results obtained from the test with the set of negative references are presented in the tables below. In order to make the comparisons easier the negative descriptors are provided first, followed by the positive ones. Bigger manual corpus - negative 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0









Table 4. Negative references used in the bigger manually compiled corpus of articles

The BNC corpus offers the option to create one’s own specific corpus in a specific language on a specific topic. This option was used mostly because the results from the traditional Bulgarian online corpus, i.e. BulNC, were quite old and mostly from fiction which included both original Bulgarian as well as translated sources, while the intention was to test contemporary data that would better match the manually collected corpora of English and Bulgarian media texts. 75


The general trend observed in all newspapers comprising the bigger study (2014-2015) is the predominant use of the religious denominator Muslim followed by terrorist. This first perception confirms the close association that exists today between Islam and terrorist acts. It also confirms the statement voiced by various scholars quoted in this book (Said 1997; Poole 2002; Richardson 2004; Dobreva 2011b; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2016a) that this is the image most frequently relayed by the media. As the data shows, the situation in both countries regarding the first two most frequently used references is similar. There are differences in the frequency of use of the other references. Cumulatively, the third reference that has returned the highest number of hits is radical, followed by Islamist, extremist, jihadist with fanatic bringing up the rear. All references, however, regardless of the way they are arranged comprise the frame of the Muslim terrorist as they touch upon the different degrees of radicalisation that people undergo before they become involved in acts of terrorism. As Ranstorp (2010: 1) states, radicalisation is a complex phenomenon which is not easy to explain as there are various push and pull factors that can affect people and make them “move in or out of roles and functions”. The general trend observed in the Bulgarian bigger corpus shows consistency in most of the cases related only to the first three references. Standart and Novinar show a preferred usage of jihadist over radical as the former is more culturally specific and directly hints at the association with Islam while the latter can be considered more generic and not explicitly bound with any religion. The differences in the preferred choices of references could be accounted for with the different realities that the media mirror in both countries. Bulgaria has not been exposed to major acts of terrorism, excluding the events that took place in Sarafovo on 17 July 2012, and the main threat felt is posed by the possible conversion of Roma or by terrorists infiltrating the country under the disguise of refugees. The use of references is also influenced by the local vs. international nature of news as well as by the topic of presentation, i.e. culture vs. politics (see Chapter Four). It is natural that the majority of international as well as political news would trigger a higher use of lexemes such as jihadists, Islamists, extremists which are not so typical for the articles on Muslim culture, for instance. 121

The nature of news covered by the small Bulgarian corpus (as they mostly cover international events including the Westminster attack; see Chapter Four above) can explain the predominant use of Islamist and terrorist (shown on the table below). BG small corpus negative references 25 20 15 10 5 0









Table 5. Negative references used in the small manually compiled Bulgarian corpus of articles

Terrorist, Islamist and convert mark the top three references extensively used in the small English corpus. This is also accounted for by the nature of the articles comprising the corpus. As stated above (see Chapter Four) the period of the short corpus data collection coincided with the terrorist attack on Westminster in March 2017 and this has invariably affected the language the media used. This is very obvious in the chart representing the reference use in NewsNow – an online news channel which shows almost identical number of terrorist and Islamist, followed by convert. An interesting change observed in both the small English corpus and the data obtained from the web-based corpora is the appearance of the reference convert. This in a way proves the fact that the focus on the terrorist act in London on 22 March 2017 has triggered the frame of converts being the perpetrators of atrocities in the country that has welcomed them.


UK small corpus negative references 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 G












Table 6. Negative references used in the small manually compiled English corpus of articles

In Bulgarian, in addition to the verb конвертирам (‘to convert’) which is used to show the process of transition from Christianity to Islam, the collocations покръстен (‘christened’) and радикализиран българин (‘radicalised Bulgarian’) have also been checked. The last two have been used by different analysists and political figures in interviews on the national TV and in such published on some of the Internet platforms. However, there has been only one use of конвертирам (‘convert’) in the manually collected Bulgarian corpus: [82] Според Фолкер Гранс междувременно има цял бранш от ‘ловци на младежи’ – хора, които вербуват отчаяни млади мюсюлмани за ислямизма. В мрежите им попадат дори и християни, които конвертират (‘According to Volker Gans in the meantime there is a whole guild of “youth hunters” – people who recruit desperate young Muslims for Islamism. Even Christians, whom they convert, fall into their nets’ – 24ch/17.02.2015).

In addition, as the interview is translated into Bulgarian, the use of the lexeme конвертират in Bulgarian can be considered a case of a loan word or a direct transfer from the source language. The online corpora in Bulgarian did not return any uses of the term, either.


When the word покръстен (‘christened’) is checked in the BulNC it gives back 104 hits, however, only two of them refer to converts to Islam while in the majority of cases the word is associated with Christianity as evident from its root morpheme. When applied to the manually collected corpus in Bulgarian, покръстен българин (‘christened Bulgarian’) and радикализиран българин (‘radicalised Bulgarian’) did not return any hits. This could mean that their use is only sporadic and they have not been established as active collocations yet. Web-based corpora - negative references 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 BNC











Table 7. Negative references used in web-based corpora

The data obtained from the web-based corpora shows a similar trend of almost negligible use of конвертирам (‘convert’). The reason for this can be the low number of converts. A study conducted by Horgan (see Table 8 below) which was published in The Economist states that [83] In Britain, converts make up less than 4% of Muslims but 12% of home-grown jihadists. About a fifth of American Muslims were raised in another religion, yet two-fifths of those arrested on suspicion of being IS recruits in 2015 were converts (see chart). In France, Germany and the Netherlands, converts are around four times as likely as lifelong Muslims to go to fight in Syria and Iraq (Economist/01.04.2017).


Table 8. Approximate number of converts. Adapted from The Economist (01.04.2017)

At the same time, the media frequently use the more striking collocation home-grown terrorist to denote converts to Islam. This can also explain the low number of hits that convert returned. However, it presents a case of enlarging the frame associated with Muslims with another collocation. In addition, by using numerals as well as toponyms describing the big number of converts and the places where conversion to Islam is observed (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2017c), the media create the necessary panic even though the word itself is not that frequently used: [84] It is estimated that up to 1,500 Britons could be fighting abroad for Islamist groups (In/05.09.2014); [85] Just two out of the 600 females who have fled from Western countries to join ISIS have returned home from Syria, figures show (DM/29.05.2015); [86] At least 700 people from the UK have travelled to Iraq or Syria to join ISIS (DM/19.07.2015), see also [10], [25], [26].

In some cases, convert is substituted with terrorist and that is why it does not provide any matches when checked in the developed corpora, i.e. [87] “The Terrorist at my Table imagines a world where terrorist attacks are imminent and asks: ‘What do any of us know about the person who shares this street, this house, this table, this body?’” (In/17.12.2014), or, as a


publication in The Guardian explains: [88] “Muslim” becomes synonymous with “extremist” and “potential terrorist” (G/23.11.2015). There are also other examples that show the fluidity between the references used: [89] “She claimed that ‘radical Islam is becoming the rule, not the exception. Yesterday’s moderate is today’s terrorist’” (DM/21.07.2015). At the same time, the online Bulgarian corpora BulNC shows that terrorist does not refer only to Muslim terrorists but to revolutionaries from VMRO76 as well, which in itself shows that the religious association is imposed mostly by the media and the associations between the religious group and ISIS/ISIL. The other reference which returned a comparatively small number of hits in the manually collected small and bigger corpora is fanatic. Looking at the meaning of the word in, it is easily seen that the lexeme is associated with extremism, i.e. “1. a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics” ( The Oxford Living Dictionaries add another nuance to the term when used informally: “1.1. a person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for a particular activity. ‘a fitness fanatic’” (EOLD). Checking in the online corpora, the BNC returns 271 hits of fanatic. Although the data dates back to the period 1985-1993, which makes it inapplicable to the current study, it does show, that in most of the collocations from that period fanatic, was not associated with Muslims but mainly with zeal in sports, as in “football fanatic” while the plural form did not return any hits on BNC. This could lead to the conclusion that the religious association of the term, at least in the media, has occurred at a much later period. Consulting COCA on the use of the same lexeme, it gives back 1014 hits. Narrowing the search by including the modifier Muslim returns back 3 hits, while the same collocation, however, with the modifier Islamic provides only 1 hit, which confirms the low usage of the collocations altogether. The analysis of the bigger and the small corpora shows that the collocations with fanatic are usually part of a longer nominative chain with Muslim as its head: Muslim, terrorist, Islamic fanatic, fundamentalist, radical, etc.


This is the abbreviation in Bulgarian standing for the Inner Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation.


Similar to the examples below not all elements can be found in one and the same article. However, in people’s minds they seem linked together: [90] ‘NOT A PROPER MUSLIM’ Westminster terror attack killer Khalid Masood loved marathon crack sessions with hookers and slashed pal’s face after paranoid row /h/Former pals tell of violent mood swings and unpredictable behaviour of Westminster terrorist, dubbing it the last act of a man who terrorised others /sh/[…] The Islamic fanatic – then plain Adrian Elms – also blew thousands on hookers while staying at a rented pad and on pals’ sofas (Sun/25.03.2017); [91] Не очаквам у нас проблеми като във Франция от ислямизирани и фанатизирани български граждани, защото нашите мюсюлмани са с далеч по-толерантно и социално отговорно разбиране към религията. А очаквам точно обратното нелегални имигранти, влезли у нас и непроверени от съответните служби, да се превърнат в потенциална заплаха за България и страните от ЕС. (‘I do not expect that we will have problems similar to those in France caused by Islamicised and fanaticised Bulgarian citizens because our Muslims show far more tolerant and socially responsible understanding of religion. However, I expect the opposite – illegal immigrants who have managed to enter the country without the respective services checking their documents, to turn into a potential threat for Bulgaria and the countries from the EU’ – St/13.01.2015); see also [29].

The example published in the Bulgarian Standart on 13 Jan. 2015 extends the Muslim frame with a new term – illegal immigrants. The threat posed by this group of people is voiced in The Independent as well: [92] Bobby Jindal: Senior US politician says some Muslim immigrants are trying to ‘colonise’ European countries and set up no-go areas /h/(In/20.01.2015). Refugees can also be added to this extension as they are seen as a threat due to inefficient checking procedures and the possibility of terrorists entering the countries along with fleeing people. A similar change of association and the negative charge acquired as a result of the association with Islam is observed in the use of radical as well. The difference here is that in contrast to the small corpora where the use of the lexeme is comparatively low, the cumulative data from the bigger ones shows that the lexeme features the third highest number of uses. Actually, radicalism along with Islamism mark the next step to extremism and terrorism (Springer et al. 2009). The close relation between these notions is very clear in the examples from both the Bulgarian and the British media: 127

[93] От британското разузнаване предполагат, че групировката “Ислямска държава” и други радикални движения може да разработят начини за поставяне на взривни материали в лаптопи и мобилни телефони така, че да остават незабелязани при проверка (‘The British intelligence assume that Islamic State along with other radical groups could develop ways of placing combustible materials in laptops and mobile phones in such a way so that they remain undetected at check-ups’ – Klassa/02.04.2017).

One can easily see that Islamic State, which is in the list of terrorist organisations recognised worldwide, is used alongside the phrase radical groups and the paratactic structure used attributes equal status to them. Although in its primary meaning radical is not religiously determined, the link between ISIS and the process of radicalisation, extremism and fundamentalism, similar to the one between ISIS and terrorism mentioned above, already establishes this association in the minds of the readers. This is explicated further by examples where terms describing one and the same process are used interchangeably: [8] Islamic extremism, an extreme doctrine, fundamentalist Islam, ISIS-inspired radicalisation /l/(In/20.07.2015). Islamism meaning ‘Islamic militancy or fundamentalism’ (EOLD) and Islamist “a supporter or advocate of Islamic fundamentalism” ( show the close association between religion, i.e. Islam, and violence. That is why, even the use of negation on behalf of members of the Muslim communities in both Bulgaria and the UK, which is frequently the case after each and every terrorist attack, serves solely as a confirmation of the generally established association: [94] We must therefore all avoid sensationalised analysis that tars all Muslims with the violent brush that jihadists choose for themselves. We must also strive to understand the differences between Islam and Islamism and use the appropriate language to discuss such incidents. Failure to get this right alienates Muslims the world over who abhor this violence. It also grants undue legitimacy to those who misappropriate Islam for political means, and even stokes grievances relating to anti-Muslim hatred, which are exploited by Islamists for their own radicalising and recruitment ends (In/16.12.2014); [95] “This has nothing to do with Islam,” say the imams. “These callous and fanatic murders have nothing to do with us,” say the mullahs. “Islam means peace,” say the worshippers. These disclaimers, and variations on them, have been repeated countless times by Muslim commentators since the Charlie Hebdo killings. They are designed to 128

distance people from guilt by association with those who kill and maim in the name of Islam (In/23.01.2015).

The examples above also confirm the conclusion made by Allen (2005: 50) ever since the events from 11 September 2001, Muslims have been presented either as “chimerical, monstrous others” identified with terrorists or as “apologists defending Islam as a peaceful religion”. While comparing the data obtained from the manually-collected corpora with the web-based ones, it becomes clear that if radicals is used separately, it features a high usage, i.e. 505 hits, the modified Muslim radical provided only one hit and the plural form did not give any hits. Checking the results for radicals BulNC provided 3 hits, but they were from translated literary works and as such they cannot be considered relevant to the media discourse analysed herewith. A trend similar to the one observed in the English online corpora, is noticed when collocations with the religious denominator and extremist(s) are checked: Moslem extremist on BNC returned 7 hits only, Muslim extremists – 11, while extremist – 414. This data once again clearly shows that both radicalisation/radicalism and extremism are not solely a Muslim phenomenon but could be contagious for any religion or group of people. The use of jihadist to describe Muslims ranks sixth in the manuallycollected corpora. According to Springer et al. (2009) jihad, which means ‘to strive’ or ‘to struggle’ in Arabic, has “dual religious connotation, involving an outwardly directed struggle against oppression and tyranny and an inwardly directed personal struggle for holiness” (ibid.: 2). Based on the definition of the Oxford Living Dictionaries jihadist or jehadist is “a person involved in a jihad; an Islamic militant”. While the definition of jihad or jehad reflects the two meanings presented by Springer et al. (2009) above,, however, links jihadists with fundamentalism and violence directly in the definition provided: “an Islamic fundamentalist who participates in or supports jihad, especially armed and violent confrontation”. A further link is provided to mujahedin, defined as “Muslim guerrilla fighters, especially in Afghanistan and Iran” ( The examples from the manually collected corpora confirm said association: джихадистки терористи (‘jihadist terrorists’), джихадистка групировка (‘jihadist group’), джихадистки заговор (‘jihadist conspiracy’), jihadi terrorism, among others. In addition, it becomes clear that the militant 129

inclination usually attributed to the members of the Muslim community in the Bulgarian media reality gets transferred to the Roma (see also Chapter Four): [96] ДАНС на лов за джихадисти /h/Полиция и жандармерия блокираха рано сутринта ромските махали в Пазарджик, Пловдив, Хасково и Смолян. […] /l/ (‘SANS on a jihadists hunt /h/Police and gendarmerie blocked the Roma neighbourhoods in Pazardzhik, Haskovo and Smolyan early in the morning’ – St/25.11.2014).

The interesting trend to note here based on the data from the manually collected bigger Bulgarian corpus is that the Bulgarian media show a stronger preference for the use of джихадист (‘jihadist’) to екстремист (‘extremist’), which is not the case in the British media corpus. In the Bulgarian newspaper Standart, the use of the term exceeds even that of радикален/радикал (‘radical’) and ranks third. Thus, in the presentations of that particular newspaper the link between Muslims, terrorism and jihadism is most strongly pronounced.


POSITIVE REFERENCES The results from the use of positive references obtained from the bigger manually collected corpora are presented in the table below:

Bigger manual corpora - positive 40 30 20 10 0

polite Muslim(s)

good Muslim(s)

decent Muslim(s)




Table 9. Positive references used in the bigger manually compiled corpus of articles

The cumulative data shows the highest use of the modifier moderate, followed by normal, good, proper, decent, and polite. The small Bulgarian corpus returned only one use of positive lexis in reference to Muslims, i.e. умерен (‘moderate’) used in Dnevnik. The results from the small English corpus showed preference to the use of the modifier moderate. The second best is proper, followed by good and normal while polite and good are used the least.


Small UK manual corpus - positive 6 4 2 0 G




polite Muslim(s)

good Muslim(s)

decent Muslim(s)




Table 10. Positive references used in the small manually compiled English corpus of articles

Both the tables and the cumulative data presented at the beginning of this section inadvertently show the big difference in the use of negative versus positive references.

Web-based corpora - positive references 200 100 0

polite Muslim(s)

good Muslim(s)

decent Muslim(s)




Table 11. Positive references in the web-based corpora of articles

When checking the collocation good Muslims on COCA, it brought back 31 hits; good Muslim returned 50; BNC provided 12 results only for the phrase good Muslim in the singular and 0 for the one in the plural. Looking at the uses of moderate to define Muslims in the corpus of the Bulgarian examples created electronically by the BNC, there are 26 hits to be obtained. Thus, the cumulative data gathered from the online corpora shows preference 132

to the use of the positive modifier moderate, followed by good, proper, decent and normal. Polite did not return any hits. As can be seen, all three different corpora are unanimous on the preference on behalf of the media to the use of the modifier moderate. Although considered a positive reference as actually moderate Muslims are usually opposed to radicals and terrorist and comprise the positive member of the opposition Us vs. Them, the very gradation of Islam, a phenomenon that is not noticed in relation to Christianity or Judaism for example, speaks of a different attitude. In addition, it presents the degrees of acceptability of the religion imposed by the majority. At the same time, examples such as the one above, i.e. [89] “Yesterday’s moderate is today’s terrorist’” (DM/21.07.2015) clearly speak of the skepticism generally felt fueled by the cases of radicalisation of common people. The discriminatory nature of the use of moderate to describe Muslims only is expressed in the following example: [97] ‘[…] If it should turn out that the most moderate Muslim unthinkingly propounds a narrative that fuels the fanatic mind…’ said a comment piece last Saturday. It is very common to see the words “moderate Muslims” applied to law-abiding mainstream Muslims. I do not see how it can fail to do real harm, suggesting as it does that they are only moderately Muslim, and that their adherence to Islam (bad) has been moderated by something else (good) – presumably Western values or plain common sense. The implication of that is clear: the real, serious, unmoderated, full-strength Muslims are the ones who murder cartoonists and set up “caliphates” (In/24.01.2015).

The example is significant for two different reasons: on the one hand, it shows that the modifier, although considered positive by the majority, actually presents the modified as possessing the quality described to a lower degree. Thus, in a way a moderate Muslim is not a real Muslim. On the other hand, the example shows the use of two other modifiers which can be applied synonymously to moderate, i.e. mainstream as opposed to radical, and law-abiding as opposed to terrorist. The use of these two, however, is very sporadic: [98] Mainstream Muslim leaders around the world are concerned about the radicalisation of young people, vulnerable to fiery rhetoric that frequently distorts the religion’s true teaching (DM/19.07.2015); [99] The intended message from Charlie Hebdo is conciliatory. We believe that our 133

conception of Mohamed – even if we don’t believe in Allah – is closer to that of mainstream Islam, than that of the intolerant, vengeful, violent Prophet of the jihadists (In/14.01.2015).

The second most frequently used positive descriptor, i.e. good is usually found in examples such as: [100] Те убиват, защото смятат че не са достатъчно добри мюсюлмани” /h/ (‘They kill because they do not think they are good enough Muslims’ – Dn/05.06.2017); [101] Това са млади хора, най-често мъже, мюсюлмани, които се чувстват отхвърлени от страната, в която са родени, и търсят своята идентичност. Те стават лека жертва на проповедници, предлагащи им един по-добър свят, в който те са добрите, героите, силните. (‘These are young people, usually men, who are Muslim, who feel rejected by the country they were born in. These are people looking for their identity. They become an easy victim of imams offering them a better world in which they are the good, the heroic, the strong ones’ – 24ch/17.02.2015); [102] Съпругата на Муса: Той е добър човек, обявиха го за черна овца /h/ […] Въпреки това адвокат Харалампиев смята, че Ахмед Муса не е опасен, тъй като е праволинеен в своите действия (‘Mussa’s wife: “He is a good man, they tarred him as the black sheep” /h/ […] However, his lawyer Haralampiev thinks that Ahmed Mussa is not dangerous as he is very consistent in his acts’ – 24ch/29.11.2014).

As the examples show, the use of good is restricted mostly to cases where the perpetrator is convicted or suspected, or has proven to be radicalised and capable of committing a terrorist act. In the first two examples, the idea of killing of innocents and being radicalised is associated with that of being a good Muslim. In these particular examples being “a good Muslim” is actually something modern society does not agree with. The other example actually presents the opinion of a member of the family of a supposedly radicalised imam in Bulgaria. The woman is convinced that the intentions and the deeds of her husband are decent which again does not agree with the assessment of his actions by the rest of the society. The strategy of using positive descriptors for people who have turned terrorists or have committed such acts is also applied in regard to the adjectives normal, decent and proper: [103] Chérif, a striker, was the more talented, even considering a career as a footballer at one stage. “They laughed and played like normal teenagers,” Alain Lascaux, the president of the club, told The New York Times 134

(In/18.01.2015); [104] “Ние сме нормални мюсюлмани. Празнуваме Рамадан. Имаме три деца и нормален семеен живот”, добавя съпругата на заподозрения (‘We are normal Muslims. We celebrate Ramadan. We have three kids and a normal family life” the suspect’s wife adds’ – Dn/26.06.2016); [105] Ние сме обикновени мюсюлмани. Сега почитаме Рамадан (‘We’re common Muslims. These days we are celebrating Ramadan’ – St/26.06.2015); [106] London terror attacker Khalid Masood ‘had sex with prostitutes and binged on Class A drugs’ /h/Former landlady tells newspaper Masood was a ‘madman’ and ‘not a proper Muslim’ /sh/[…] Khalid Masood, pictured during his school days in Kent, was not ‘a proper Muslim’ despite converting to Islam (In/27.03.2017); [107] При това вече съвсем нямаме “нормални мюсюлмани”, защото виждаме хора да преминават към исляма, без да имат каквито и да било магребски корени […] В действителност не знаеш точно от какво изпитваш страх. Дали от тези, които държат на френската идентичност, или от мюсюлманите (‘At that we can no longer talk about “normal Muslims” because we see people convert to Islam even when they do not have Maghreb roots […] Actually, one does no longer know what to be afraid of. Either of those who stick to their French identity or of Muslims’ – Dn/08.01.2015).

The examples clearly show the distinction between normality professed by European values and the abnormality of radicalisation and terrorism. In most of the articles on converts the stories about their lives before their conversion and radicalisation show how normal and European they used to be. This juxtaposition of values before and after radicalisation, as stated above (see Chapter Four) increases the panic and scare suggesting that no one is immune to radicalisation. Only the last of the examples in this group hints that Islam in its essence does not approve of indiscriminate sex, drug abuse and all negative qualities disapproved by Christianity as well. The opposition between mainstream Islam and its radicalised version is also presented through the binary opposition normality – abnormality. Examples of this kind are encountered in the speech of various officials or political figures: [108] Най-добрият начин да се преборим с ислямския фундаментализъм е със средствата на истинския нормален ислям. Борбата трябва да се води от ислямските духовни лидери. (‘The best way to fight Islamic fundamentalism is by using the means of the true normal Islam. The fight must be fought by the Islamic spiritual leaders’ – Dn/11.04.2015); [109] Ислямският свят не трябва да се демонизира 135

/sh/[…] Огромното мнозинство от мюсюлманите по света са нормални, почтени и мирни хора, кресливите глашатаи на радикалния ислям са едно нищожно малцинство. (‘The Islamic world should not be demonised /sh/[…] The big majority of Muslims all over the world are normal, honest and peaceful people, while the clamorous loud-mouths of radical Islam are a negligible minority’ – Dn/17.01.2015); [110] По отношение на необходимостта от изграждане на ислямски институт Писанчев заяви, че “трябва да поддържаме нормалния ислям и да подкрепяме нормалната вяра на хората” (‘Talking about the necessity of developing an Islamic institute, Pisanchev stated “we should maintain normal Islam and support the normal faith in people” – N/27.11.2014).

People willing to change the existing situation realise that stereotypes must be broken and prejudices dispersed and that people should try to see and understand the cultural Other in order to assure peaceful coexistence which would actually lead to a reduction in the cases of good people falling into the hands of radical imams and being subjected to radical ideas. Trying to see the people for what they truly are, rather than tarring all the members of a religious group with the same brush, is the only way to achieve an inclusive and cohesive society. And that is exactly what the use of positive modifiers aims to do. The analysis of the references used to denote or “charge” the image of Muslims shows excessive presence of predominantly negative references which occur as modifiers with the noun Muslim or as nouns used synonymously to the religious denominator. Thus, all these terms and collocations form an extended frame, which is pronouncedly negative due to the association of most of its members with military actions, or militancy, and violence: terrorist, radical, extremist, jihadist, Islamist, and fanatic, extended further with the inclusion of illegal immigrant, home-grown terrorist and convert. When compared to the data provided by the online corpora it becomes clear that in most cases when the negative references are used without the religious modifier they can be applied to any group or religion. The only exception is observed with the use of jihadist/jihadism, which are explicitly linked solely to Islamic militancy. The existing notion of an equal status of all the analysed negative references is fostered by the media through their use of the terms as contextual synonyms in the articles on Muslims. The negativity in the image of Muslims is further enhanced by the negligible use of positive descriptors. 136

In some of the cases rather than contributing to the framing of a different, more positive image, the references used, even though generally positive, bring negative connotations mostly due to the nuances of meaning they can convey, as in moderate Muslim, good Muslim, or proper Muslim. The negative connotation is also upheld by the existence of degrees of Muslimness suggested through the use of modifiers such as moderate, mainstream, and radical in the media while no such distinction is made in the followers of Christianity or any other religion for that matter. The occurrence of normal follows the same trend of fostering negative associations rather than presenting Muslims in a positive light. The reason for this is the fact that this modifier is used in examples which focus on the normality-abnormality dichotomy in which Islam is presented as its negative member. In addition, in most of the cases the positive references appear in disclaimers trying to show that the people, charged with or accused of committing a terrorist act or some other offense, are actually different than what the law is saying. Positive modifiers are also used to describe the life of the converts before they became radicalised. The cases when the positive references are used literally and in an attempt to show cultural relativism are very few and are presented mostly in the speeches of high officials or political figures. Thus, the overall negative association between Islam, terrorism and Muslims stays.


CHAPTER SIX: THE TROJAN HORSE IN OUR BACKYARD High metaphoricity is presented as one of the characteristics both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse have in common (Fowler 1991; Fairclough 1994; Dobreva 2009c, 2011a; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2013). Metaphors are not only a very powerful tool employed by the media to convey even the slightest nuances of a topic but also an extremely powerful mechanism used to guide thinking and to direct it to a particular set of mental schemes, stereotypes or familiar pictures (Dobreva 2011a: 72). Gibbs (2008: 3) elaborates on this ability of metaphors by stating that the “[m]etaphor is not simply an ornamental aspect of language, but a fundamental scheme by which people conceptualize the world and their own activities”. Metaphors have the ability to present abstract phenomena through more specific and easily understandable ones or to explain regular phenomena in a more intriguing and interesting way (Lindquist 2009). Thus, interethnic relations for example, are presented through notions such as war, medicine, or natural disasters, for example, all concepts that are close to the people they serve (Cheshmedzhieva 2009; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2013). In addition to the metaphor of war and disease, other scholars also mention the employment even of pathological disorder in their framing of the image of Muslims (Lakoff 2001; Steuer, Wills 2008; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2016a, 2016b). That is why metaphors can be defined as ideological, promoting one image over another (Hart 2008). This is also the reason for their study to be considerd “central to critical discourse analysis” (ibid.: 91). Lakoff (1987: xii) and Kövecses (2005: 6) define metaphors as based on personal experience. This is of significance for the study at hand as the different geopolitical, historical and economic realities in the two countries could foster different linguistic expressions in terms of the way the Muslim communities in both countries are perceived. This coincides with Lakoff’s (2008: 26) observations that although metaphors can be considered universal, they are such only at their basic level or as the so-called “primary metaphors”, however, cultural specificities promote “different metaphor systems” which are unique. The latter is further supported by the fact that “conceptual products are never the result of a single mapping” but can be altered and improved 138

under the influence of new experiences regardless of the fact whether they are individual or group (Fauconnier, Turner 2008: 53-54). Sharifian (2011) states that conceptualisations77 are constantly negotiated and re-negotiated across space and time (ibid.: 8) and that discourse is the means to maintain them (ibid.: 5). At the same time, Sharifian also states that although different levels and units of language can somehow “instantiate aspects of […] cultural conceptualisations” (op. cit.: 12) they might “not capture them in totality” (ibid.: 10). Thus, the study of metaphors used in the framing of Muslims in both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse is interesting and important at the same time, as metaphors can reflect both general and culture specific nuances. Furthermore, as metaphors are very productive, there might be versions of one and the same metaphor, employed or developed differently in both discourses. The Orientalist dichotomy built up by the opposition between the West and the Orient, for example, has found an alternative expression in the metaphor of the Clash of Civilisations which has been used to describe the attitudes between the dominant and the minority ethnic groups and as of recently has been used to describe the relationship between the West and Muslims. Although proven groundless, Huntington’s (1993) “Clash of Civilizations” conspiracy continues to account for the hatred Muslims allegedly feel towards Westerners as well as for the reasons of incompatibility and irreconcilability between the West and the East (Haddad 1999; Esposito 2002a). At the same time, the theory put forward by Huntington (1993) is an expressively military one as he advocates arming up of the West in order to defend “Our” superiority. The aspect of this theory which is particularly worrying is the equation between Islamic fundamentalism and Islam in general as a religion (Esposito 2002a). Referring to the same theory Cesari (2011: 40) remarks that contrary to what Huntington claimed, the conflict “does not occur over the nature of the state in Europe, Islamic governance, or the accommodation of Shari’a in the common law. Rather, it concerns lifestyles, gender equality, and the question of homosexuality”. In order to reflect the dynamic nature of cultural phenomena such as “group level cognitive systems” Sharifian (2011: 5) uses the term “conceptualisation” over “concept” which in her opinion is more static. 77


As explained further the differences are not fostered by culture alone, but rather by the different socio-economic conditions that Muslims live in. Another metaphor that dominates the West – Islam relations is the socalled “green peril”, green being the colour of Islam (Hadar 1992; Poole 2002; Hadar 2008). The focus is mostly on the threat that is posed by the religious and cultural character of Islam. Similar to some of the opinions stated above, analysts state that the real reason for the fear felt by the West is the loss of power and the possible spread of “anti-Western sentiments” (Poole 2002: 36). All these have evolved in more recent times into the policy of “War against Terrorism” claimed by each and every country that has suffered a terrorist attack. However, as already proven, religious threat makes a convenient trump card in the hands of the powerful elites and gives them the option to activate another very frequently used metaphor, i.e. Fortress Europe. Thus, new barriers are needed to protect those inside from those outside. WARFARE AS A SOURCE OF METAPHORS As one of the most widely discussed and used metaphors in the framing of the West – Muslim relationship, the applications of the metaphor of War in the current corpus of the Bulgarian and the British media examples will be reviewed first. Consistent with Steuer and Wills (2008) it will be argued that this particular metaphor, as it mostly deals with the War on Terror concept, is of crucial importance as it frames the “the war objects, enemies, and essential terms in ways that shape both perceptions and consequences” (ibid.: xiii). Metaphors can be realised through different linguistic units (Lakoff 1993; Hart 2008; Lindquist 2009; Sharifian 2011). In most of the examples there are several different lexemes that are being employed to trigger the same metaphor and it is difficult for those to be subsumed under only one topic; so they will be discussed in sequence: a. Battle Although there truly are military activities in Syria and other countries dominated by ISIS, the use of the noun in the following examples is metaphorical as it is employed to refer to all measures taken to prevent 140

any possible future terrorist activities. In addition, the reference is not to the events in Syria but to the battle that is fought in order to stop the process of conversion and radicalisation. As the examples inequivocally show, it is a matter of retaining the sanity of ordinary people, the heart and minds of Muslims and the soul of Islam and protecting it from the abstract phenomenon of terrorism: [111] Голямата битка е за сърцата и умовете на мюсюлманите в ЕС /l/ (‘The big battle is for the hearts and the minds of Muslims in the EU’ – St/19.01.2015); [112] The battle for the soul of British Islam /h/ (New Statesman/23.03.2017).

b. War The use of the lexeme in the activation of the metaphor of war has been expected as the general presentation of the Muslim – West relationships is governed by the metaphor of the Clash of Civilisations or the War of the Worlds adopted from the works of S. Huntington and H. G. Wells respectively. Said metaphors can be easily seen in the examples below: [113] Божидар Димитров: Войната на цивилизациите започна /h/(24ch/01.12.2014 – ‘The war of civilisations has started’); [114] Обама: Война на извратения ислям /h/(‘Obama: The war of the perverted Islam’ – Trud/19.02.2015)

c. Fight As the examples show, the war is led not only by mainstream Muslims but by the social media as well, and the enemy presented herewith is an abstract one again – extremism: [115] “Фейсбук” и “Туитър” ще борят онлайн екстремистите, блокират кадрите с обезглавявания /h/(‘Facebook and Twitter will fight online terrorists; they will block any footage of beheadings’ – Trud/09.10.2014); [116] The British Muslims not afraid to fight extremism /h/(In/18.01.2015); see also [124].

d. Combat The active participants and a part of Us in the examples that follow are mostly political leaders, like David Cameron and moderate Muslims: [117] Cameron pledges five-year plan to combat home-grown extremism /h/(DM/20.07.2015); [118] Moderate Muslims have a role to play in


combatting the West’s anti-Islam stance /h/(IbTimes/26.03.2017); see also [8].

e. Defeat The verb used marks the final stage of the war that is being led and thus presents one of the centers which build up the war frame in the presentation of the image of Muslims. [119] The West likes to think that ‘civilisation’ will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise /h/(In/26.07.2015); [120] Our political leaders may be losing the battle against the sadists of ISIS but the decent spirit of ordinary civilised people will never be defeated /h/(DM/29.07.2015).

f. Target In addition to completing the war frame, the lexeme is also very prominent in the presentation of the stereotypical image of the mainstream, moderate Muslims as victims of all negative presentations of the radical part of this religious group (see Chapter Four): [121] Warsi: Cameron wrong to target British Muslims over radicalisation /h/(G/19.06.2015); [122] Terror in Europe: Belgium’s young Muslims are ‘easy targets’ for radicalisation /h/(In/16.01.2015).

g. Clash As stated above the lexeme is very prominent in the Clash of Civilisations metaphor mentioned above and the examples presented herewith mark its direct employment as an aspect of the general metaphor of war: [123] Сблъсък между цивилизации или борба в самия ислям? /h/ (‘A clash of civilisations or a fight within Islam itself’ – 24ch/21.01.2015). h. Enemy: [124] Isis threat: David Cameron to discuss plans to tackle ‘common enemy’ with Indonesia and Malaysia on trip to South East Asia /h/In his recent counter-terror speech, Mr Cameron called the fight against Islamic extremism ‘the struggle of our generation’ /sh/ (In/26.07.2015).

The example features the use of another lexeme from the lexico-thematic field of war, i.e. struggle. i. Victim


Similar to the use of the noun target, discussed above, victim is actively involved in the development of the stereotypical image of Muslims as victims: [125] Експерт: България не е изолирана от кръга държави, заплашени да са следващите жертви на радикалния ислям /h/(‘Expert: Bulgaria is not isolated from the circle of countries threatened to be the next victims of radical Islam’ – 24ch/10.01.2015); [126] Оланд: Мюсюлманите са първите жертви на фанатизма /h/(‘Olande: Muslims are the first victims of fanaticism’ – St/15.01.2015)

j. Munition or fighting gear, including gear for punishment. This group of lexemes triggering the Metaphor of War consists of the biggest variety of examples: [127] David Cameron: We must end Muslim ‘segregation’ to tackle ‘scourge’ of extremism /h/The PM set out a strategy to tackle ‘poisonous ideology’ of fundamentalism /sh/(In/20.07.2015); [128] В примката на френската “Ал Кайда” /h/[…] Освен братята от алжирски произход Шериф и Саид Куаши в касапницата в Париж се включиха още двама членове на тяхната джихадистка клетка – Амеди Кулибали и приятелката му Хайат Бумедиен. (‘In the snare of the French Al’Qaeda /h/[…] In addition to the Algerian brothers Sherif and Said Kouachi, there were two more members of their jihadist cell that participated in the slaughterhouse in Paris – Amedi Coulibali and his girlfriend Hyat Boumedien’ – St/10.01.2015); [129] После се разбра, че въпросният Салман Булгарский, гражданин на Република Татарстан при Руската федерация, е жив и здрав, и продължава да вербува по интернет пушечно месо за джихада в Сирия. (‘At a later stage it was found out that Salman Bulgarskiy, a citizen of the Republic of Tatarstan at the Russian Federation, is alive and kicking and continues recruiting cannon fodder for the jihad in Syria over the Internet’ – St/07.11.2014); [130] PM’s stark warning to Muslims seduced by bogus ‘glamour’ of jihadi fanatics: ‘Don’t be cannon fodder for ISIS’ /h/(DM/19.07.2015); see also [82], [156].

That same idea is further supported by smouldering fanatic crucibles which is used metaphorically to describe the Roma neighbourhoods and the threat they pose in examples [11], [12], and [15] discussed above. The idea of the dangerous and combustible nature of the ghettoes not only in Bulgaria but in other countries as well, is presented metaphorically in: [131] Тенджера под налягане /h/ “Днес е съвсем ясно, че в “Моленбек” има развъдник


на терористи (‘Pressure cooker /h/Today it becomes very clear that there is a breeding ground for terrorists in Molenbeek – St/17.11.2015). k. Conquering, domination, invasion: [132] Ислямът превзема гетата с много пари /h/(‘Islam is taking over the ghettoes with a lot of money’ – St/28.11.2015); [133] EXCLUSIVE: ‘When Muslims form a majority they don’t integrate’: Sydney grandmother and retired Catholic school teacher, 66, defends saying Islam will ‘dominate’ Australia on ABC’s Q&A /h/(DM/28.03.2017); [134] Държавата загуби контрол над гетата /h/(‘The Country lost control over the ghettoes’ – St/27.11.2014); see also [92], [156], [175].

The examples show the variety of linguistic units used as a trigger mechanism for the development of the Metaphor of War. The allusion created is of an all-encompassing battle led on several fronts – legislative (through laws and acts against terrorism), electronic (having mostly to do with the use of the social media and the relay of information), ideological (the West and the western values trying to overcome the omnipresence of Islam). All these metaphorical battles are led in addition to the real one happening in the territories dominated by terrorist groups. Although very diverse in terms of their key notion, it can be stated that the metaphorical expressions in a way personify Islam and terrorism – two abstract phenomena, giving them the status of conquerors and oppressors. Both concepts embody the common enemy the West fights against. Common people, be they mainstream Muslims or in the Bulgarian case Roma in the ghettoes, are reduced to inanimate objects and thus, attributed the lower status of a gear that would serve the goals of the conqueror, i.e. radical Islam. The parts of town where the mainstream Muslims and Roma live are presented as ammunition as they “feed”, to use another metaphor, the supply of fighters to the cause of Islam. The contrast of weaponry is also interesting to note as it seems to be governed by the Orientalist perception of Islam/Muslims as backward. While Westerners/Europeans are presented as fighting with more civilised means that do not leave any casualties, i.e. modern technology, terrorists and extremists use whips (scourge), grenades (clockwork, ticking, powder kegs), cannons, ropes (snare), nets, or knives (slaughterhouse). Radical preachers are also described as youth hunters (see [82]) which further supports the idea of their backwardness and at the same time, hints at the fact that they follow 144

the survival of the fittest motto by targeting the most vulnerable part of mainstream society – its youth. Consistent with the dichotomy Us vs. Them the victims are the European countries that are described as civilised, along with moderate Muslims. The use of blood bath (as in [135] Нова кървава баня в Нигерия с 50 убити /h/(‘A new blood bath in Nigeria. 50 killed’ – Trud/06.07.2015), rivers of blood in [174] and slaughterhouse in [128] focus on the savagery of the conquerors as well as on the fact that victims are meaningless to them even more so as they are just a means to the goal. The association with a lot of blood being spilled, the blood of innocents, indirectly hints at the metaphor presenting Islam and terrorism as a supernatural being which is reviewed below. In addition to the lexemes triggering the metaphor of war above, there are also two verbs that are extensively used in both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse: tackle and counter: [136] Tackling Islamist extremism: What the UK can learn from Denmark /h/The Scandinavian country’s radical Aarhus model aims to rehabilitate jihadis with counselling and reintegrate them into society /sh/(In/20.07.15); [137] Ali, Khan, Deen and Dilwar Hussain all agree that ultimately the only way to counter this kind of bigotry and intolerance is to forge a new and recognisably British interpretation of Islam. […] A British version of Islam that embraces British culture, rather than seeking to eradicate it, will need to dispel the perception among Muslims that western foreign policy is the root cause of violent extremism (In/18.01.2015); [138] Затова ислямофобията е вид дискриминация, разделяща човечеството, затова и западните партньори трябва да се борят както с тероризма, така и с това негативно явление. (‘That is the reason why Islamophobia is a type of discrimination that divides people and that is the reason why Western partners should tackle both terrorism and this negative phenomenon’ – Trud/ 20.01.2015).

Although the two lexemes are not directly linked with the discourse of war, they imply an effort or a counter action to prevent extremist ideology, thereby terrorism, from entering the continent or the country in question. At the same time, example [137] presents the opinion of the British Muslims, who regard western policy as the main cause for extremism, and the awareness the British Muslims have of being viewed with suspicion. The only possible way to counter these attitudes is presented through the 145

use of military language again. The reference to the forging of a new type of Islam brings connotations of a weapon devised to fight radicalisation and extremism. The examples clearly foster the framing of the negative image of Muslims by presenting them as enemies and strengthening the existing association between the group and terrorism. Thus, the main aim is to stigmatise radicalism and denigrate Islamists. At the same time, however, this rhetoric of war against Islam is one of the “narratives” used extensively by the more radical members of the community in order to convert the moderate Muslims to being more extreme or radical in their views. The language of the media further supports the historical evidence used by radical preachers as a “narrative of humiliation” of West’s aggressive design from conflict zones: Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir […] Reinforcing these are the metaphorical wars – disputes over headscarf; Mohammed cartoon and countless other controversies. All these conflicts and controversies, big and small, act like streams feeding a single river (Ranstorp 2010: 11; see also Korteweg et al. 2010: 32).

Thus, the media and their belligerent language justify the idea of humiliation of Islam and could trigger the process of radicalisation. All this gives Ranstorp the reason to conclude that “[t]errorism is invariably the ‘propaganda of the deed’ and the media has often been charged as being the ‘oxygen’ of terrorism” (Ranstorp 2010: 15). In two of the examples, the metaphor of War has been used in a positive way to express the intensity in the outpour of affection and sympathy for people who have been unjustly denigrated: [139] A Muslim community in Sweden that faced a series of Islamophobic attacks recently has been taken aback after residents ‘love-bombed’ the local mosque in an outpouring of support (In/02.01.2015).

Examples like the last one are very few though, and do not contribute to a possible change in the idea expressed by the analysed metaphor. They are mostly viewed as exceptions confirming the rule. Due to the frequent terrorist attacks that happen all over the world and particularly as a result of some references made in the media to a Syrian 146

attacker, the enemies that the metaphor visualised were overgeneralised as immigrants and refugees who have taken advantage of the immigrant crisis in Europe and the lenient border controls. Thus, the terrorism that Europe fought against got transferred as a characteristic to immigrants and refugees in general. Outright declarations of war were published: [140] France is at war (In/16.11.2015) uttered by Francois Hollande. Walls and physical barriers were being erected as in a real battle with a new enemy – Syrian refugees. Actually, refugees are not really a new public devil figure as back in 2002 Cohen defined them along with asylum seekers as the new fear of society at the time (Cohen 2002a: xviii). Although there is no change in perception, there is a change in the characteristics as the reality of 2015-2016 as well as that of 2017 adds terrorism and Islam to the general image of the immigrant, refugee, convert, or returnees – all possible new devils that pose a threat to the society they live in: [141] Polish PM: London terror attack is about Britain’s refugee policy /h/It is ‘impossible not to connect’ terror and migration, says right-wing politician /sh/[…] It has since emerged that the attacker, Khalid Masood, was born in Kent as Adrian Russell Elms, before later changing his name. […] French National Front leader Marine Le Pen told both BFM TV and RMC radio: “The problem we have nowadays is this form of low-cost terrorism”. She added “we must control our borders” (I/24.03.2017).

The new moral panic, to use Cohen’s term (2002a) is further hyped up by the use of the Trojan horse metaphor as well as that of the fifth column (see also Lazarova 2004; Dobreva 2009c; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2012, 2016a, 2016b, 2017c): [142] Mr Trump, however, has accused Syrian refugees of threatening Americans’ safety […] He added that they could be a “Trojan horse” for Isis to get into the US (I/07.04.2017); [143] Методи Андреев: Пред вратите на България чука една голяма опасност – радикалният ислям /h/(‘Metodi Andreev: a big threat is knocking at the door of Bulgaria – radical Islam’ – Trud/17.01.2015); see also [161].

While the Bulgarian media describe refugees as a threat, hinting at the possibility of radicals infiltrating the country through the door, making allusions to the gates of Troy being opened to the wooden horse, the president Donald Trump explicitly defines Syrian refugees as a Trojan horse serving the interests of ISIS. 147

This discourse of the invisible threat posed by disguised refugees or converts is further developed through the inclusion of Muslim schools as channels of radicalisation: [144] Trojan Horse schools are ‘still under threat’ /h/Schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham are in danger of falling to extremists again, chief schools’ inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned. /l/(In/28.01.2015); [145] Апелативен съд затвори училище по ислям в Кърджали /h/(‘An appeal court closed a school in Islam in Kurdzhali’ /h/– 24ch/13.03.2015).

Although the Bulgarian example does not explicitly state the function of the school as a Trojan horse in its headline, in the main body of the article itself there are various references to its possible role as a source of radicalisation, such as the presence of illegal foreigners, one of whom was an imam who although without legal personal documents, taught Qur’an at the school. Moreover, the Qur’an courses were not available to everybody but to selected individuals only and they were advertised and conducted only in Turkish. Two Syrian kids were also found in the school and then once the authorities started investigating the activities of the institution, were taken out of the country. The suggestion of a Trojan horse is enhanced further in some other articles which drew the readers’ attention to the fact that Ahmed Mussa, who was convicted of preaching radical Islam, had attended a school for imams in the village of Surnitsa. Thus, the link between Muslim schools and radicalisation is established based on implicit background information. MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY AS SOURCES OF METAPHORS In addition to the domain of war, some of the examples use lexemes characteristic of the domain of medicine and biology. Extremism is presented as a poison, perversion and a warped doctrine: [146] След атентата на плажа: Тунис затваря 80 джамии заради отровата на тероризма /h/(‘After the attack on the beach: Tunisia closes 80 mosques because of the poison of terrorism’ – 24ch/28.06.2015); [147] Clegg said that if the gunmen were two individuals who had “perverted the cause of Islam to their own bloody ends” then “the greatest antidote to the perversion of that great world religion, Islam, are law abiding British 148

Muslims themselves”. (In/08.01.15); [148] По-важният въпрос обаче е защо тази перверзия се оказва толкова привлекателна за млади хора, израсли в европейските метрополии [...] (‘The more important question, however, is why this perversion has proven to be so attractive to young people who have grown-up in the European metropolises’ – 24ch/21.01.2015); [149] And let’s remember that it’s only the extremists who divide people into good Muslims and bad Muslims, by forcing their warped doctrine onto fellow Muslims and telling them that it is the only way to believe (In/20.07.2015).

As the examples show, the metaphor Terrorism/Extremism is Poison is developed further through the presence of an antidote in the face of moderate Muslims. There is a slight discrepancy in example [146] where the antidote is meant to cure a perversion of a kind, which is theoretically not possible in reality. It can be assumed, however, that in this case perversion can generally stand for mental instability or illness, which can be treated through some medications. Therefore, the focus of the association with poison is on the deadliness, while the one with perversion, is on insanity and clouded conscience, which in itself further support the normality-abnormality binary discussed above78. Further into the domain of medicine and touching on the domain of biology, terrorism is presented as a living organism that develops; it is also described as having cells that split and grow, some of its cells are active, while others are simply described as ‘sleepers’: [150] Forget David Cameron’s five-year plan on terrorism, you know who would really be good at countering home-grown, violent Islamist extremism? (In/20.07.2015); [151] Experts predict that ISIS will soon awaken sleeper cells in Western countries to carry out terrorist attacks /sh/(DM/30.06.2015); [152] Several members of the Isis cell of gunmen and suicide bombers who attacked the Stade de France, the Bataclan and a string of cafes and restaurants on 13 November – at least one of whom is still on the run – lived in Molenbeek, an area with a longstanding reputation as a hotbed of extremism (G/21.11.2015); [153] Той е категоричен, че има действащи клетки на ИД в България (‘He is certain that there are active cells of ISIL in Bulgaria’ – Trud/13.10.2014).

See also the topical distribution of articles (Chapter Four), as well as What’s in a Name (Chapter Five) analysed above. 78


The metaphor is expressed in a similar way in both media discourses which shows overlapping of thinking patterns and conceptions. The use of homegrown itself as a modifier to terrorism already activates the metaphor associating the latter, an abstract concept, with living organisms, such as the people who have converted to Islam and started practicing its more radical version. Developing the metaphor further and presenting it as a subsection of the more generic metaphor Society is a Living Organism, the media discourses in both countries present terrorism as cells which through malignant growth or abnormal division, turn into a cancer for the society they attack. As stated in the examples, however, cancer can be removed when diagnosed on time and the organism can survive: [154] In my opinion, we have a considerable number of extremists within our midst – I call it a cancer within – and we have to be very, very strong, we need to cut out that cancer within before it becomes terminal […] (In/30.03.2015).

As a modification to the idea of terrorism being presented as a cancer for the general society, radical ideology is also compared to the Ebola virus and the plague both of which can cause the death of the contaminated person, though, they can also be cured: [155] Джихадът като ебола /h/[…] Скоростта, с която се разпространява радикалният ислям по света, може да се сравни с тази на вируса ебола. За жалост и двете явления са смъртоносни, но не и неизлечими! (‘Jihad as Ebola /h/[…] The speed of spreading of radical Islam all over the world can be compared to the one of the Ebola virus. Unfortunately, both phenomena are lethal, however, not incurable’ – St/03.12.2014); [156] Тероризмът е новата чума на XXI век /h/(‘Terrorism is the new plague of 21st century /h/’ – Trud/20.01.2015); see also [62].

The metaphorical expression here is interesting as it was not long ago that the Ebola virus was metaphorically described as the plague of the century, similar to AIDS/HIV before it. This shows the remapping of domains that occurs and the change in perception. Nowadays, neither AIDS nor Ebola are considered that threatening while the plague continues to be associated with death, even though it has long vanished from the continent. The idea of the deadly virus has been transferred to terrorism as the biggest threat of this century. However, as the examples state, some 150

people consider themselves immune to it (see [62]) while others look for rehabilitation (see [136]). The disease metaphor used here is also very prolific in articles on ethnic groups or articles built around the dichotomy Us vs. Them (the Others). In the corpus of analysed articles, however, the distinction is in accordance with the trichotomy discussed above (see Otherness) in which the moderate Muslims are seen as part of Us, the positive member of the opposition and that is why they are attributed the qualities of a cure. At the same time, when the perspective is changed from an including (promulticulturalism) to an excluding (anti-multiculturalism) in which Muslims are regarded as a homogeneous group and both moderate and radical Muslims are considered bad, intruders, and aliens, then the metaphor of disease, exemplified as cancer, is applied to the whole group. This approach is very characteristic of Islamophobic speech. Further into the topic, a fraction of Islam is presented as a syndrome, as a strain, in addition to a virus, while Islamic State and its ideology are presented as a low life with tentacles that finds a breeding ground to hatch its progeny and reproduce: [157] Мрежата на проповедника Ахмед Муса Ахмед е пуснала пипалата си също в пловдивския квартал “Столипиново” и в ромската махала в Асеновград. […] Миналата година Ахмед Муса получи втората си присъда за участие в българския клон на саудитската фондация “Ал Уакф ал ислами”, но в същото време по мнението на прокуратурата е станал и пропагандист на най-опасния враг на саудитската династия – ИДИЛ. […] Затова срещу опасността вирусът на джихада да плъзне в ромските гета водеща роля трябва да играят Главното мюфтийство, социалните организации, местните власти и държавните институции. […] Салафитският синдром в Пазарджик е преплетен и с по-широкия и тежък ромски проблем. [...] Необходим е комплексен и сериозен подход, който да обърне внимание на цъкащите в гетата бомби. (‘The network of the imam Ahmed Mussa Ahmed has spread its tentacles in the Plovdiv quarter of Stolipinovo as well as in the Roma quarter in Asenovgrad […] Last year, Ahmed Mussa received his second verdict for his participation in the Bulgarian branch of the Saudi foundation Al-Uakf al Islami because, based on the opinion of the prosecutor’s office, at the same time he had become a propagandist of the worst enemy of the Saudi dynasty – ISIL […] That is why the leading role in the prevention of the spread of the jihadi virus in the Roma ghettoes are the 151

Grand Mufti, social organisations, local authorities and state institutions […] The syndrome of Salafism in Pazardzhik is interwoven with the bigger and heavier Roma problem […] A complex and serious approach is necessary to pay attention to the bombs ticking in the ghettoes’ – St/02.04.2015); [158] Through its UK-based adherents, this puritanical strain of Islam has taken on a life of its own here with a proliferation of Islamic teaching institutions, activist groups and Islamic satellite channels (In/18.01.2015); [159] Islamic State expected to hatch further plots in next few weeks (DM/27.06.2015); [160] The breeding ground for jihadis where even the ice cream lady wears a burka: How Dewsbury, the once great textile town of the North, has undergone a terrifying transformation /h/(DM/17.06.2015); [161] Segregated areas in some of Britain’s towns and cities have become a breeding ground for ‘poisonous far right and Islamist extremists’, David Cameron warned (DM/21.07.2015); see also [131].

The Bulgarian media discourse provides an extension which is worth noting: the progeny of Islamist ideology is hunted as an animal and can eventually be caught (see [96]). At the same time, consistent with the presentation of terrorism as a living organism, it also has a brain that leads the body: [162] 29-годишната Александрина Ангелова, която в Пазарджишкия съд беше обявена за „мозъка” на групата около Ахмед Муса, излезе извън контрол. (‘The 29-year-old Aleksandrina Angelova, whom the Court in Pazardzhik declared the brain of the group around Ahmed Mussa got out of control’ – N/04.12.2014). In other cases, radicalism is presented as a plant with various branches. It has seeds which can be planted, they can grow and eventually be eradicated or rooted out (see [137]): [163] Radical Muslim dubbed ‘founding father of western jihad’ reveals how he now regrets opening the door to ISIS /h/[…] Describes the violent seeds he once planted in young minds as like a ‘virus with which we infected a generation. Now it has proliferated’ /sh/(DM/14.06.2015); see also [13].

The same metaphor has been used to present the negative attitude towards Muslims and the way Islamophobia spreads: [164] Twitter and Facebook ‘allowing Islamophobia to flourish’ as anti-Muslim comments proliferate /h/(In/02.01.2015). The similarity between radicalism and Islamophobia is the fact that both eventually bring negativism to their objects, i.e. 152

radicals usually end up dead while the objects of Islamophobia are denigrated and discriminated against. Furthermore, terrorism is presented as a supernatural creature which is sometimes exotic, at other times, threatening and scary. The frame in this case, similar to the associations with disease, is complete as the ghost or the demon has a haunt where it can reside and the results of its actions can be seen: [165] Путин: Джинът на тероризима е пуснат от бутилката, но ще преборим и него /h/(‘Putin: The jinn of terrorism has been let loose from the bottle but we will fight it as well’ – 24ch/15.02.2015); [166] Демони зад маската на исляма /h/(‘Demons behind the mask of Islam’ – St/09.01.2015); [167] Джамията „Абу Башар” е свърталище (‘The mosque Abu Bashar is a haunt’ – Trud/26.11.2014).

The examples feature a mixture of Muslim and Christian cultural codes. In one of the examples terrorism is defined as a jinn, which in Arabian mythology is ‘any of a class of spirits, lower than the angels, capable of appearing in human and animal forms and influencing humankind for either good or evil’ (EOLD) or can be related to the jinn of Aladdin, which is a reference that most of the readers are familiar with. The latter, however, is not something that would easily be associated with malice or a threat. The focus of that metaphoric use is on the omnipotence of the entity, a fact which is also hinted through the use of the verb fight as a way to counteract it. In another example the terrorists are presented as demons ‘[a]n evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell’ (EOLD). Although having some similarities to a jinn, a demon is mostly related to the Christian understanding of hell and would be perceived as scarier than the Arabian mythological spirit. The idea of the deadliness and savagery of terrorists is metaphorically presented through a supernatural creature in another example from the Bulgarian media discourse as well: [168] Франция търси кървавата булка (ОБЗОР) /h/ (‘France is looking for the bloody bride (Review)’ – St/10.01.2015). The latter metaphor brings associations with a vampire as intertextually it can relate to the wives of Count Dracula. This is consistent with the attributed ferocity of terrorists and the great number of lives they take which is further supported by the metaphoric use of blood bath in [135]. 153

None of the last three metaphoric uses has been encountered in the analysed media discourses on Muslims or interethnic/interreligious relations so far. The goal of these linguistic choices is clear – to emphasise the strength and deadliness of terrorists and terrorism. TRANSPORT AS A SOURCE OF METAPHORS Another new metaphor which has not been noticed in the media discourse before has to do with transportation: [169] Crackdown on non-violent extremism which acts as ‘gateway’ to terrorism /sh/(DM/21.07.2015); [170] Турция като че ли успя да защити границите си с Ирак и Сирия. По този начин беше пресечена т.нар. „джихадска магистрала”. (‘It seems that Turkey has managed to protect its borders with Iraq and Syria. Thus, the so-called jihadist highway was blocked’ – EkipNews/31.03.2017); [171] Хасковският съд остави под подстоянен арест диспечери на радикален ислям /h/(‘The court in Haskovo left dispatchers of radical Islam under permanent arrest’ – 24ch/19.12.2014).

Although the metaphor has not been used before, it is noticed both in the Bulgarian and the British media discourse which shows similarity in perception: the ways to infiltrate the country or the continent are presented as a gate or a highway both of which foster easy access if they are not blocked. The Bulgarian media discourse features another nuance to the transportation metaphor adding the figure of the dispatcher who makes the whole process easier by delivering the ideology right to those who can most easily be influenced by it. DISASTERS AS SOURCES OF METAPHORS Disasters such as floods, waves, overflowing rivers and swamps, which became the source of some very frequently used metaphors in articles on ethnic groups and immigrants in particular, also find their application in the media discourse on religion. Islam is presented as a swamp which is conducive of associations with a cul-de-sac. Once in it, a person cannot get out. People are engulfed by it and are doomed. [172] By contrast, Mr Adam, Mr Petry and Mr Gauland want the AfD to ‘open itself to people who fear being swamped by Islam’, according to an 154

internal memo leaked to the media (In/06.01.15); [173] ‘There is no solution except Jihad in the path of Allah’: Leader of Somali terror group Al-Shabaab sends out chilling call for fresh wave of terror attacks across east Africa /h/(DM/27.07.2015); [174] Проблемът за бежанската вълна, която ни залива в последната година, придоби фрапантни измерения и постави на дневен ред редица опасности, които нямаме право да премълчим. […] заедно с бежанците съществува реална опасност в България да се инфилтрират редица терористи, представители на радикални групи, с непредсказуеми последици за националната сигурност (‘The problem of the wave of refugees that keeps flooding us for the past year, has reached striking dimensions and has brought to the agenda an array of dangers we can no longer keep silent about […] There is a real danger for a number of terrorists, members of radical groups to infiltrate the country along with the refugees, which would have inconceivable consequences for the national security – St/10.11.2014); [175] Ислямисти плашат Кения с реки от кръв след клане на 148 души /h/(‘Having slaughtered 148 people, Islamists threaten Kenia with rivers of blood – Trud/04.04.2015); [176] В Западна Европа например е налице вълна от джихад туристи, поемащи към халифата на Абу Бакр ал Багдади. За зла участ именно от западна посока у нас нахлу уахабитската мода. […] (‘In Western Europe for example we witness a wave of jihadi tourists, heading to the caliphate of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Unfortunately, it was exactly from the west that the new trend of Wahhabism invaded our country […]’ – St/02.04.2015).

The associations here are very clear: the impossibility of the devastating natural strength and even fury of the water element to be tamed. In a similar way, terrorism and terrorists cannot be stopped and counteracted. The expression rivers of blood adds the big amount of victims to the whole devastating power of terrorism. The examples presented in this section, however, feature some differences: while in most of the cases in which there is a reference to the movement of water, the threat comes from the east (Asia), which is considered the homeland of terrorism in general, though example [176] presents the threat as advancing from the west (Europe). The reason is the circular movement that is expected. Using the metaphoric language of the examples, the following summary can be made: radical ideas coming from the East find fertile soil in the West, they develop there, bear fruit in the shape of converts willing to fight for ISIS, they move eastward to join their “creators” contaminating others along the 155

way, and having served with ISIS they can go back west and continue their deadly deeds there or be rehabilitated. To sum up, the analysis on the metaphors employed by both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse shows more similarities than differences in the domains used and the thinking patterns employed. As the variety of examples has shown, in addition to some already established metaphors generally used in the description of interethnic/interreligious relations, such as the Metaphor of War, Disease and Disasters presented through the Water metaphor, there are some new metaphors that have made their way into the media discourse – the metaphor related to transport and supernatural being. The fact that these new metaphors have been found in both discourses speaks of common thinking patterns or the influence of globalisation on communication channels and the transfer of information. Despite of the source domain used for the development of each particular metaphor, the goal of the authors using said expressions is very clear: all metaphors frame the negative image of Muslims mostly due to their associations with terrorism and radicalism. The image thus established is charged with all negative connotations brought up by the references to the big quantities of blood terrorism requires, its untamed nature, insanity, savagery while at the same time, the metaphors convey its clandestine nature, the speed of its spread, its contagiousness, its very strict organisation, and basically its deadliness.


CHAPTER SEVEN: PICTURES IN OUR HEADS Stereotypes are types of mental images which help people arrange and understand the world and the events happening around them by making them simpler and easier to comprehend (Lippman 1922; Dobreva 2011a; Svartvik 2013). In principle, stereotypes are culturally dependent as they are transferred from generation to generation through myths, legends, folklore, or just common wisdom. All this gives scholars the reason to talk about group, or cultural stereotypes79. There are, however, individual stereotypes which are the result of the experience of each individual. In some cases, individual stereotypes can be totally different from the group ones, simply because a person’s own knowledge and experience differ from the communal ones. The reason for this is interpersonal communication80, exchange of know-how and ideas, and the possibility of free passage of people, all of which foster the development of such new experiences. Globalisation on the other hand, as well as the fast development of technologies, on the other, contribute to the exchange of views, opinions and ideas and thus lead to the establishment of similar thinking patterns, or self-sustaining cognitive strategy, as Downing and Husband (2005: 9) call them. The latter in their turn, help disperse some of the previously existing stereotypes and foster the establishment of new ones that start functioning in their stead. The reason for stereotypes to exist is the natural desire of every group to maintain a positive image of itself and a negative image of Them and thus justify any actions the group might take against the Other. That is the reason why, it is very difficult to change a negative stereotype (Dobreva 2011a). As Downing and Husband (2005) explain, as we do not generally mix but rather try to avoid people we dislike, it is very unlikely that we will change our existing stereotypes about them81. Thus, personal contact is important in the process of altering a preconceived idea. However, even Stangor and Shaller (1996: 4) distinguish two approaches in the analysis of stereotypes: individualistic (in the mind of the individual) and cultural (transferred through generations and part of one’s culture). 80 According to Hurst (2007), one of the main reasons for the establishment of stereotypes is the lack of interpersonal contact. 81 As Hyland (2010: 5) states “[o]nce the brain has a frame highlighted, the image sticks”. 79


in the cases where people encounter a person or a fact that defies the stereotypes they have selected as valid, people generally tend to think that the exception simply confirms the rule and thus dismiss it rather than correct the stereotype (Allport 1954; Downing, Husband 2005). Svartvik (2013: 5) explains this phenomenon as subtyping, i.e. “the atypical person is not classified as a ‘normal’ representative of the group, but as ‘different.’” At the same time, even if a stereotype eventually gets changed on a personal level, it is almost impossible, or at least it takes a very long time, for it to be altered on a group level and this is especially true of racial or religious stereotypes. The reason for the latter is the fact that stereotypes usually generalise a whole group and not a separate individual. Put in a different way a person judges the others as category members and not as individuals (Svartvik 2013: 4). The social roles attributed to stereotypes are also important to review. As it has already been suggested, stereotypes have a cognitive (providing information about the world), affective (they are always emotionally charged) and motivational (they guide people’s minds within specific schematic frames)82 function, all of which are widely employed by the media (Dobreva 2011a: 67-68) in order to convey the various nuances in the attitudes on a discussed topic. Based on the source of the stereotypes, a distinction between heterostereotypes and autostereotypes can be made. The former exist to describe the Other, while the latter, define one’s own group. Based on the information they convey and the charge of that information, there is a further division into positive and negative stereotypes (Dobreva 2011a). The latter can be expressed as prejudices, bias or bigotry. Bearing in mind that the focus of this book is on the religious Other, while the source of information analysed, is the media discourse in Bulgaria and the UK, it can be assumed that the majority of stereotypes analysed in this section of the book will be representatives of the group of negative heterostereotypes (see also Weber et al. 2013). The reason for this assumption is the fact that it is the mainstream media in both countries that are being analysed, while the subject of the articles are members of a Quasthoff (1989) mentions the same functions with the only difference that she calls the last one social. 82


religious community regarded different from the majority populating each of the countries. Thus, it is a matter of majority describing a minority group. Several scholars have attempted to isolate specific core stereotypes (topoi) that characterise dominant Western representations of Islam. The rich countries from the East, for example, are associated with two different stereotypes: one is of the so-called “ideal, pure Arab” – “some imaginary noble Bedouin roaming the desert, unspoilt by modernity, which now is ‘marred’ by the Gulf Arabs’ participation in the ‘impure’ modern world” (Klein 2009) and the exotic idea of “mega-rich ‘oil sheikhs’ driving goldplated cars while chatting on diamond-studded phones and wearing jewellery worth the GDP of small countries are legion”. These two stereotypes and the idea of economic power accumulated only by virtue of location and natural resources associated with them also meets the derision of the West as it is easier, as Klein (2009) has put it, to pump oil, rather than develop culture or produce something. Abbas (2011: 71) states that the general stereotypes Muslims are being presented with in the media are influenced mostly by the events from 11 September 2001 and the attacks on the London metro on 7 July 2005 and thus include “characteristics such as ‘terrorists,’ ‘suicide bombers,’ people who are ‘anti-West,’ and ‘oppressors’”83. In a similar way, Karim (2006) adds that although the attacks from 11 September 2001 were something unique they were still framed in well-established cognitive scripts using the association between violence, terrorism and Muslims. As he states “[t]he dominant discourses about these issues shape the cognitive scripts for reporting the acts of terrorism carried out by people claiming to act in the name of Islam” (ibid.: 125). Poole (2002: 18) similarly thinks that Muslims are homogenized as backward, irrational, unchanging, fundamentalist, misogynist, threatening, manipulative in the use of their faith for political and personal gain, and yet with politically unstable governments and movements.

To these ideas Richardson (2004: 14-15) adds that “sex, violence, the cunning of Muslims and the irrationality of Islam continue to be key stereotypical argumentative themes – or topoi – useful in derogating Islam”. Allan concludes that all Muslims “without distinction are widely 83

See also Shaw (2012).


seen as the enemy within (others, ‘sleepers’, fifth column) as well as without (‘axis of evil’, ‘green menace’)” (Allen 2005: 51). In addition, as mentioned in Chapter Three, Taha (2014: 4-5) spells out three stereotypical images that the media seem to be favouring: the terrorist, the veiled woman and the demon demagogue. Compared to the stereotypes already found in previous studies, current analysis of the Bulgarian and the British media discourse shows some similarities as well as differences in the stereotypes employed by them. THE MUSLIM TERRORIST Based on the above it can be concluded that the resort to the terrorist stereotype in the media is one of the most frequently encountered strategies in the development of the image of Muslims (Said 1997; Lakoff 2001; Poole 2002; Richardson 2004; Cheshmedzhieva 2010; Nurullah 2010; Kabir, Bourk 2012; Shaw 2012; el-Aswad 2013; Saleem 2013; Steiner 2013). The reason for the fossilisation of this stereotype as mentioned in the topical analysis of the articles as well (Chapter Four), is the extensive coverage of terrorist activities not only outside the country of origin but also within it when such events have occurred. Scholars unanimously state that terrorism and the perception of all Muslims as potential terrorists or attributing a Muslim perpetrator to any incident connected with mass killings, hostages, bombs, and attacks is a very prominent feature in most of the newspaper publications and has made terrorism a part of Muslim identity, fossilising this image into a stereotype84. Some of the examples already analysed explicitly state the link between Islam and terrorism: [89] “[…] Yesterday’s moderate is today’s terrorist’” (DM/21.07.2015)85. The analytical construction attributes high truth value to the statement and makes it look like a fact. In addition, the extensive use of the lexeme terrorist, along with its interchangeability with jihadist, A point that Poole (2002) stresses upon is the continued resort to the Orientalist discourse in the British media in demonising Muslims which contributes to the establishment of the idea of the stereotypical enemy even when the coverage lacks the explicit mentioning of Islam. As she states: “the media as an instrument of public ideology demonizes Islam, portraying it as a threat to Western interests, thus reproducing, producing and sustaining the ideology necessary to subjugate Muslims both internationally and domestically” (Poole 2002: 17). 85 See also example [209]. 84


radical, and extremist as shown above, only emphasises the existing association. The terrorist stereotype is further established implicitly through some statements which are used as apparent admissions86, such as: [177] It sits at the back of progressives’ minds too, the kind of people who think it’s not good to generalise, and that there are definitely lots of nice Muslims, but still … (G/27.03.2017); [178] Разбира се, огромното мнозинство мюсюлмани по света са мирни хора, които искат да живеят в разбирателство и мир с останалите. […] Но е факт също така, че 99% от мюсюлманите по света, включително тяхната умерена и просветена интелигенция, предпочита да замълчи по отношение на тези събития, предпочита да не ги осъжда (‘Naturally, the big majority of Muslims all over the world are peaceful people who want to live in peace and understanding with the rest. […] But it is also a fact that 99% of the Muslims around the world, including their moderate and erudite intelligentsia prefer to keep silent about these events and not to condemn them’ – Dn/29.01.2015).

While the first example presents the juxtaposition clearly, the second one hints at the fact that if Muslims do not condemn acts of terrorism that means they support them and thus they are considered a part of Them, part of the evil mainstream society fights against. The last example, [178], also hints at another preconceived idea generally held by mainstream society expressed through the saying “If you are not with us, then you are against us”. This also has to do with the constant requests on behalf of the mainstream society for Muslims to be “more British”, to “adhere to the British values” as exemplified above in [76] and [77]. Another implicit way of stressing on the stereotype is through the use of disclaimers that try to distinguish moderate, mainstream Muslims from the terrorists or such that try to show that not all Muslims are like that87: [179] Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims. This is not the case. Nope, not really. The man then claimed that not enough Muslims were Reisgl and Wodak (2001: 19-21) using Quasthoff’s (1973, 1987) classification distinguish between four types of stereotypical expressions: analytical expression, modified (restricted) statement, direct stereotypes, implicit expression of stereotypes (qtd. in). Van Dijk (1991) in his turn defines three different types of discursive strategies generally used by the members of the majority so that they might not sound biased: apparent admission, apparent denial, transfer, and contrast. 87 See also Chapter Four. In addition, the wrong stereotype of the homogeneous nature of Muslim communities will be discussed below. 86


speaking out against it (In/27.03.2017). This last example combines two different strategies of promoting the stereotype – first, the statement that has constantly been reiterated by non-Muslims that “all terrorists are Muslim” and then, the need of disclaimers mentioned by the author. It should be clarified that the view presented in the example does not belong to the journalist writing the article as is evident from the negation following the implicit stereotype, but presents the opinion of a teacher sharing his view on the issue of terrorism and its relation to Islam with a Muslim student. The stereotype of the Muslim terrorists is reinforced further by the constant attention to physical appearance. Traits, such as the so-called Muslim beard, Arab clothes, burka, veil or any other type of face/head cover momentarily trigger the terrorist/radical frame in non-Muslim’s minds88. The latter has been exemplified in various excerpts from articles in both the Bulgarian and the British press as well as by the non-verbal elements that are constantly employed – pictures focusing on the appearance of terrorists. Descriptions, such as [180] “He grew a beard, wore Islamic dress and would even brush his teeth with a twig” (DM/20.06.2015) or [181] “a heavy beard and wearing traditional Muslim headdress” (DM/26.07.2015)89 as well as using the expression “Allah Akbar”, which has also become stereotypical of Muslim terrorists, only fossilise the association. Thus, growing a beard is presented as a stereotypical exhibition of radicalisation. Terrorists are described, or if visuals are employed, they are presented as heavily-bearded, with a thick beard, featuring Salafi beard, or simply as bearded. In consistence with the Orientalist imagery terrorists are stereotypically presented as savage. The latter has been commented on in the section on metaphors as well as in the topical distribution of articles above. The references to the rivers of blood terrorists threaten common people with as well as the metaphoric use of the bloody wife provide implicit references to the stereotype of the savage terrorist. The latter has also been explicitly presented through the direct use of modifiers, such as inhuman and barbaric:

Beards, burkas and traditional Arabic clothes are also something frequently mentioned in the description of converts or home-grown terrorists (see Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2015). 89 See also example [199]. 88


[182] What turns young men into such barbarians? As another attack claims British lives, MAX PEMBERTON asks why so many have been drawn to such savagery /h/What can drive someone to commit such needless acts of barbarity? Were they born deranged killers or has something gone disastrously wrong in their minds? While there can be no excuse for such craven acts of sickening brutality, we need to find answers to these questions (DM/28.06.2015); [183] ISIS barbarians lured 115 people to their deaths with promise of cheap ice in sweltering conditions... before detonating a truck packed with explosives /h/(DM/20.07.2015); [184] How we can beat these evil butchers: MAX HASTINGS says GCHQ are our best hope of keeping Britain safe from murderous Islam /h/(DM/28.07.2015); [185] Нагла и безчовечна, варварската касапница, при която загинаха толкова много хора в редакцията на сатирично списание в Париж, показва само едно – че светът след 11 септември 2001 г. е друг и човешката цивилизация все още не е открила как да се брани от подобни терористични атаки. […] (‘The impudent and inhuman, barbaric butchery which took the lives of so many people in the editor’s offices of the satirical magazine [Charlie Hebdo] in Paris, comes to show only one thing – that the world after 11 September 2001 is different and that human civilisation has not as of yet found a way to protect itself from such terrorist attacks’ – 24ch/07.01.2015).

The vulgarity and degradation of terrorists are expressed first, through the impudence in killing people of their own faith, albeit of a different denomination, and second, by exploiting the needs of those people. In addition, modifiers such as sickening, craven, evil, and impundent in the examples above clearly show the negative attitude to this group of Muslims and the things they do. The acts performed by convicted terrorists, such as Johar Tsarnaev, who rather than show remorse for his deed, “stuck up his middle finger to a camera before his arraignment in July 2013” (DM/23.06.2015), contribute further to the fossilisation of the stereotype of the impudent terrorist who is presented as a non-human. In addition to the explicit references denoting the savagery stereotypically associated with terrorists, the examples also touch on the opposition civilisation – non-civilisation, as well as normality – abnormality to show the incongruity of Islam with the Western culture and values.


It has also become a trend for journalists to present terrorists as people who had а difficult childhood or life in general: Khalid Masood – taking drugs and being sexually promiscuous (see [106]) as well as: [186] EXCLUSIVE: Muslim Marine murderer’s father ‘sexually assaulted wife and beat his son’ – and wanted to take second wife ‘because it was allowed under Islamic law’ /h/(DM/17.07.2015); [187] From an amateur boxer and a drug addled petty thief to Australia’s most depraved terrorists: How Mohamed Elomar and Khaled Sharrouf became the nation’s most wanted militants /h/(In/02.08.2015); [188] Salvi was not born a Muslim, but converted inside jail while serving time for drug trafficking in the early 2000s. /sh/(DM/03.07.2015); [189] Hamza says he is now entirely disillusioned with Isis. “At the beginning I thought they were fighting for Allah, but later I discovered they are far from the principles of Islam. I know that some fighters were taking hallucinatory drugs; others were obsessed with sex. As for the raping, and the way different men marry by turn the same woman over a period of time, this is not humane (In/16.03.2015).

The last example [189] actually presents the account of a former ISIS fighter who has become “disillusioned” with their philosophy. All these examples also connote the opium culture previously associated with Muslims as well as with the idea of the Islamic sect of mercenaries, Nizari Ismailis, notorious for their assassinations. The members of that group are said to have used hashish (Acosta 2012: 21). Thus, a kind of succession is formed between Muslim mercenaries from the past and present day terrorists and it is taken as part of terrorist culture. Apart from drugs, some of the examples from this group, i.e. [106], touch on another stereotypical trait mentioned in the Orientalist discourse – Muslim sexuality. It has already been mentioned above that arranged marriages and honour killings are considered backward and uncivilised, a part of a primitive tradition that is incompatible with the Western culture. In the articles on ISIS and terrorists, however, these traditions are put to the fore and highlighted so that the bestial nature of the terrorists is further exemplified: [190] Girls can be married off from age of nine under rules enforced by group /sh/(DM/18.06.2015). While such forced marriages are considered typical of South Asian Muslims, in modern societies the fact that this custom is imposed by ISIS fighters on girls of even younger age and that they get involved in sexual intercourse with them, is considered paedophilia and is punishable by law. In various articles in the British media the sexual relations between older men and younger girls are 164

explicitly described as rape. This linguistic choice confirms the fact that the status of such relationships is perceived as illegal by western journalists. The immorality of the act is further amplified by references to gang rapes performed by ISIS soldiers: [191] Yazidi sex slave sold to ISIS fighter with 10-year-old sister ‘was gang-raped, beaten and scalded with boiling water in ninemonth ordeal’ /h/(In/29.05.2015). Sex or rather the fact that the religion prohibits open conversation about it, let alone relationships prior to or outside marriage is presented as another reason for radicalisation: [192] Huge numbers of Muslims are turning to ISIS because they want SEX, claims former Islamist, who says many resent the freedoms Western youths have /h/Guns are ‘more or less a penis extension’ for isolated men, said Imam; Alyas Karmani said he believes: ‘These guys just want girls. That’s it.’; Not giving young Muslims the chance to talk about sex leads to hate /sh/(DM/16.06.2015); [193] Tempted by the promise of four wives, Ebrahim B joined up and travelled to Syria – only to be arrested as a spy /sh/(In/02.08.2015).

The examples, however, touch on a psychological trait attributed to terrorists – their feeling of insecurity and lack of self-confidence90 which is in a way compensated with guns and exhibitions of brutality. The more liberally minded scholars, however, tend to look at the problem as something which is supracultural and describe it as “warped masculinity” and the problem with “misogyny” (G/28.03.2017) rather than a matter of religious teachings. However, as such articles are very few, while the accounts by Yazidi slaves of the sexual perversions they have experienced under ISIS are plenty, readers are exposed more to the stereotype of the brutal, sexually insatiable Muslim terrorist rather than to the one of a mentally unstable individual. The example that best summarises the western stereotype of the Muslim terrorist is: [194] “Isis is evil. It massacres its opponents, slaughters civilians, beheads the innocent, rapes children and enslaves women” (In/26.07.2015) – the image of a brutal oppressor associated with ISIS.

The general stereotype of the home-grown terrorist, which is a part of the more generic terrorist stereotype, presents these people as poor, second or third generation Muslims, born and raised in a European country, unemployed, marginalized, and living in the ghettoes (Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2016). 90


The fact that these presentations have truly affected the general population and that the terrorist stereotype is active in the minds of non-Muslims and Muslims alike, is explicated by examples, such as: [195] Twenty-two-year-old Abubakar Abid, who is pursuing his master’s degree in electrical engineering at MIT, recalled when his Pakistani parents warned him against taking any nuclear science courses, lest he be viewed with suspicion. “These are obstacles other kids don’t have to worry about,” said Abid. Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing, his phone beeped in class. His professor turned around, looked straight at him and asked: “Is that a bomb going off?” (G/21.09.2015).

The example shows the hypersensitivity society has towards anything that can hint of a terrorist activity. Even fields of knowledge are considered in a way suggestive of terrorist activities given the proper conditions, i.e. a member of the Muslim community pursuing them. The fact that the Muslim community is aware of the existence of these prejudices shows the struggle they have to go through and the choices they have to make between their skills and desires and the things that would be deemed proper by society. In a way, Muslims are restrained by their religious background and the negative stereotypes that are triggered by it and for that reason cannot pursue their own rights and their own choices freely. The latter in itself is conducive of another stereotype that is analysed below, i.e. the stereotype of the Muslim victim. An article published in the Bulgarian platform BlogDB on 23 January 2016 under the title [196] Да дойдат муджахидините! /h/(‘Let the mujahidin come’ – BlogDB/23.01.2016) spells out probably the harshest way to present Muslims. In this particular article, the subject is refugees and the crisis Europe is faced with. The journalist uses several of the most striking stereotypes associated with Muslims making references to the past in order to hype up the negative emotional charge. The refugees are described using Turkish lexis which for the Bulgarian readers triggers negative associations of an oppressive past under the Ottoman influence91: бесни тълпи башибозук ‘rabid bashi-bazouk crowds’ or дивашки ислямизиращо се общество ‘society that is ferociously getting Islamicised’, and the parallel The strategy is also observed in the nationalistic press, which tries to demonise the image of the ethnic Turks using lexis referring to the Ottoman period in the Balkans (Cheshmedzhieva 2010; Dobreva 2011a, 2011b; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2012) and the stereotype of the fifth column (Poole 2002; Lazarova 2004; Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2012). 91


structures used to present the claims of the authors contribute to the informativity and increase the impact of the message through the use of one and the same Theme, i.e. the rabid crowds of bashi-bazouk with a different Rheme: [196] Когато бесни тълпи башибозук започнат да режат гърла, […] Като започнат да изнасилват жените, дъщерите и сестрите ви, защото не са опаковани до ушите в мушама и ухаят на парфюм, само тогава ще разберете колко важни са християнските ценности и цивилизацията, изградена на тяхната основа […] Като започнат да ви подават тюрбани с думите „чалмата или главата“, както са правили само до преди иманяма 150 години по нашите земи, тогава ще разберете колко е добре, че народът ни е християнски и колко важно е той да се съхрани такъв и да се опази чист.[…] Само муджахидините ще ни оправят. Ще изнасилят европейките и ще ги опаковат в чували за трупове марка Версаче, ще екзекутират гейовете и лесбийките, ще изгорят книгите, картините и кино лентите, ще сринат паметниците, ще спрат интернета и ще възпеят дивашката си, примитивна, първобитна култура от новоиздигнатите с парите от саудитски петрол минарета (‘When rabid crowds of bashi-bazouk start cutting throats, […] When they start raping your wives, daughters and sisters simply because they are not packed up to their ears in oilcloth and because they smell of perfume, only then will you understand the importance of Christian values and the civilisation built upon them […] When they start handing turbans out to you asking “The turban or the head” as they used to do some 150 years ago in our lands, only then will you understand how good it is that our people are Christian and how important it is for them to be preserved like that and to be kept pure […] The mujahidin are the only ones who can fix us. They will rape the European women and will pack them in Versace carcass bags, they will execute the gays and the lesbians, they will burn the books, the paintings and the movie tapes, they will demolish the monuments, they will stop the Internet and will glorify their savage, primitive, primeval culture from the minarets newly raised with the money from Saudi crude oil’ – BlogDB/23.01.2016).

It is actually through the Rheme arrangement that we get to see the full stereotype that the journalist wants to present: throat-cutting, raping, uncivilised, backward, indifferent to art and cultural monuments, savage, primitive and primeval. The discourse chosen by the journalist, as stated above, uses references to past history, thus mixing present day mujahidin “Guerrilla fighters in Islamic countries, especially those who are fighting against non-Muslim forces” (EOLD) with bashi-bazouk “mercenary soldier belonging to the skirmishing or irregular troops of the Ottoman Empire, 167

notorious for their indiscipline, plundering, and brutality” ( and attributing the features of both to refugees. The mixture of cultural codes and the transfer of past into present aim at presenting a phenomenon, i.e. incoming refugees, which is comparatively new to Bulgaria, in a scary and disconcerting way so that actions can be taken against it. At the same time, the “pure blood” nationalistic ideas lurk behind the urges to retain the purity of the Bulgarian people and impose the opposition Christianity vs. Islam. The example explicitly mentions some of the other aspects of the stereotypical image of the Muslim terrorist as well – sexuality, brutality, but also the fact that they are backed up by the money of the oil states, envisioning Saudi Arabia. Another aspect only touched upon in the topical analysis, but part of the general stereotype of the Muslim terrorist, is the general attitude of that particular group to homosexuals: [197] Egyptian authorities arrest men for alleged ‘debauchery’ in bath house raid /h/ Up to 33 men were dragged naked from a hammam in downtown Cairo” /sh/ (In/09.12.2014); [198] The court heard Dr Mahmood had kept his sexuality secret from his Muslim family in Birmingham, fearing they would refuse to accept it on religious and cultural grounds (In/05.12.2014); see also [56], [59], [60], [62], [63], [64], [196].

The last two examples do not refer to the stereotype of the terrorist but show general attitude based on “religious and cultural grounds”, as it is said. They come as a confirmation that Muslim culture in general is more primitive, regardless of the fact that Christianity does not approve of homosexual relationships, either. However, no accounts of Christians humiliating publicly homosexuals are readily given. Thus, the brutality used in dealing with people who are considered different is stressed further. As stated above, all these aspects of the Muslim terrorist stereotype stir panic and lead to negative features being transferred to common Muslims based only on their adherence to the same religion.


THE VEILED WOMAN The veil, as stated above, is a symbol that has become associated with radicalism and radicalisation and its exotic flair that used to be associated with the stories from The Arabian Nights and the image of the Muslim seductress has shifted from the enticing and mystique symbol of Muslim women to a symbol of fear, threat and oppression (see also Wagner et al. 2012). Depending on the type of head cover used, the associations range from something typical and normal for a group to something extreme and dangerous. Extremity in attire is associated with extremity in religious belief, as in: [199] Sugra and Zohra Dawood wore burkas. Zohra, it seems, became increasingly ‘extreme’ in her attire following her divorce a year ago. ‘She gradually began covering up more and more, even wearing gloves so as not to expose the flesh on her hands,’ says a Muslim neighbour. ‘All you could see in the end was her eyes. I used to say “the Ninja is here” when she arrived home’ (DM/24.06.2015).

The excerpt presents an interesting point of view as the derogative intention of the descriptor Ninja is applied by a Muslim neighbour, who is actually a member of the same community. The fact that the woman – Zohra, has gone further in her dress than moderate Muslims has positioned her as an outsider and has drawn her closer to the foreign group of Them rather than to the one defined as Us. In addition, the choice of attire which is different from the typical one for the community is viewed as separatism which in itself is considered the first step to radicalisation: [200] That wilful separatism is reflected in a host of factors, such as the increasing prevalence of the full veil or burka in Muslim areas. Although it is often seen as a symbol of devotion, the burka actually has nothing to do with Islam, for the Qur’an merely requires that Muslim women dress modestly. The burka is, in fact, just an oppressive import from Saudi Arabia, where there has long been a tradition of men taking multiple wives who are required to be covered up. So it owes its existence to institutionalised misogyny rather than religious piety. Indeed, so many of the dress codes, rituals and abstentions that British fundamentalists hold to be integral to Islam, actually undermine the religion (DM/17.06.2015).

While inclusion and adherence to the British or the Bulgarian cultural values is considered positive and a way for Muslims to be fully integrated 169

into society, segregation is viewed as bad and a step on the road to terrorism. In addition, the last example features a topos characteristically associated with terrorism – Saudi Arabia92 which along with the reference to fundamentalism further highlights the allusion with radicalism. At the same time, the example touches on another aspect of the stereotypical perception of Muslim women – their submissiveness. The association between the head cover and radicalism is observed in the Bulgarian media discourse as well, mostly in the description of the followers and those influenced by the radical teachings of Ahmed Mussa in Pazardzhik. As stated in the topical analysis, men started wearing Salafi beards while women – burkas. However, these clothes are not considered typical of the version of Islam practiced in Bulgaria: [201] Разликата е показателна и видима за всички жители на Пазарджик, които следят постепенната, но прогресивна ислямизация на ромското население в града. За кратки срокове то приема ислямската религия. Нещо повече – във всяка част на града вече могат да се видят мъже с дълги бради без мустаци и жени, плътно забулени с бурки (‘The difference is telling and obvious for all inhabitants of Pazardzhik who pay attention to the gradual but progressing Islamisation of the Roma population in the town. It converted to Islam at once. What is more, one can see men with long beards and without moustache and women tightly veiled with burkas in each part of the town’ – 24ch/11.11.2014); [202] Жените се обличат в “бурки” – дреха, много по-затворена от обичайните фереджета на правоверните мюсюлманки, която съвсем не е мюсюлмански атрибут, защото е привнесена едва през последните десетилетия от националните носии в Афганистан и Пакистан. В тези две страни ислямистката пропаганда е особено силна и водачите й не се колебаят да използват насилието, за да утвърдят собствените си възгледи твърде далечни от принципите на миролюбивия ислям, но идентични с войнствения политически ислямизъм (‘Women dress themselves in “burkas” – a piece of clothing that is much more concealing than the usual veil which is typical for the faithful Muslim women, a garment which is not a Muslim attribute as it has been introduced by the traditional costumes in Afghanistan and Pakistan only in the last few decades. In these two countries Islamic propaganda is particularly vehement and its leaders do not hesitate to use violence in order to establish their own views which are quite distant from the principles of

On the different general topics associated with the presentation of Muslims in the media and the topoi associated with that see Karim (2006). 92


the peaceful Islam, but are identical with the military political Islamism instead’ – St/28.11.2015).

The articles try to show the inconsistency in the choice of head covering for Bulgaria, as the hijab or the head scarf are considered the traditional head covers of the Bulgarian Muslim women. These two types of head dress cover the hair and the shoulders of women but leave their face open. The increased visibility of burkas in Bulgaria along with their outlandish look and origin further establish the link between the piece of clothing and radicalism. The two countries mentioned in the last example also contribute to the perceived truthfulness of this statement as both Pakistan and Afghanistan are considered the cradles of terrorist organisations. At the same time, there are claims made by various Muslim religious leaders who try to counter the stereotypes that associate clothing with more extreme views: [203] Мюфтията е категоричен, че не бива по външния вид и по името да се съди за човека. „Говори се лошо за някой само задето носи брада. Това не е признак за радикален ислям. […] Носенето на бурки от жените също е личен избор, който не бива да се ограничава, защото не е опасно и е тяхно право”, допълни районният мюфтия (‘The Mufti was firm in his opinion that a person should not be judged by their appearance and the name they carry. ‘People speak ill of someone simply because he is with a beard. This is not a sign of radical Islam. […] The burka worn by the women is also a matter of personal choice which should not be restricted because it is not dangerous and is their right’ – St/26.11.2014).

By trying to counter the existing stereotype the mufti actually confirms it, as the reality is that Muslims wearing such types of clothing are viewed with suspicion and are considered dangerous as one does not really know who is under the face cover. Such negative attitudes in their turn give rise to exhibitions of Islamophobia manifested in various ways. This leads to the next stereotypical image of Muslims reviewed below, i.e. The Victim. A positive trend in the presentations of the veiled Muslim women is observed in the recent increase in Muslim women’s voices in the media as discussed in the topical analysis (see also examples [50]-[52]). The veil and the veiled woman is perceived as beautiful through the new visibility Muslim women have acquired. Still, the articles on emancipated and


powerful Muslim women are fewer than those on the oppressed “chattels” to be able to change the existing stereotype93. THE MUSLIM VICTIM While the stereotypical Muslim terrorists are endowed with power due to their deadliness and the threat, fear and panic they cause, the stereotypical Muslim victims are presented as weak and naive and subject to abuse of various kinds. In reference to the mentioned stereotype, Modood (2009) states that the West generally does not acknowledge the fact that Muslims have been the principle victims of all the atrocities that have produced the refugees and asylum seekers in Europe nowadays. The attitude to these victims also affects Muslim residents and citizens and they find themselves “bearing the brunt of a new wave of suspicion and hostility” and facing doubts about their “loyalty as citizens” (ibid.: 194). These feelings are fostered by the events of 11 September 2001 and the Iraq war (ibid.). The idea of victimhood is suggested explicitly by the multiple uses of the lexeme victim94: [204] (Letters) Muslims are the victims of extremists /h/The attack on the school in Pakistan shows that it is ordinary Muslims who bear the brunt of the violence perpetrated by extremists. From Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and sectarian paramilitaries in Iraq and Syria, to Buddhist extremists in Burma, to extremist Hindus in Gujarat in India, it is Muslims who are the victims (In/17.12.2014); [205] Жертвите са сред, а не на мюсюлманите (‘The victims are among, not of the Muslims’ – 24ch/08.01.2015).

The examples can be interpreted in a variety of ways. On the one hand, Muslims can be the physical victims of terrorists as shown by cases such as the attack on Charlie Hebdo, where two Muslims were killed, one of them being a police officer, the clashes between Shi’a and Sunni, the case of Yazidi where the men are killed and the women, as shown above, turned The publications on the atrocities ISIS soldiers inflict on women and the handbook of women’s behaviour they have published (see [66], [67]) outnumber those trying to alter the existing stereotype of the submissive silent and invisible Muslim woman. 94 See also Cheshmedzhieva-Stoycheva (2015, 2016a). 93


into sex slaves, etc. On the other hand, Muslims are the victims of the Muslim terrorist stereotype as they constantly have to prove their loyalty to the European country that has become their home and to show their allegiance through their acceptance of the European values and norms as well as through their explicit condemnation of any act of terror. In addition, they have to follow a particular dress code deemed appropriate by the European majority, otherwise they might fall into the category of dangerous people, people who can become radicalised and who can turn against their host country. Thus, Muslims are both physically and psychologically oppressed. This is also evident through the use of scapegoat in which the idea of martyrdom is even more pronounced: [206] As Marwan Muhammad, director of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, told the Soul of Europe: “We are scapegoats and are blamed for all of Europe’s problems”. Muslim communities need to be invited in from the cold. There should be no “them” and “us”. We are all “us”. […] From among the many different European Muslim communities there are those who are saying: “Enough. We have had enough of discrimination, of being crudely stereotyped, of being scapegoats – of being victims”. These men and women are not “extremists” (G/05.08.2011); [207] I would like to see Lambie weigh her words and empathise with the experiences of those who have been on the receiving end of abuse and assaults for being visibly Muslim, like my dear friend Az Fahmi, who was called a “fucking terrorist” and spat at on her way to work. Another friend, Mariam Veiszadeh, was the victim of a cyberbullying campaign and received death threats, instigated by the anti-Muslim Facebook page, Restore Australia […] (G/02.04.2017); [208] Докато трагедията консолидира западните общества около ценностите на секуларната демокрация, мюсюлманските общности в Европа и в света са изправени пред ужасното предизвикателство да опазят своята религия и култура от политическа злоупотреба, която е на път да тласне света към религиозна радикализация и да превърне мюсюлманите в изкупителна жертва (‘While the tragedy is consolidating Western societies around the values of secular democracy, Muslim communities in Europe and worldwide are faced with the terrible challenge to protect their religion and culture from the political abuse which is about to push the world towards religious radicalisation and turn Muslims into scapegoats’ – 24ch/21.01.2015); see also [33]-[36].

The examples focus on the reasons for the oppression felt by Muslims – divisions, stereotypes, religious radicalisation which in this case do not 173

apply to Islam but to the way Western societies cling all too vehemently to their own beliefs not allowing for any possible deviation, and political games. Actually, the strive for political power is considered number one reason for the events in South Asia and the appearance of so many terrorist fractions backed by crude petroleum money as well as by US finances (see Chapter Two). Another issue raised in the examples above is the division into Us and Them and the feeling of in-betweenness felt by moderate Muslims. Example [206] shows their willingness and struggle to be perceived as part of the in-group, as part of the “good guys” rather than be charged with all negative assumptions that prove to be ripe in society. In addition, there are also examples of abuse that is exhibited in the form of hate speech, insults, threats but also through direct encounters. The range of insults experienced by Muslims, some of which are mentioned above, i.e. [207], is explicitly stated in an article published in The Guardian: [209] Islamophobic hate crime: is it getting worse? /h/From online abuse to fire bombs thrown at mosques, there has been a spike in anti-Muslim attacks. While many incidents are not reported to the police, groups such as the Tell Mama project paint a worrying picture of rising Islamophobia and violence /sh/(G/05.06.2015).

Islamophobia is not only a British phenomenon. Despite the fact that the Bulgarian Muslims are generally well integrated into the mainstream society, there still are manifestations of Islamophobia which in their bigger part are committed by some nationalistically minded individuals. These acts range from desecration of religious places to verbal abuse (see Chapter Four). The effect these threats and abuses have is presented in: [210] Awan and Zempi revealed that Muslims were multiple and repeat victims of both online and offline forms of hate crime. Many Muslim women said they were now removing their headscarves and men were shaving their beards in an attempt to disguise their faith (G/13.10.2015).

The result of all verbal and physical abuse performed by people who claim to be civilised, democratic and possessed of Western values, lead to cultural oppression and annihilation of religious markers in order for Muslims to assure their peaceful existence in the European societies and to feel that they fit in. Still, even well integrated Muslims, who are trying to work as mediators between their own community and non-Muslims and 174

who also fight against radicalisation, are subjected to derogative words, slurs and insults: [211] He was a “coconut aren’t you lad?” (brown outside, white inside); a “scumbag white man”; a “white liberal man”; a “kafir lover” (a derogatory Arabic term for “infidel” or “disbeliever”); he had been paid by David Cameron to “become a complete donkey for the Home Office, Kafir lover”; he was a “Kafir apostate” (a Muslim who had abandoned Islam) who should go to Saudi to be “executed”; a “little snake”; “quite frankly mate, get lost” – and so on (In/18.01.2015).

Such kind of insults, which in this case are uttered by Muslims, explicitly show the state of in-betweenness of the integrated part of that community – they are not fully accepted by the non-Muslims and they are not considered a full-bloodied part of Muslim communities either. In its turn, this insecurity and two-fold rejection in a way can lead to extremes such as total seclusion or radicalisation. THE HOMOGENEOUS GROUP OF MUSLIMS Another stereotype that is active in non-Muslim’s mind (Poole 2002; Malik 2004; Abbas 2005; Abbas 2009; Chehmedzhieva-Stoycheva 2015; Ali et. al 2016) is the perceived homogeneity of the group. It is a result first, of the distrust and suspicion the majority views Muslims with, while, on the other hand, of their own segregation. Not enough intercultural contacts lead to fossilisation of the status quo. When the majority observes the performance of rituals and the way of confession they do not know enough about, it is easier for them to simply regard all these manifestations of religious difference as alien. The general perception that the bigger part of the British non-Muslims share is defined in the examples below: [212] Muslims become seen as the enemy within, a fifth column, a nearhomogeneous group defined by their hostility to western values – or indeed the west full stop. “Muslim” becomes synonymous with “extremist” and “potential terrorist” (G/23.11.2015); [213] Such incidents sometimes make British Muslims feel like they are unfairly singled out. In her new book, The Enemy Within, the former Conservative Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi agrees that Muslims are often treated by the government and parts of the media as a backward monolithic bloc (DT/01.04.2017); [214] Starkey referred to his fellow panelist by the name Ahmed. […] As Hasan retorted, when he was 175

allowed a word in edgeways, “Given you can’t get my name right – my name is Mehdi, not Ahmed – I would question your selective recollection”. […] Starkey sees the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims as one homogenous mass of malice (In/18.01.2015).

As can be seen the mere mentioning of the religious marker Muslim triggers a host of different stereotypes which cannot be separated from one another. The perception that all Muslims are the same is conveyed in the analysis of Baroness Warsi as well as through the use of a personal name considered typical of Muslims – Ahmed. The fact that once corrected the panelist did not even pay attention to it, shows the haughtiness and superciliousness of the members of the majority. It also shows his lack of any cultural awareness. Despite the fact that some scholars nowadays comment on the rise of processes of homogenisation under the influence of Turkey on the one hand, and Saudi Arabia on the other, Muslim leaders speak about the distinction people should make between the different fractions in Islam or even within the ranks of moderate Muslims. Actually the very distinction made between moderate, mainstream and radical Muslims is telling of the variety that exists in the community95. The refutal of the stereotype of the assumed homogeneity of the group is further achieved through the publication of various references to the words of the moderate Muslims themselves who try to show themselves as different from the savage terrorists and more like Us, the majority, rather than similar to Them, the terrorists. The latter is also highlighted in the words of various prominent Muslim figures who try to show the distinction that exists between their religion and the acts of terrorism: [215] Яшар Мустафа: Терорът в исляма е забранен /h/[…] Съществуват много хора, които се крият зад исляма, за да извършват подобни терористични актове, но те не са истински мюсюлмани (‘Yashar Mustafa: Terror is forbidden by Islam /h/[…] There are many people who hide behind Islam in order to commit similar terrorist acts but they are not true Muslims’ – 24ch/13.01.2015); [216] Мюсюлманите са честни и работни хора, лошото е, че има ходжи, като този Муса Ахмед опитващи се да злоупотребяват с тяхната наивност и да им промиват мозъците (‘Muslims are In addition, variety is further supported through references to the different denominations within Islam or various terrorist fractions as well as groups fighting against them (see ChashmedzhievaStoycheva 2015). 95


honest and hard-working people, the bad thing is that there are imams like that Mussa Ahmed trying to abuse their naiveté and thus brainwash them’ – Dnes/25.11.2014); see also [94], [95], [177], [206].

The examples mark the explicit mentioning of positive qualities attributed to Muslims – honesty and diligence which is a nuance in the general trend of primarily negative coverage of the topic. The main notion expressed in the last two examples is that religion is abused by few people and as a result all Muslims get tarred with the same brush. This in itself speaks against the unification of the whole group. In addition, as could be inferred from the name used, the expressed opinion in [215] belongs to a Muslim which shows his own view on the issue. The same trend is observed in the British media as well: [217] Moderate Muslims meanwhile warn that practices such as single-sex shopping are nothing to do with their religion, and that isolated incidents like the one in Bordeaux are used to stigmatise them (DM/23.06.2015).

The law-abiding integrated Muslims strive at differentiation from the radical members of their community. Their attitudes coincide with the attitudes expressed when discussing the stereotype of the Muslim victim. The fact that there truly are Muslims who are different and who defy the general negative stereotype is to be seen in the articles talking about Muslims and Bulgarians celebrating their holidays together or in organisations funded by Muslims and Jews fighting abuse and discrimination together: [218] Над три хиляди мюсюлмани и християни седнаха заедно на благотворителната вечеря в центъра на Момчилград. “За пореден път доказваме, че братството и добросъседството помежду ни ще продължи да съществува. Само взаимното уважение и разбирателство, могат да ни поведат към по-добри времена”, заяви в приветствието си кметът на родопската община Акиф Акиф (‘Over three thousand Muslims and Christians sat together for a charity dinner in the centre of Momchilgrad. “We have proven once again that brotherhood and citizenship between us will continue to exist. Only mutual respect and understanding can lead us to better times”, stated Akif Akif, the mayor of the Rhodope municipality, in his welcoming speech’ – St/14.07.2015); [219] Според Оля Ал Ахмед ислямистите не са тези мюсюлмани, които изповядват ислям и четат корана. […] Що се отнася до организациите като „Ал Кайда” и „Ислямска държава”, 177

журналистката обясни, че те не изповядват истинския ислям, който е една миролюбива религия, а това е натрапена, нова идеология (‘According to Olya Al-Ahmed the Islamists are not those Muslims who follow Islam and read the Qur’an. […] The journalist explained that as far as organisations such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State are concerned, they do not profess the true Islam, which is a peaceful religion, but a forced new ideology’ – Trud/01.12.2014).

The words in example [218] belong to the mayor of Momchilgrad who is also a Muslim and thus show intercultural understanding as well as the fact that Christians and Muslims can and do live together in understanding. Olya Al-Ahmed in her turn hints at the fact that not all Muslims are terrorists and that those who do such atrocities are not true Muslims at all. The same nuance of the stereotype is observed in other publications as well: [220] Muslim mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb tells extremists who ‘don’t like freedom’ to ‘f*** off’ /h/[…] This is so backwards, so incomprehensible, go away if you can’t find your place in the Netherlands, or accept the society we want to build here, because we only want people, including all those Muslims, and all those well-intentioned Muslims, who may be looked at with suspicion, we want to keep all those people together in what I call the ‘We Society’ (In/13.01.2015).

The stereotype of homogeneous Muslims is further refuted through the resort to Us vs. Them discourse used by the mayor of Rotterdam, another Muslim, who makes a distinction between Muslims who are wellintentioned and those like extremists whom he describes using the Orientalist understanding of Muslims as backward and incomprehensible, while all other Muslims who are law-abiding are described as wellintentioned and comprising the group defined as We, or an inclusive society, where everybody feels a significant part of the bigger socium. The words of Aboutaleb mark the total integration the moderate Muslims in Amsterdam experience. They feel a part of the majority. In conclusion, the stereotypes employed by the Bulgarian and the British media in the framing of the image of Muslims follow some of the established paths and thus convey the image of the Muslim terrorist along with the Muslim convert as its subtype, the Veiled woman, the Muslim as a victim, and the widely-held perception of Muslims as a homogeneous


group. However, as the analysed examples show, the last one has been refuted multiple times. Due to the extensive coverage of terrorist activities or such associated with terrorism (radicalisation, extremism and the conversion of confused youngsters to Islam), the general image of the community is mostly negative as many people form their awareness of this confessional and religious group based mostly on the information they obtain through the media. The image of the veiled Muslim woman further adds to the negative image of the community as the veil is seen both as a symbol of radicalisation and oppression. At the same time, the image of the oppressed woman provokes sympathy and willingness on behalf of westerners to free her and work towards her liberation. This, although considered a somewhat positive nuance to the general negative perception (as it is Muslim men who are blamed for the oppression of women in the community and it is therefore men who are considered cruel and tyrannical, and not the women themselves), does not do any good to the general stereotype of Muslims, mostly due to the fact that submissiveness and stirring sympathy are not really something positive. Sympathy is the general feeling provoked through the employment of the other general stereotype associated with moderate Muslims, i.e. the stereotype of the victim. At the same time, the disclaimers that are commonly used by various Muslim leaders both in Bulgaria and the UK in their attempt to dissociate themselves from the few rotten apples, i.e. terrorists, introduce a somewhat positive image of Muslims as law-abiding, loyal, standing against terrorism, peaceful and striving for an inclusive society. All these promote feelings of acceptance, recognition and cultural awareness as well. The aforementioned facts show the significance of the media in the framing of a particular image. Using stereotypes as one of the most emotionally charged linguistic means of expressing opinion and conveying ideas has to be done bearing in mind the consequences of such linguistic choices. In this particular case, the predominantly negative portrayal of Muslims fosters feelings of distrust and suspicion. The few attempts at using positive portrayal reach only those members of the majority who are more liberal and who have had positive encounters with Muslims. The 179

latter supports Spivak’s (2013) opinion on the ways negative stereotypes are changed: through deeper understanding of the Other, through examples that show that all members of the group are not the same, and by showing the members of the group as individuals. In this chapter such a change, albeit on a smaller scale, has been achieved through the employment of the refutal of the existing stereotype of the homogeneity of the group and the presentation of the opinion of separate members of the community.


CHAPTER EIGHT: CONCLUDING REMARKS Looking into the strategies employed in the framing of the image of Muslims in the Bulgarian and the British media it has become clear that there are various factors that come into play and account for the similarities and the differences in the presentations that are observed. As it has been proven, the framing strategies of both media discourses are influenced by the Orientalists’ idea of a firm distinction between the members of the Us-group and those of the Them-group. Orientalism can be discerned behind the attribution of particular qualities to Muslims, which are mostly revealed through the stereotypes and the metaphors used in the development of their images. The media presentations on Muslims are also influenced by the concepts of otherness, exhibitions of Islamophobia and the general notions of race and racism, all of which are sometimes difficult to distinguish as they merge into one another. Starting from the understanding that the media reflect reality, this book has set off with an overview of the historical, social and economic situations of the Muslim communities in Bulgaria and the UK in order to justify the reason for the analysis. Although both communities are different in terms of origin and history of coexistence with the majority, there are similarities mostly born by the fact that both communities are predominantly of Sunni denomination, they carry the conscience of belonging to a global umma, and are affected by the fact that they both experience the consequences of the processes of globalisation and the terrorist attacks that happen worldwide. The differences in the background of each of the two communities account for the variety in presentations and the different cognitive patterns involved. Thus, for example it is not the traditional Muslim minority that is perceived as a threat in terms of terrorist infiltration in Bulgaria but rather the Muslim Roma due to their illiteracy, gullibility, poverty and general segregation. Thus, the articles in the Bulgarian media that discuss the problem of conversion and radicalisation are invariably linked to that part of Bulgarian society. The other group which is perceived as a threat to Bulgarian communal life and peaceful existence, is the one of the refugees 181

and the immigrants trying to enter the country. The general concern voiced by Bulgarians is the possibility of terrorists infiltrating the country disguised as people seeking protection. The Bulgarian Muslims are presented negatively only in the media discourse on politics and the parties that represent Bulgarian Muslims’ interests – MRF and more recently DOST, as they are generally viewed as the fifth column of Turkey’s politics. The reason for the acceptance of the common Bulgarian Muslims by the general society is the fact that they have coexisted with ethnic Bulgarians longer, they have managed to integrate into society, do not cause problems and generally live in peace with ethnic Bulgarians. In contrast, the community of the British Muslims consists of a wider variety of groups with South Asians comprising the biggest percentage. Generally, the British Muslims are not so well integrated in the mainstream society; they are also characterised with high levels of illiteracy, high unemployment and lack of representation which are all prerequisites that make them a suitable target for radical imams and recruiters. The latter accounts for the difference in the perception of the British Muslims. It also explains the general image of the home-grown terrorist who is endowed with the characteristics mentioned above together with a history of abuse in the family, among others. At the same time, the British Muslims’ culture has been perceived as totally different and incompatible with British culture and values. Similar to the framing of the image of the Bulgarian Muslims, the one of the British Muslims has been influenced by the processes of globalisation and mostly by the increased terrorist attacks which have contributed negatively to the general presentation of Muslims. The high number of acts of terrorism as well as the increased visibility and prominence of ISIS/ISIL have led to the publication of a big number of media articles on terrorist activities and terrorism in general, which has affected the framing of Muslims both in Bulgaria and the UK. The difference in coverage in both media discourses is observed only in terms of the distinction between local and international coverage as ISIS has bigger prominence in the international news published in the Bulgarian media, while in the case of the British media the terrorist group is the focus of a big number of articles of both local and international coverage. 182

ISIS/ISIL’s influence on the general media presentation is also felt in the employment of the stereotype of the terrorist as well as in the substereotype of the Muslim convert in both media discourses. Such coverage is usually negatively charged with extensive use of metaphors and stereotypes provoking panic and instilling fear. The differences in the topics covered in the Bulgarian and the British media are mostly in the section of local coverage which is influenced by the specificity of the local contexts. Still, both media discourses publish articles on culturally specific Muslim holidays and the way they are celebrated, which confirms the true character of the global umma that Muslims believe to belong to. Furthermore, articles of the kind increase intercultural awareness which in its turn can be a prerequisite for a change in the existing stereotypes. To that end, the Bulgarian media feature quite a few articles dealing with activities and events where Muslims and Bulgarians participate on an equal basis. Such articles focus on intercultural understanding and the ability of both groups to coexist together peacefully and in understanding. The tone of these presentations is generally neutral to positive. The coverage on politics is also influenced by the local contexts in the two countries. While both media discourses share articles on acts aimed at protecting the respective countries from terrorists, they differ in terms of the other news covered. Thus, the Bulgarian media discourse provides a big group of articles presenting the activities of the political parties representing the Bulgarian Muslims as well as some specific selebrations and commemorations among others. While these articles touch on the image of the religious Other only indirectly, they do provide useful information for the Bulgarian Muslims themselves as they get to read information pertaining explicitly to them as part of Bulgarian society. Said articles are of significance for the Bulgarian Muslims’ own self-esteem and self-awareness. The general tone of these articles is usually neutral, while in some cases when it is a matter of political parties the tone is slightly negative. The British media, in turn, focus on issues significant for the British social and political life as well. In addition to the various acts aimed at fighting radicalisation that have been passed in the Parliament, the British media discourse focuses on the number of converts who have left the country or 183

those who have returned, and the problems of re-integration they face. The articles on converts are usually presented in neutral to negative tone while those on home-grown terrorists are generally negative as their focus is primarily on the threat they pose for the society they live in. Both media discourses present articles on various terrorist attacks that happen worldwide. What these articles do is they stir panic as they show the extended geography of terrorist activities and create the allusion that nobody and no place is safe. In addition, the presentations of the kind generally use the Clash of Civilisations or War of the Worlds ideas with a focus predominantly on the incompatibility between Islam and western values. Due to the fact that Western Europe in general, and Britain and France in particular, have been exposed to more terrorist attacks and have given more casualties than Bulgaria, the discourse on the general topic of (homegrown) terrorism is on a more personal note. Western societies feel an imminent threat not only from outside but from inside as well. This notion of threat verging with panic is presented through the use of a variety of linguistic devices which have been additionally backed up by the various non-verbal elements employed in the articles. Mug shot images of terrorists, usually home-grown ones, full size images of converts who have joined ISIS/ISIL, visual representations of the atrocities performed by ISIS, ISIS soldiers posing with their rifles as well as images before and after the conversions of non-Muslims, and women with burkas, among others confirm the suggestions made in the articles. The group of articles on terrorist acts is generally followed by analyses on the events provided by Islamologists, political analysts or prominent Muslim figures who generally try to dissociate the mainstream moderate Muslims from terrorists and their activities. The fact that people get to hear the opinion of Muslims themselves is a positive one as it contributes to the dispersal of the myth of the assumed homogeneity of the group. The positive trend observed in both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse is the presence of more Muslim celebrities and in the British one – a bigger number of Muslim women who are beautiful, successful, of various employment and most of all, women who are not afraid to speak up. The latter aims at breaking the existing negative stereotypes associated mainly with the image of the submissive Muslim woman. The Muslim 184

women whose voices are heard in the Bulgarian media are those of the relatives of Ahmed Mussa talking mostly about him. In addition, the British mainstream media and the Bulgarian ones, although to a smaller extent, employ Muslim journalists who cover Muslim-related issues or express their own opinion on such. This, in addition to the various interviews conducted with both prominent Muslims and common people of the same religious group, contributes to the increased visibility of the group and makes them heard. Another positive trend observed in the analysed corpus of Bulgarian and British articles is the use of Turkish and/or Arabic words referring to clothes or religious items, holidays, rituals, different branches of Islam with their explanations that serve as promoters of cultural awareness and at the same time make Muslims feel part of the society they comprise as the mainstream media use words which appeal to them personally. The topical analysis outlines the general frame of media presentations on Muslims and hints at the general stereotypes that can be found on closer analysis. The tone of the publications is suggestive of the emotional charge of the lexis used in them as well. Despite the fact that some of the articles in both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse focus on mutual understanding and the presentation of Muslims who have already managed to integrate in the society, the analysis of the references used to denote Muslims shows predominance in the use of negatively charged references. The set of negative references that has been analysed activate the terrorist frame mostly through their association with military actions, or militancy, and violence. In order to obtain more reliable results, and for better analysis of information the manually-collected corpora were compared to some online corpora. The comparison proved that in most of the cases when the negative references are used without the religious modifier they can be applied to any group or religion. An exception to the trend was observed only in the use of jihadist and jihadism which are explicitly linked to Islamic militancy. The analysis has also shown that the negative references which have been used can be defined as being of an equal status mostly due to the fact that they are used interchangeably in the articles thus creating the allusion of 185

an omnipresent process of terrorism and radicalisation affecting every society and country. The fact that the set of positive references returned a negligible number of hits in both the manually-collected corpora as well as the online ones, further contributes to the better visibility of the negative rather than promote a positive image of Muslims. What is more, in some of the cases the positive references bring negative connotation mostly due to the fact that they are used to grade the adherence to Islam by rating Muslims as moderate, mainstream or radical. In addition, some of the positive references, such as normal or good are used to define the life of converts and home-grown terrorists before the change in them occurred. The uses of positive references are also observed in the disclaimers by members of the Muslim community who try to show that not all Muslims are terrorists and that there are good people among them. Based on all this and due to the fact that the literal use of positive references is very limited, the general feeling of negativism towards Muslims remains. The book has also looked into various metaphors that have been employed in the presentation of Muslims in both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse. Being generic on their more basic level, while culturally specific in their higher levels, metaphors present both similar as well as different thinking patterns and contribute to the positive or negative framing of the image of Muslims in the media. The analysis of the collected corpora shows some very striking similarities in the metaphors employed in both media discourses. The conventional metaphors of War, Disease and Disaster which are frequently used in discourses on ethnic and minority groups can be found in both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse on Muslims. In most of the cases the metaphors refer to terrorists or radicals as well as the general process of radicalisation, thus, focusing on the belligerent nature of the process along with its contagiousness and unrestrained nature. The resort to the Trojan horse metaphor, as a part of the general metaphor of War, used mostly in relation to immigrants, refugees or converts and returnees hints as the clandestine and subversive nature of Muslims and thus fosters the development of attitudes of distrust and suspicion in the majority.


The general idea suggested through the use of the aforementioned metaphors is that nobody is safe and each person and every country is threatened by radicalisation and terrorism. In addition, there are also some new domains, such as the one of transport and to some extent the one of medicine and biology, which have not been employed so far by either of the media discourses in their presentations of terrorists or terrorism. These new metaphors support the negative framing of terrorists further. The fact that both media discourses show preference for similar metaphors speaks either of the existence of similar thinking patterns or of the increased influence of globalisation. Regardless of the reason for the similarity of linguistic devices employed, the fact that the images they create are negative, contributes to the general negative perceptions of Muslims and the fear members of the majority feel towards that group. It should also be mentioned that no positive metaphors have been found. Thus, the general conclusion can be that when presenting the topic of Muslims both media discourses resort to figurative language only in their explanation of negative events or processes. The study conducted on the use of metaphors is of importance as it delves into the images that stay in the minds of the readers more vividly than any other means of expression. General negativism has also been observed in the analysis of the other linguistic devices used to present particular thinking patterns – stereotypes. The reason for the general negative tone of the stereotypes is predetermined again by the extensive use of the stereotype of the Muslim terrorist who is presented as savage, cruel and primitive which coincides with the Orientalist perception of the terrorist. While converts and homegrown terrorists are endowed with the same characteristics, the media also emphasise some features that become stereotypically associated with the process of radicalisation and come to define the general image of the terrorist. Although radicalisation is a comparatively new phenomenon for Bulgaria, this stereotype is present in the Bulgarian media discourse as well, which speaks of the fact that it is already established in the Bulgarian psyche as a result of the wide coverage of various international acts of terrorism. In addition, being a part of the EU, Bulgaria is involved in the process of dealing with the problem of terrorism and particularly in its prevention through the implementation of various acts or, if asked by any of the other EU countries. 187

A more positive trend and willingness for a change of the existing negative stereotype is presented in the image of Muslims as victims. Muslims are presented as subjected to two-fold abuse – on the one hand, psychological, or emotional, due to the existing association between Muslims and terrorists, verbal abuse, restrictions on the exhibition of their Muslimness, while on the other, physical as they are also subjected to acts of aggression and violence, some of them become victims of terrorist attacks, etc. The articles employing this stereotype usually focus on the necessity for a distinction between radicals and moderate mainstream Muslims which is also related to another positive approach of both the Bulgarian and the British media, i.e. the strive at the refutal of the assumed homogeneity of the Muslim community. Another stereotype that is also used in both the Bulgarian and the British media discourse is the one about the veiled woman. The image is ambiguous as the associations provoked are mostly negative and associated with the process of radicalisation. On the other hand, due to the initiatives undertaken by prominent Muslim women as well as celebrities it has regained to a degree its exotic flair and associations with The Arabian Nights. There are movements towards its acceptance and recognition as a symbol of a personal choice rather than an oppressive piece of attire undertaken by companies such as Nike which has developed clothes for Muslim female athletes as well as fashion designers, such as Nailah Lymus. In conclusion, it can be stated that the image of Muslims in the Bulgarian and the British media is a complex and by no means an easy one to interpret and analyse. As seen in the analysis of the linguistic devices used in its framing – references, metaphors, and stereotypes as well as the topics covered, it is subjected to the theories of Otherness, Orientalism, Race and Racism and Islamophobia which charge Muslims with predominantly negative qualities and present them as objects of fear, people intent on hurting the majority. The fact that both media discourses employ similar cognitive patterns speaks of unanimity of perceptions. At the same time, the fact that more Muslims get to be heard in the media as well as the disclaimers used after each atrocity committed by terrorists, contribute to the change of the bipolar Orientalist model of Us vs. Them perception that has been applied in the presentations of Muslims, defining the latter strictly as Them. Nowadays, people can no longer talk about 188

completely white or completely black presentation, but of shades of presentation exhibited through the feeling of in-betweenness experienced by the moderate Muslims as they are not considered a full part of Us, nor a full part of Them. However, the fact that more positive representations of Muslims get to appear on the pages of the national media is a step towards the refutal of negative perceptions and an increase in the cultural awareness of the majority towards that religious group.


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