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Neumann, Katharina; Arendt, Florian; Baugut, Philip (2018): News and Islamist Radicalization Processes: Investigating Muslims' Perceptions of Negative News Coverage of Islam. In: Mass Communication and Society, Vol. 21, No. 4: pp. 498-523
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Abstract

This study investigated how Muslims perceive negative news coverage of Islam and how these perceptions possibly contribute to radicalization processes. Utilizing qualitative interviews with former Islamists, Study 1 indicated that radicalized Muslims perceive a governmental infiltration of the media resulting in negative content. Analyses indicate that perceptual phenomena (hostile media, third person), negation, and anger play an important role in radicalization processes. We built on these findings in Study 2, utilizing a laboratory experiment in which Muslims were exposed to negative news content. Indeed, Muslims engaged in negation, perceived news as hostile, and perceived strong effects on non-Muslim Germans. These effects were stronger among Muslims with religious fundamentalist beliefs. Interestingly, negative news elicited anger, independent of such fundamentalist beliefs.