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For Muslim leaders, "Damned if you do, damned if you do not"


Muslim leaders faced a risky task when asked to publicly respond to the attacks carried out by Islamic extremists.

Expressing sympathy can satisfy a non-Muslim, but taking group responsibility is to cultivate a sense of collective guilt, according to a recently published University of Michigan study.

The researchers used three experiments two real incidents and one fictional incident involving extremist attacks, explore how empathy and responsibility in the responses of Muslim leaders on the basis of media influence the response of non-Muslim audience pleasure.

Leaders of minority groups, who must strategically to fight for justice and equality, without causing prejudice or prejudices of the dominant group, are often asked to publicly respond to the offenses, such as terrorist attacks, fellow members of the group.

Despite the fact that such acts are committed by individuals, people draw conclusions about the group as a whole, which can be problematic for Muslims, who are often seen as threatening outgroup in the United States, said Daniel Lane, a doctoral student in the UM Department of Communication Studies and lead author of the study.

"American Muslims are presented with a unique challenge response to the actions of some extremists in the relationship, to meet the psychological needs of the majority of the group, without damage to the reputation of their own group or groups to perpetuate the perception of guilt," he said.

They may express sympathy for the victims, a way to emphasize the peaceful nature of Islam, but sometimes it does not change the representation of the non-Muslim Americans said Muniba Salem, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and the Faculty of the Institute of the Unified Messaging System for Social Research.

In the first experiment, an online survey was done a few weeks after Muslim extremists carried out a series of bombings in Brussels in 2016 to consider a sample of 472 participants of the online news article, said the group has claimed responsibility, the ISIS-the response of the Muslim attack on American leader. The answer is manipulated with the point of view of empathy (empathy manifests itself not against empathy, not expressed) and responsibility (liability made against denied responsibility).

The results showed that the expression of empathy and take the satisfaction of growing responsibility with the response of the Muslim leader, motivated by sincere sympathy to the victims. But, taking the responsibility and guilt, it can cause problems and negative stereotypes with later consequences, the researchers say.

The second experiment focused on the proximity of the respondents-shooting, carried out Muslim Americans in the night club Orlando in 2016. The sample consisted of 333 participants revealed how much trust they have in the Muslim Americans.

Expression of sympathy led to more satisfactory and reliable answer, but, again, a statement taking responsibility has increased the perception that Muslims collectively feel guilty for the attack.

Finally, a fictional extremist attack allegedly carried out in Oslo, was selected in the third experiment in which a sample of 397 people is used. Sympathy indirectly led to a satisfactory and reliable response, particularly mediated decrease the perception that Muslim leaders were motivated by external pressure, said Lane.

"These results show that by increasing the perception of collective guilt, applications that take responsibility can backfire and increase the perception that American Muslims as a group of perpetrators of terrorist acts," he said.

In general, the researchers, who also include Masi Noor, social psychologist at the University of Kiel in England, for example, expressing sympathy for the victims after extremist attacks can mitigate the negative feedback from non-Muslims, the consequences associated with the acceptance or refusal of liability group is mixed,

Results & # 39 appeared in the April issue of the journal media Psychology.

Some American Muslims identify, however, the Americans due to negative media coverage

Additional Information:
Daniel C. Lane et al. Damned if you do, damned if you do not: The Impact of empathy and responsibility in mediated responses of Muslim leaders of extremist attacks, media Psychology (2019). DOI: 10,1080 / 15213269.2019.1584570

University of Michigan

In response to extremist attacks: For Muslim leaders, "Damned if you do, damned if you do not" (2019, April 30)
received April 30, 2019

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