After a gruelling 10 week trial, the Shafia murder case comes to a close. The extensive
media coverage of the Shafia trial and convictions raises important questions about how violence
against women is framed in the media as well as its influence on the jury’s decision. Just as a
photograph is framed by the photographer, so is the media's framing of a particular issue; the focus
of our attention is on what is in the picture only. Out of sight is the back-ground we will never
know. Media influences on the Shafia jury have raised issues of racial stereotypes and prejudice
against Islam, using fine tuned labelling to capture the attention of the world.
Many media portrayals of Muslims are stereotypical and negative. Dehumanize a group
first before attacking it - Muslims and Arabs have long been negatively portrayed in America.
What they are witnessing is in fact confusion, hatred and in some cases, ignorance, of
terrorists/extremists. Terrorists/extremists have turned Islam's ideal of peace and harmony on its
head. Rarely does one hear experts in the media saying that such actions are not sanctioned by the
religion and have no place within Islam. The Shafia family being Muslim triggers those negative
stereotypes of Muslims and when the jury is collaborating; their minds visualize an Islam culture
viewed as a negative icon in the media.
The reality, we as a society must face, is that these murders are about gendered violence.
The primary stereotypes in certain religions are affixing familial femicides to particular cultures.
Going back to the coverage of the Shafia murders, many reporters referenced the family's Afghan
cultural background and adherence to Islam, suggesting that the murders were motivated by
cultural and religious beliefs. According to th