We personally know only a tiny fraction of the world’s people, but we include many more in our moral imaginations, our views of who people are and why they do what they do. More and more—especially for young people—the sources of information are online.
What do they find?
I decided to find out. Picking the media was easy: YouTube. Used my millions, this is a type of media that appeals particularly to the young. Deciding what to search for wasn’t so easy. On Tuesday this week, I reported on an experiment in moral imagination, a public forum in Chelsea, Michigan, on “Differences without Divisions: Islam in America.” So, I decided to search on “Muslim” and sort the results by view count. Here are the five most viewed videos when I ran my search:
- “Muslim Demographics” (12,661,948 views)—claims that “Islam will overwhelm Christendom unless Christians recognize the demographic realities, being reproducing again, and share the gospel with Muslims.”
- “No Mosque at Ground Zero” (5,752,093 views)—a European arguing that the “Islamization of Europe” is happening in America.
- “I am a Muslim!” (4,332,885 views)—a rather charming video of a young Muslim American man, dispelling stereotypes and proclaiming his love of America and his religion.
- “Obama Admits He is a Muslim” (3,712,045 views)—a compilation of public footage offered as evidence.
- “Girl Stoned to Death” (3,711,660 views)—CNN news program showing cell-phone video of a Kurdish girl being stoned to death in Iraq.
The media are often blamed for supplying distorted and inflammatory images and messages. The twist with YouTube is that you have to go out of your way to find and view videos. You get to pick and choose what you’re exposed to and what you’re not.
What does it mean that these are the most popular videos for “Muslim”?
Please, “Comment” below.
(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)