Data suggests that the U.S. media is playing an active role in making Americans disproportionately afraid of Muslims.
Terror attacks perpetrated by individuals claiming to be Muslim get an average of 449 percent more news stories than attacks perpetrated by non-Muslims, according to research by academics at Georgia State University. This means attacks associated with Muslims get 4.5 times more media coverage than those perpetrated by white supremacists or others.
"This stereotyping reinforces cultural narratives about what and who should be feared," the authors of the study write.
"By covering terrorist attacks by Muslims dramatically more than other incidents, media frame this type of event as more prevalent. Based on these findings, it is no wonder that Americans are so fearful of radical Islamic terrorism," they add.
The researchers analyzed media coverage from CNN and U.S. newspapers from 2011 to 2015, looking at 2,413 news articles. They looked specifically at terror-related news coverage, finding a significantly disproportionate focus on attacks perpetrated by people associating themselves with Islam.
While only 12.4 percent of terror attacks in the five-year period were carried out by individuals associating themselves with Islam, these attacks received 41.4 percent of terror-related media coverage.
In fact, 20 percent of all the U.S' terror-related media coverage focused on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The attack was perpetrated by two Chechen-American brothers, allegedly motivated by extremist Islamist beliefs. Three people died as a result of the attack.
Conversely, coverage of a 2012 attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, perpetrated by a white man, received just 3.8 percent of terror-related media coverage. Six people were killed in the attack.
Ironically, U.S. President Donald Trump has accused the media of ignoring attacks perpetrated by individuals identifying as Muslims. However, this study shows that his assertion is gravely inaccurate, and the media actually neglect covering terror attacks perpetrated by White supremacists and others not associated with Islam.
"When President Trump asserted that the media does not cover some terrorist attacks enough, it turns out that he was correct,” the researchers say in the report. "However, his assertion that attacks by Muslim perpetrators received less coverage is unsubstantiated."
Of course, a lot of Muslims aren't shocked by the study
Muslims are sadly all too familiar with the negative coverage
But Muslims are actually being attacked
While Trump and the U.S. media have focused attention on so-called Muslim terrorists, white supremacist terrorists actually pose a major threat to national security, but they are often brushed aside or overlooked.
"Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. consider anti-government violent extremists, not radicalized Muslims, to be the most severe threat of political violence that they face,” the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security reported, according to Newsweek.
Between 2002 and early 2016, individuals associated with white supremacist groups were responsible for more terrorist attacks and more deaths in the U.S. than individuals associating themselves with Islamist extremists.
At the same time, hate crimes targeting Muslims have increased in the U.S., spiking by 67 percent in 2015, according to an official FBI report.