Source: CanwestNews Service
A Muslim-style turban is perceived as a threat, according to a new study, even by people who don't realize they hold the prejudice, dubbed "the turban effect" by researchers.
Research volunteers played a computer game that showed apartment balconies on which different figures appeared, some wearing Muslim-style turbans or hijabs and others bare-headed. They were told to shoot at the targets carrying guns and spare those who were unarmed, with points awarded accordingly. People were much more likely to shoot Muslim-looking characters - men or women - even if they were carrying an innocent item instead of a weapon, the researchers found.
"Whether they're holding a steel coffee mug or a gun, people are just more likely to shoot at someone who is wearing a turban," says author Christian Unkelbach, a visiting scholar at Australia's University of New South Wales. "Just putting on this piece of clothing changes people's behaviour."
Unkelbach largely blames one-sided media portrayals for the bias.