The Battle for Hearts and Minds in Five Minarets in New York: A Look Into Intercultural Communication in a Turkish-American Film
This study examines the intercultural communication in the Turkish-American film Five Minarets in New York by looking into the battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims between moderate and radical Muslims and the communication barriers between the Muslims and the West, or between Muslims and non-Muslims, which are the negative stereotypes of Muslims, terrorist acts committed by Muslims in their own countries or in other countries, and the Muslims’ negative sentiments and views towards American imperialism. Anchored on Rokeach and Ball-Rokeach’s concept of value and the bigger concept of worldviews, the study used ideological analysis and discourse analysis in discussing the interrelated conflicts in the film. The transnational character of the film was manifested in the balanced representation of two conflicting ideologies in Islam, Sufism and Islamism, and the intercultural dialogues between characters representing the West and moderate Muslims. Two important points were revealed in the study and which were backed up by related literature: 1) Radical or violent extremist Muslims are just a minority among the population of Muslims in the world; a vast majority of Muslims are moderate Muslims who oppose terrorism and extremism; and 2) There is still a battle for the hearts and minds of the Muslim minority who thinks that violence is justified to advance the cause of Islam and fight for the cause of aggrieved Muslims.