Discrimination is widespread in any society. Some directly show hatred towards others, while some indirectly delineate it. One way to reveal indirect delineation in discourses is to analyze them using critical discourse analysis (CDA). According to Fairclough (1993) CDA aims to disclose the connection of discursive practices, events and texts, from social and cultural structure. Similarly, Van Dijk (1998) defined CDA as a field of discourse which aims at analyzing written and spoken text through which the discursive discourse of power, dominance, inequality and bias are shown. On the other hand, Fairclough and Wodak (1997) pointed out that CDA primarily addresses social problems such as sexism, racism, colonialism, religious discrimination and other forms of societal inequality. This paper, however, reviews related literature of critical discourse analysis in religiomisia or religious discrimination.
In the simplest terms, discrimination is a prejudicial outlook towards person or group of people (Merriam-Webster dictionary online, 2018). Pager (as cited in Zarar, Bukhsh and Khaskheli, 2017) defined discrimination as the treatment of people on the basis of characteristics that differentiate those. According to Pincus (1996), discrimination comes in many forms: individual, institutional and structural. Individual discrimination is primarily an issue between individuals, and Bivol (2016) argued that it also creates problems and that individual involved is the only one who can fix this type of discrimination. On the other hand, institutional discrimination is incorporated into the structures, processes and procedures of organizations, either because of prejudice or failure to take into account the particular needs of different social identities (Department of Health, 2005). In other words, institutional discrimination is triggered by social identity. Another form is the structural discrimination. According to Burns (2011), structural discrimination refers to rules, norms, routines, patterns and behaviour in institutions and other societal structures that represent obstacles to groups or individuals in achieving the same rights and opportunities that are available to the majority of the population.
Whatever the form of discrimination, its impact can be severe. Victims can be harmed physically, emotionally, economically and socially, and the most effective way to stop discrimination is to confront it immediately and directly (Carleton University, 2018).
Religiomisia, which is known as religious discrimination is an unfair treatment against individual who is a member of small religion in a community (Ghumman, Ryan, Barclay & Markel, 2013), and according to Weller (2011) it is manifested through prejudice, hatred, and harassment. As pointed by Fox (2016), religious discrimination happens, firstly, as a result of the partial teaching of religion reciprocity. Secondly, religious discrimination can also be caused by attitude of exclusivity and cause of fear to the follower, and lastly, it happens if the members of different religious groups lack of accurate knowledge both on their own religion and the religion of their victims.
Tensions between religious groups have long divided countries all over the world. For example, religious conflicts between Hindus and Muslims in India (Kishi as cited by Bhattachary, 2017) where Muslims in India at times experienced attacks by Hindus because of alleged cow slaughter. On the other hand, in a survey conducted by Pew Research Center (2017), Muslims in U.S. experienced significant bias against them. In fact, 50% of Americans say Islam is not part of mainstream American Society. In addition, Muslims perceived that media coverage about them is unfair; they also feel the unfriendly policies of Trump’s government towards them. In one hand, Haider (2017) reported that Christians throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iran, Egypt and Syria, experience various forms of discrimination including violence and harassment, expulsion, destruction of religious property and cultural heritage, larceny, lack of legal and constitutional protections, restrictions on and suppression of the practice of religion, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, targeting of religious leaders, educational exclusion, and impunity and institutional weaknesses.
Religious discrimination is one of the difficult issues to solve. Jayaram (n.d.) argued that as long as religions exist, because of their extremely divisive nature, religious discrimination and violence are going to stay and be part of human expression. For that, religious institutions must provide right knowledge to their adherents.
Critical Discourse Analysis
Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a specific branch within the larger field of discourse analysis (DA) employed by Teun van Dijk, Norman Fairclough and Ruth Wodak. It is a form of qualitative text analysis concerned with the linguistic character of social processes and structures. It strives to uncover and expose how language is used to construct social identities, social relations and systems of knowledge that may strengthen inequalities. This aim rests on the assumption that discourse does not only reflect social structures and process, but also reproduces existing ones. (Cavallin and Kuhlin, 2014).
Analyzing discourse using CDA, it is a must to understand its framework. It includes analysis of text, interactions and social practices at the local, institutional and societal levels (Tebogo, 2014). In spite of the fact that all the approaches to CDA have the notions of ideology, critique and power in common, they could be classified into three notable approaches, namely; dialectical relational approach of Norman Fairclough, socio-cognitive approach of Teun van Dijk, and discourse historical approach of Ruth Wodak (Waugh et al., 2015).
Dialectical relational approach to CDA focuses on dilalectical relations between structure and events and within each, between semiotic and other elements. Fairclough (2013) pointed out three major ways in which semiosis relates to other elements of social practices and of social events: as a facet of action; in the construal of aspects of the world; and in the constitution of identities.
Socio-cognitive approach relates discourse structures to social structures via complex sociocognitive interface.
On the other hand, Wodak’s discourse historical approach attempts to use all the background information in analysing different layers of a spoken or written text. She sees this approach as problem-oriented rather that emphasizing some special language issues and considers it as interdisciplinary in nature that could be seen both in theory and practice (Wodak, 2001).
Critical discourse analysis as a conceptual framework for investigating religious discrimination in a discourse is generally bound by a concern for the reproduction of ideology in language use. It helps analysts convince the reader of the resulting claims regarding how religious discrimination in one society are reproduce and generated through language use.