Analyzing the structure of an argument

Essay by kate123University, Bachelor's April 2009

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Islam vs. the West

COMU1010 Essay 1

In a secular society, clashes of religious tensions are inevitable. The most extreme example of this is when Eastern and Islamic culture directly conflicts with Western culture, the latter of which Australia has largely adopted. On the 9th of April, I attended a public talk on 'Islam versus the West' in relation to marriage and the treatment of women, given by a Muslim speaker called Mutahajid. This event was part of a 'Speakers' Corner' held regularly within Islamic gatherings. Due to the talk being held outside, there was a largely informal atmosphere, with frequent interjections from audience members and hecklers (a Christian fundamentalist and an Islamaphobic atheist). In this talk, Mutahajid aimed to educate the audience on the comparatively fair treatment of women by Muslims through a number of main points, questions from the audience, statistics, comparisons and personal anecdotes.

Mutahajid's arguments were carefully constructed to reach the audience in the most memorable way possible.

A Shannon-Weaver Model of communication best describes how his information was conveyed (see Appendix 1). Ultimately Mutahajid, the source, encoded a message through an oral channel, which the receiver then decoded. However a noise source which affects the encoding and decoding of information was vastly evident, as the hecklers were constantly calling out and distorting the information transmission. In this talk, Mutahajid's main claim was that the Islamic concept of masculinity regards women within relationships and marriages more fairly than Western men do, despite misconceptions the media create. Using the Toulmin Model of communication, it is evident that Mutahajid has used a variety of grounds to support this, including evidence from the Quran, statistics, personal experience, cultural observations and logical arguments. Appendix 2 shows the respective warrants for these grounds, and presents the backing for the...