Religion of 2014-06-13

The media, amalign influence on islam*

From; ALHASSAN HADI AZINDOW. FINAL YEAR STUDENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, KNUST.KUMASI. Tears almost always run down my cheeks when I read and see images of bad media journalism by elements manipulated and controlled by the 'West' and their stooges attempting to portray Islam with terrorism. It is not the purpose of this piece to defend the killings and activities of terrorist groups but to attempt to dissociate terrorism from Islam. I am no theologian of any religion but I want to aver emphatically that Terrorism has no historical antecedents or grounding in Islam neither do the Islamic teachings preach terrorism. Events after the September 11th attack on the world trade center has provided more arsenals to some western media houses and their crony government to put Islam in bad light and further associate it with terrorist groups. Admittedly, we have, as Muslims provided more fuel to this burning desire to malign Islam. Our actions and in-actions have enabled some media houses to denigrate Islam and further drag its name through the mud. The current religious war in the Central African Republic is quintessential of what the loud silence of Muslims can do to innocent lives. Statistically, they may be just seven hundred and fifty thousand (750,000) Muslims in the Central African Republic but they represent the humanity behind each statistic. You may conclude that your country is peaceful and so nothing of external problem bothers you but remember that the ramifications of war knows no boundaries. The cock belongs to one house but when it crows, it is heard by the whole village- Chinua Achebe. The word 'terrorism' suffers from a definitional sloppiness but it has become so easy for some western media houses to use it as a catch all phrase for any heinous activity that involves an Arab name to Islam. It took the United Nation ten (10) years of negotiation and convention to come up with a definition for terrorism in 2005. That notwithstanding, terrorism today has come to be so synonymous with Islam, thanks greatly to some media outlets. When you subject the UN definition of terrorism to strict analysis devoid of bias you come to a sound conclusion that the United States is the biggest terrorist group the world has ever witnessed. The UN definition of terrorism reads 'the targeting and deliberate killing of civilians and non-combatants'. The question I ask is, how many non-combatants and civilians has the US killed since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to present and still counting. "The war launched by the United states as 'Operation Enduring Freedom' in 2001" according to the Guardian has killed as many as 20,000 Afghan civilians. When you do the computation it is as if for every individual killed in the September 11th attack (approximately 3000 innocent people were killed) seven (7) Afghan innocent lives shall be killed in retaliation. At the end the only excuse we get is, as usual, they were collateral damage. The irony of the situation is that the operation has 'freedom' as its bottom-line but has enslaved a huge number of people directly and indirectly. Will I therefore be cynical to assume that some western media houses are just answering the call of their pay masters by trying hard, even if the facts are to the contrary, to paint Islam black? I have never heard any western media house, correct me if I am wrong, pronounce the US a 'civilian terrorist' rather we are bundled with all kinds of phrases like 'an Islamic terrorist', 'a jihadist', 'an extremist jihadist terrorist', 'a Muslim terrorist' and a whole lot of banal 'nonsense.' It is indeed true that most of these terrorist organizations are strong in Islamic states and regions but does that give a justification to lump them as 'Islamic terrorist'. It is as if saying that you eat pork simply because your father ate it before he gave birth to you. The reasoning is counter logic and a complete fallacy of sweeping generalization. I agree totally with the argument that Muslims are the enemies of themselves. Until we come together as one and redefine our outlook as a united people, until we understand the unity with which our forebears fought for us, until we come to terms with the fact that an Arab Muslim is equal to an African Muslim, until we agree to mend our deep cracks, and until and unless we appreciate our differences even as we strive for unity we shall continue to be the laughing stock of the media. According to Kramer "The only way to apply the brake to suicide terrorism, is to undermine its moral logic, by encouraging Muslims to see its incompatibility with their own values.' All hope is not lost because there are genuine non-Muslims who understand the Islamic teaching far better than many of the so called world acclaim journalist who puts the Islamic religion in disrepute. I urge all Muslims to live a lifestyle that is exemplary of the teachings of the Holy Quran and accept non-Muslims as part of the many creations and diversity Allah has created. I dedicate this piece to the many people who are surprised globally through religious intolerance and perverted understanding of the Good Books of God. Shalom.