by Syarif Hidayat*
“By God (Allah SWT), he is not a true believer, from whose mischief his neighbors do not feel secure.” – Prophet Mohammed PBUH – (Hadith written by Bukhari and Muslim)
ISLAM IS AGAINST KILLING – In Islam, the right to life is an absolute value!!
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. “Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation (in legal punishment) of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with clear proofs, evidence, and signs, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits (e.g. by doing oppression unjustly and exceeding beyond the limits set by Allâh by committing the major sins) in the land!” – Al Qur’an, Surah Al-Maidah, Verse 32.
The Role of Western Media Circus Bias
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West. Nevertheless, the West has many stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam that are due to: the media, Prejudice, and Ignorance. Islam is often looked upon as a “extremist”, “terrorist”, or “fundamental” religion. Many people hate Islam and do not want to acknowledge its true teachings.
The Western mainstream media circus apply a policy of controlled news reporting on their domestic problems and at the same time they apply the lies and biased news reporting on international affairs especially on Islam, the Muslim World, the Middle East Conflict and international terrorism.
The Zionist-controlled Western Media circus‘ biased news reporting on the Muslim World, the Middle East conflict and international terrorism create fear and xenophobia. This situation leads to more xenophobia including Islamophobia in the US and the other Western Countries that influence not only the general public but also the government officials in the individual western countries.
In many cases, the western media’s reports about Islam are incorrect due to ignorance. This is one of the reasons why the West often hates Islam. In contrast to what many Westerners think of Islam, Islam is a peaceful religion, which does not promote any injustice or crime. Stereotypes about Islam are not new to Western culture. Problems can be traced back 1400 years. At that time, Islam and Christianity were involved in the Crusades in the 1100’s and in the Ottoman and Moorish control in Europe. Islam spread quickly to the West, and started to threaten the position of the Christian Church and the ruling class.
The Western elites, mainly the governments and the churches, then became highly involved in seeing that negative images were presented about Islam. As a result, not only were battles fought against Islam, but also a war of words was initiated to make sure that Islam would not have any converts or sympathizers in the West. These kinds of actions and feelings that the West had long ago still seem to be the case in the West today.
Today, the West, with little or no understanding of Islamic history, has identified a new enemy, “a new demon that has replaced the Red menace of the Cold war, i.e., radical Islam”. This “radical Islam”, a stereotype common to Western thought, portrays Muslims as fundamentalists or potential terrorists. Some of these ideas that the Western people have about Islam are due to the mass media of the West. Reporters who cover the Muslim world often know very little details about it. The media then develops a distorted image of Islam that Western culture adopts.
A major factor which contributes to Islamic stereotyping in the West is due to the media’s ignorance of selecting their words that describe Muslims. Some common names heard or seen in the news about Muslims are “extremist” or “terrorist”. These words are misleading and are mainly anti-Islamic. The media rarely uses more neutral terms such as “revivalist” or “progressives”. The Western media also creates the idea that Muslims are “returning” to Islam. This is not true in most cases, because many Muslims have never left Islam in the first place. Islam has always been a big part of their lives.
The western regimes hypocrisy and media terror against Islam
The US-led western regimes and the western mainstream media circus terror intimidate Muslims more than anyone else on earth. After any terrorist activity, inside their houses, Muslims try to put fingers into their ears, not hear the phrase “another act of Muslim terror”. The level of hypocrisy in attitude of the police and the media is conspicuous. If a Muslim does, it is a terror plot but if a non-Muslim does, it is just an ‘act of violence’
Immediately after any incidence of terrorist activity, the mainstream media’s immediate reaction – pointing the finger towards Muslim extremist groups – shows the media’s inherent bias against the Muslims.
Outside, in non-Muslim countries, they avoid eye contacts with others to avoid giving possible explanations that “it need not be an act of Muslim terror” or “I wasn’t a part of it.” For a terror-attack anywhere, Muslims everywhere have to hang their heads in shame.
Muslims are the first suspects in almost all cases of violence, the world over. The Western Media circus usually has “credible sources” and bigot analysts to hatch theories against Muslims and the police has “informers” and matrix of terror links with names of Muslim youths inscribed as terrorists-in-line. Thus, investigation, forensic analysis, and fact finding, all have become irrelevant. The new logic of both the media and the police is to blame Muslims first, and investigate later.
Moments after the horrific Norway bomb-blast that killing 7 people on July 22, followed by the massacre of 85 teenagers, speculations started regarding the possible culprits. The renowned media group, the BBC – considered objective, started speculating on the following night that the Islamist group Al-Qaeda could be behind the attacks, although in the next morning they had to change their tone in front of evidence. As The Sun labeled the attacks as “Norway’s 9/11”, The Guardian was not behind in their suspicion and analysis of Jihadists’ role in the bloody episode.
American media’s reaction wasn’t different either. The Fox News O’Reilly Factor, not only suspected the Norway killing-spree as another incidence of Islamic terror, the guest host Laura Ingraham even attempted to link it with the atrocious 9/11 happened in the US, a decade ago by reminding the audience about the ground-zero mosque to be built in Manhattan. No doubt she would succeed in her effort to multiply the right-wing American hatred against the Muslims and the Islam.
Blaming the jihadists, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Norway is targeted for being true to Western norms.” Meanwhile, on the Washington Post’s website, Jennifer Rubin wrote, “This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists.” Altogether the instant reaction to the incidence, without any pursuance of proof or evidence, was that Muslim terror must be responsible for the attack.
However, within a day the whole story had to be changed, as the right-wing-Christian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, with a background of hating Muslims and liberals, claimed responsibility for the attacks, exposing the media-bigotry to malign the Muslim image. Once again, it’s been proven that not all terrorists are Muslims.
The same thing happens everywhere. Minutes after the Mumbai blasts on July 13, the Indian TV channels propagated the theory that Indian Mujahedeen (IM), deemed to be an Indian Muslim extremist group, could be behind the blast, although security agencies and the Police took hours before adopting the hypothesis – solely on the basis of spurious previous trends. Based on their guesswork, the Mumbai Police, as usual, detained several Muslims for questioning. One of those detained—Faiz Usmani—died while in police custody on July 17, sparking allegations of police brutality.
It has been more than a week, yet the investigating agencies have found no evidence to support their claims against the IM nor those detained. The tameness of the media and police administration reflects that – Muslims have been harassed, some Muslims have been detained, and one of them has got killed (all without any evidence). So what? Does it really matter? The Muslims are presumed guilty, by the unwritten rule, until proven innocent.
This trend is naught new. In the past, although there have been occasions in which Muslim groups have been found linked with terrorist activities, but extremist Hindutva-terrorists have also been proven to have carried out half a dozen attacks in India, such as bomb-blasts in Samajhauta Express, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif in (2007), and Malegaon (2008), the list goes on. When the right-wing-Hindutva groups are known to have established links with the Indian military and intelligence to carry out terrorist activities, yet raising fingers against them is an anathema.
The level of hypocrisy in attitude of the police and the media is conspicuous. If a Muslim does, it is a terror plot but if a non-Muslim does, it is just an ‘act of violence’. If a Muslim is suspected in a terror act, he is an Islamic terrorist while a proven non-Muslim figure behind terror activities is merely ‘an accused’.
If someone bears a Muslim name, this is enough for the police to suspect him/her as a terrorist. A few weeks ago, when a Mid Day’s photo journalist – Sayed Sameer Abedi – was taking innocuous photographs of a traffic junction and an airplane, Mumbai police detained him. Simply because of his Muslim name, one “unfortunate’ police officer glibly remarked that Mr. Abedi could be a terrorist. Shakespeare was wrong – there is a lot in a name, especially if it is a Muslim sounding name!
If this is how people’s sentiments against Muslims are aroused, how can the 1.5 billion Muslims live in peace with others and what message we are giving to the younger and the future generations? As the facts are now revealing the truth and dispelling the conjectures, media’s bias is getting clearer. In order to be credible, leave fairness, the media should show a little restraint before making allegations against Muslims and maligning Islam.
Terrorism and the Other Religions
Juan Cole in his article titled “Terrorism and the Other Religion”, writes contrary to what is alleged by bigots like Bill Maher, Muslims are not more violent than people of other religions. Murder rates in most of the Muslim world are very low compared to the United States.
As for political violence, people of Christian heritage in the twentieth century polished off tens of millions of people in the two world wars and colonial repression. This massive carnage did not occur because European Christians are worse than or different from other human beings, but because they were the first to industrialize war and pursue a national model.
Sometimes it is argued that they did not act in the name of religion but of nationalism. But, really, how naive. Religion and nationalism are closely intertwined. The British monarch is the head of the Church of England, and that still meant something in the first half of the twentieth century, at least. The Swedish church is a national church. Spain? Was it really unconnected to Catholicism? Did the Church and Francisco Franco’s feelings toward it play no role in the Civil War? And what’s sauce for the goose: much Muslim violence is driven by forms of modern nationalism, too.
I don’t figure that Muslims killed more than a 2 million people or so in political violence in the entire twentieth century, and that mainly in the Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 and the Soviet and post-Soviet wars in Afghanistan, for which Europeans bear some blame.
Compare that to the Christian European tally of, oh, let’s say 100 million (16 million in WW I, 60 million in WW II– though some of those were attributable to Buddhists in Asia– and millions more in colonial wars.)
Belgium– yes, the Belgium of strawberry beer and quaint Gravensteen castle– conquered the Congo and is estimated to have killed off half of its inhabitants over time, some 8 million people at least.
Or, between 1916-1930 Tsarist Russian and then Soviet forces — facing the revolt of Central Asians trying to throw off Christian (and then Marxist), European rule — Russian forces killed an estimated 1.5 million people. Two boys brought up in or born in one of those territories (Kyrgyzstan) just killed 4 people and wounded others critically.
That is horrible, but no one, whether in Russia or in Europe or in North America has the slightest idea that Central Asians were mass-murdered during WW I and before and after, and looted of much of their wealth. Russia when it brutally conquered and ruled the Caucasus and Central Asia was an Eastern Orthodox, Christian empire (and seems to be reemerging as one!).
Then, between half a million and a million Algerians died in that country’s war of independence from France, 1954-1962, at a time when the population was only 11 million!
I could go on and on. Everywhere you dig in European colonialism in Afro-Asia, there are bodies. Lots of bodies.
Now that I think of it, maybe 100 million people killed by people of European Christian heritage in the twentieth century is an underestimate.
As for religious terrorism, that too is universal. Admittedly, some groups deploy terrorism as a tactic more at some times than others. Zionists in British Mandate Palestine were active terrorists in the 1940s, from a British point of view, and in the period 1965-1980, the FBI considered the Jewish Defense League among the most active US terrorist groups. (Members at one point plotted to assassinate Rep. Dareell Issa (R-CA) because of his Lebanese heritage.) Now that Jewish nationalsts are largely getting their way, terrorism has declined among them.
But it would likely reemerge if they stopped getting their way. In fact, one of the arguments Israeli politicians give for allowing Israeli squatters to keep the Palestinian land in the West Bank that they have usurped is that attempting to move them back out would produce violence. I.e., the settlers not only actually terrorize the Palestinians, but they form a terrorism threat for Israel proper (as the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin discovered).
Even more recently, it is difficult for me to see much of a difference between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Baruch Goldstein, perpetrator of the Hebron massacre.
Hindu and Buddhist Terrorism
Or there was the cold-blooded bombing of the Ajmer shrine in India by Bhavesh Patel and a gang of Hindu nationalists. Chillingly, they were disturbed when a second bomb they had set did not go off, so that they did not wreak as much havoc as they would have liked. Ajmer is an ecumenical Sufi shrine also visited by Hindus, and these bigots wanted to stop such open-minded sharing of spiritual spaces because they hate Muslims.
Buddhists have committed a lot of terrorism and other violence as well. Many in the Zen orders in Japan supported militarism in the first half of the twentieth century, for which their leaders later apologized. And, you had Inoue Shiro’s assassination campaign in 1930s Japan. Nowadays militant Buddhist monks in Burma/ Myanmar are urging on an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya.
As for Christianity, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda initiated hostilities that displaced two million people. Although it is an African cult, it is Christian in origin and the result of Western Christian missionaries preaching in Africa. If Saudi Wahhabi preachers can be in part blamed for the Taliban, why do Christian missionaries skate when we consider the blowback from their pupils?
Despite the very large number of European Muslims, in 2007-2009 less than 1 percent of terrorist acts in that continent were committed by people from that community.
Terrorism is a tactic of extremists within each religion, and within secular religions of Marxism or nationalism. No religion, including Islam, preaches indiscriminate violence against innocents.
It takes a peculiar sort of blindness to see Christians of European heritage as “nice” and Muslims and inherently violent, given the twentieth century death toll I mentioned above. Human beings are human beings and the species is too young and too interconnected to have differentiated much from group to group.
People resort to violence out of ambition or grievance, and the more powerful they are, the more violence they seem to commit. The good news is that the number of wars is declining over time, and World War II, the biggest charnel house in history, hasn’t been repeated. (Tx/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)
*The Editor of Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)
1. International News Agencies
2. Datukik <[email protected]>