Use the freedom of speech that the West so much admires….

Br. Husseinali Datoo

A few years ago, the than Mayor of London Ken Livingstone commissioned a research into news coverage of Muslims in one week in the media and it showed that in 91% of the articles in national newspapers, Muslims were portrayed negatively. He described this as “Damning indictment” and urged media houses for more prudence in portrayal of Muslims.

The findings showed a “hostile and scaremongering attitude” towards Islam and Muslims. He added. Only 4% of the 352 articles studied were positive and found that the media is biased and uses the gullibility of Muslims in portraying them as “different” and a “threat” to the “values “of the western culture.

Among examples in the study was a report which claimed that Christmas was being banned in one area because it offended Muslims, which researchers said was “inaccurate and alarmist”. Many news items carried by mainstream media were not true at all and some were exaggerated. More so the report concluded that Muslims in Britain were sometimes depicted as a threat to traditional “British values”.

WINSTON Churchill in his book –The River War writes in concluding:”No stranger retrograde force exists in the world far from being moribund; Mohammedenism is a military and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilizations of ancient Rome

Writing in FOREIGN AFFAIRS (2007) Tony Blair-Ex Prime Minister of UK writes” In my view, the situation we face
is indeed war, but of a completely unconventional kind, one that cannot be won in a conventional way. We will not win the battle against global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as that of force. We can win only by showing that our values are stronger, better, and more just than the alternative. That also means
showing the world that we are even handed and fair in our application of those values.”

Pope Benedict also did not spare his thoughts on Islam. Without a doubt, Islam is under attack. Everyone talks about “values”as if Islam has no values. I wonder if Tony Blair has read Risalatul Huqook(Treatise on Rights) by Imam Zainul Abedin . This book could make a good gift to him I believe.

When Rushdie’s book SATANIC VERSES – was released the amount of venom thrown at Muslims is mind-boggling… Day in day out Muslims were hounded with negative attributes in the guise of freedom of speech. This was followed by cartoon issue and now the film that denigrates Islam and the Holy Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). As always with these events unfolding we have seen mayhem on the streets of Muslim nations.

Innocent blood has been spilled and the detractors are amused all the way as to their mission accomplished! Muslims have been portrayed as violent and full of rage.

Yes these media and the latest film as well as Cartoons are really painful and despicable and these can only be done by people who are ignorant or having a passing knowledge of Islam.

In these circumstances we, Muslims have fallen into the trap that we forget to tell the world how beautiful the qualities of Islam and our beloved Prophet are? Our preachers always are full of praise of the Prophet on the Mimbars (PULPITS) in our mosques, but isn’t it time we got out to the larger audience? the Month of Muharram is on our doorstep and we have the internet at our disposal.

The scholars should get together and make as much publicity as we can to explain to the wider audience of the qualities of Islam, Holy Quran, Holy Prophet and his family (Ahlulbayt).
Seminars, lectures must be arranged and the media has to be reminded constantly not to write the untruth.

I am sure the Holy Prophet must be wondering that his Ummah cannot even do this rather than resort to violence that he so much abhorred himself during his life time!…

These events are a wakeup call….It is our duty…. let us wake from slumber.
Let us use the freedom of speech that the west so much admires in benefitting mankind to understand Islam.
May peace prevail..

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