Posts tagged ‘islamophobia’

Islamophobia: What Caused This Psychological Mindset?- By Haani M Virjee Part 2

Islamic Terminology: The Misuse of Words

The media has taken Islamic terminology and has gone beyond merely using words out of context. Instead, it has completely distorted the meaning of various words, giving a translation that is not even close to the original. As it turns out, this inaccuracy of translation also contributes significantly to Islamophobia. One such word that is inaccurately translated is the word “Jihad.” Dina Ibrahim notes “one of the ongoing problems with western coverage of Islam is that Jihad is always translated as holy war.” He goes on to say that “Jihad is not a holy war. It is a struggle to overcome the forces of evil.” Finally, he stresses that “the concept of Jihad has been abused by Bin Laden and his followers, as well as network news.”7 The literal meaning of Jihad is indeed “struggle”; however, this term is used in many different contexts in Islam. The word Jihad can be used in a military context, but not in the way that the media portrays it-as a term being used to wage war against all other religions. In truth, it can only be used in a military context if one is oppressed and needs to resort to militant means to overcome oppression, or if one needs to resort to militant needs to defend land. The type of Jihad that is actually stressed more in Islam is the internal Jihad, or the struggle within oneself to resist temptation to commit sin. Arguably, this type of struggle is much more difficult to overcome. Finally, an example of Jihad that people are not even aware they are familiar with is the Jihad of Martin Luther King Jr. to fight for civil rights.

Another term that has been incorrectly used is the term “madrasa,” which has been defined in the media as an Islamic school where young Muslim men go to learn how to perform terrorist attacks on nations such as the U.S. In fact, in an ABC News report Bob Woodruff described madrasas in Islamabad by saying, “This is where the recruits begin their education, a collection of religious schools known as madrasas along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.” He later states, “[T]hey study the Koran and they learn about jihad, or holy war.”8 This interpretation of a madrasa is false. A madrasa is an Islamic school. It is not a place where young adults learn about holy war, but instead madrasas are where children learn morality, good behavior, and acts of worship consistent with the teachings of Islam. In the US for example, madrasas can be equivocated to Sunday school for many Christians. As a result of the media, many madrasas that now exist are incorrectly interpreted as types of terrorist recruitment centers.

Media Portrayal of Women in Islam

The portrayal of Muslim women has also contributed significantly to Islamophobia. “One common perception about Islam through the media remains that women are treated as second-rate citizens.”9 This perception arises when many news channels show images of women wearing the burqa and discuss political systems, such as that of Saudi Arabia, where women are treated as second-class citizens. When Americans view this coverage, they not only condemn such a system, but they view Islam as something completely foreign to the ideals of American society. What needs to be understood is that the Arab culture in Saudi Arabia predominates social and political atmospheres. The problem is that when there is a conflict with Islamic principles, the inequalities and social injustices are made to look like they are part of the religion. Furthermore, since the two holiest sites of Islam are found in Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi government claims to rule under Islamic law, it is not surprising that the outside world associates everything the country
does with Islam. However, Divya Sharma stresses that it is “important to note that a majority of Muslim population in the U.S. is not the same as the Muslim population in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or elsewhere. Religion is largely interpreted within the larger socio-cultural context.”10 Culture and religion must be distinguished as well as apparent oppression verses actual oppression. In more democratic political systems, Muslim women wear their scarves and observe the “hijab” by their own choice.

“In the final part, we shall look into Religious Illiteracy and The Conclusion.”

Islamophobia: What Caused This Psychological Mindset?- By Haani M Virjee Part 1

This work was written by the student for Siena Collge and was published in the School Journal.

Click to access Gleanings4.pdf


The attacks of September 11, 2001 resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center, the loss of countless innocent lives, and a war that has affected countries all over the world. What many overlook is that the attacks also gave the opportunity for the reputation of Islam and Muslims in America, and all over the globe, to be tarnished and destroyed. The aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001 includes a rise in what some sociologists call “Islamophobia,” which has been defined by some as “the fear or prejudiced viewpoint towards Islam, Muslims and matters pertaining to them.”1 Numerous cases of Islamophobia have been seen after the attacks of September 11, 2001, including the stereotyping of Muslims at airports and the prejudicial behavior against men and women wearing religious attire. A recent example is in the controversy over the building of the mosque at ground zero. Arguably, this psychological mindset existed even before 2001, but the rise of this issue in the last ten years can be attributed to two major causes:
the portrayal of Islam and Muslims in the media and the religious illiteracy of most Americans.

The General Effect of Media
It can be argued that with the lifestyle most Americans live today, the phrase “time is money” holds true for many. The advances in technology, including the creation of smart phones, wireless internet, and various other gadgets, have answered the demands for convenience and efficiency. These advancements, while being praised for allowing more accessibility to news and media, can at the same time be condemned for it due to the effects on public perception on topics such as Islam. The coverage and references of Islam and Muslims in the media post-September 11, 2001 has increased, as well as the amount of hate crimes.2 Through the use of powerful images, words, and a lack of context and background, the media has successfully tarnished the image of Islam. When most Americans watch news stories about Islam, they see images of bearded men carrying guns, bombs exploding in the streets of the Middle East, and headlines such as “radical Islam” or “Islamic militants.” Sheikh et al’s research on the Islamic image conducted even before September 11, 2001 showed that the articles on Islam “were mostly centered on crisis, conflicts and wars. Coverage of Islam was for the most part, international not domestic, and a clear majority of stories did not distinguish between the various branches of Islam.”3

Some experts believe that it is not just how and what the media presents, but who presents the information. Divya Sharma notes that “though Islam has been part of American society for over two hundred years, its analysis is built around violent acts by terrorism experts.”4 In other words, whether intentionally or not, many news channels have been picking experts who already have a negative view of Islam to provide analysis on the religion to the public, which has a profound effect on perception, whether the public knows it or not. Khalema and Wanna-Jones “found that media representations are frequently taken as facts, and since 9/11 attacks these representations have influenced public perception of Muslims in general.”5 This idea is directly supported by a survey conducted by Cornell University in 2004, which showed among other things “that people who paid more attention to television news were more likely to fear terrorist attacks and support limiting the rights of Muslim-Americans.”6 When citizens of a country are ready to limit the rights of their fellow citizens based on their religious status, one knows that a serious issue exists.

“In the next part, we will look into Islamic terminology and Media portrayal of Women in Islam”

  1. 1 Gema Martin-Munoz, “Unconscious Islamophobia,” Human Architecture 8, no. 2 (2010): 21.
  2. 2 Divya Sharma, “Why Do They Hate U.S.? Exploring the Role of Media in Cultural Communication,” Journal of the Institute of Justice and International studies no. 8 (2008): 246.                                                                                                                                                                                                      3.K. Sheikh, V. Price and H. Oshagan, “Press Treatment of Islam: What Kind of Picture do the Media Paint?,” Gazette 56, (1995): 139-54, quoted in Dina Ibrahim, “The Framing of Islam on Network News Following the September 11th Attacks,” The International Communication Gazette 72, no. 1 (2010): 113

React Like the Prophet by Meysam Rajani



In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, the most merciful.


I have not been sent, but to perfect your Akhlaq (Morals/Good Manners) – Prophet Muhammad(SAWW)

Attempts at ridiculing Islam’s great personalities have never been an infrequent occurrence. The Prophet, whilst he was alive, was thrown garbage at, pelted with stones, mocked in public and even had his life threatened. Aba Abdillah’s head was shamelessly disrespected by Yazid (LA), the fourth Imam along with the women of the martyrs of Kerbal were put on display as prisoners of war. These efforts to ridicule or belittle Islam and its great personalities have occurred in the past, are happening in the present and will continue to. What is our responsibility as Muslims, living in different corners of the globe? How do we react to this insensitive, preposterous, unbelievable attack on the Prophet of Islam?

The question we must ask ourselves, before we take any action, is ‘what would our Prophet do?’ Often, we make hasty decisions out of anger and disgust, rushing to the defense of our religion, with good intentions but adopting wrong approach. For instance, some people claim that the western world should be prepared to face the ‘repercussions’ for facilitating the production of this movie, or that they shouldn’t be surprised that Muslims have opted for violence in their reactions. The message may be correct to an extent, reaction to this attack will spark up, considering this is the holiest personality to the religion of Islam. But by stating, that violence is NOT surprising, we may be attributing an element of justification to the way some Muslims have reacted. It is important to note that, in NO way are we permitted to threaten or harm the lives of innocent people. The Prophet(SAWW), in a well-known hadith, was thrown garbage at, continuously for three days by an old lady. He never reacted or retorted, nor did he even ask the lady about her actions. In fact, he visited the lady when her absence was noted. The prophet was the pinnacle of good akhlaq, even when he was subjected to extreme mockery and ridicule. After all, he spent forty years acting upon his famous saying, “The only reason I have been sent is to perfect good manners.” If we are to defend the prophet of Islam, then we should adopt his approach.

The below post is a short clip from Nouman Ali Khan, a well renowned speaker in the Muslim world. It provides good advice on how we should react in these circumstances, as ordained by Allah(SWT), His messenger, and the Holy Qur’an.


Response on the mockery of the Islam & Prophet Muhammad by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

How Muslim should respond on the mockery of the Islam & Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam)

Use Quran to show true islam by Mujtaba Somji

As we all know during these current times, Islam has faced many attacks and false accusations. It has been made fun of and is seen to be a mockery, the latest being the making of the film, “innocence of Muslims”. As Muslims, we are duty bound to defend the Word of The Almighty as it is a gift to us, and as humans, it is our nature that we do accept and take good care of gifts that we receive whatever it may be.

Every system has a guide to ensure efficient use of it. E.g. a computer or machine. And so Islam being a systematic religion that covers all aspects of life also has a guide known as Qur’an.

Qur’an is a book which is always living and is applicable at all times, from Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w)’s time till the day of judgment. And so, it is a living miracle which helps solve all problems of life logically and ethically in a systematic way.

Also, when we look into any system, project or for instance a book, and then we are told to discuss what it is about, we will always read the whole thing and not part of it. This is because it will not be an academic approach as it requires full information.

So, the same thing applies to Islam or rather the Qur’an such that when non-believers claim and accuse Muslims of being terrorists or that the Qur’an just talks about war and violence. This is because, they read only part of the whole thing or also they just read a sentence of it. But, when we tackle a problem, we have to look at it in all fields of it so that we can draw a conclusion. The people, who accuse us, do not approach Islam academically. And therefore, we are responsible to discuss with them and educate them, as it is a blessing from Him, that we have the knowledge about it and that we are born Muslims.

And the Qur’an teaches us how to teach the dis-believers. This is said in Surah at-Tawbah, ayah 6. This ayah teaches us how to approach the claimer and what to do.

“If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.”

This is to provide them opportunities for hearing the true message of Allah, so that they may see the light of reason and accept the true religion of Allah. It is the highest form of tolerance. Islam enjoins upon its followers to give people every kind of facility to hear and understand the word of Allah. The pagans of Makka, the worst enemies of Allah, were allowed to enjoy protection so that they might first know the teachings of the religion of Allah and then decide about their future conduct.

Logically, when we are attacked, the first thought in our mind will be to defend ourselves.

We can further see that Qur’an teaches about self-defense but we are bound to certain limits that we are ordained to follow. This is in Surah al-Baqarah, ayah 190;

 “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.”

The message of Islam is universal. From early times the Muslims were only permitted to fight in self-defence.

This is further supported by Surah al-Baqarah, ayah 194

“The prohibited month for the prohibited month,- and so for all things prohibited,- there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, Transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.”

The men of Allah are allowed to inflict injury on those who violate the sanctity of the sacred months and attack the believers, because under the law of retaliation justice demands that the aggressors be punished, but when the enemies desist from continued confrontation, peace, bound by agreement, should prevail and be adhered to.

“Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).‎”

It is also true that out of their cunning and design some people wage war upon the Muslims with the help of the open and avowed enemies of Islam. If they do not keep away from you, nor offer peace, nor restrain their hands, seize them and destroy them wherever they are.

So, we can see that the Holy Book that had been attacked does carry so much weight and is without any doubt a clear miracle with amazing massages and guidelines. And therefore, our brain automatically demands us to know the author and question about Him, and that is none but Allah. To know how Merciful he is to his Creations, he has made it Wajib on Himself to grant Mercy on us. This is said in Surah al-An’aam, ayah 12

“Say: “To whom belongeth all that is in the heavens and on earth?” Say: “To Allah. He hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy. That He will gather you together for the Day of Judgment, there is no doubt whatever. It is they who have lost their own souls, that will not believe.”

This proves to us that He is all Kind and all Merciful. But, we should keep in mind that He is also very swift in reckoning as everything has its limits. Lastly we must keep reminding ourselves that his bounties are limitless and to gain them we need to obey Him by doing what pleases Him and avoiding what he has forbidden.

Protest against disrespect to the Holy prophet

















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