Here is an article sent to me by a good friend, which appeared yesterday in one of the more Muslim-friendly newspapers in UK-- the Guardian. It seems to me that the media's attempt to continue thrusting a less than thrilling image of Islam is becoming almost desperate. Every time there seems to be the slightest lull, someone has to break it-- either one of our jihadi friends or the media with another "insider story" (NOTE: "jihadi friends" was meant to be sarcastic-- I don't have any jihadi friends; this disclaimer in itself is testimony to what positions we find ourselves in!).
So, it seems that the media cannot have enough of Islam/Muslim-related stories. Every outlet wants to break its own 'sleeper-cell' story! And I bet ya that the story sells each and every time. Of course, the good Muslim stories are never reported or buried somewhere deep, where no one can find it. Good stories, of course, don't sell. I mean a Muslim soup kitchen serving the hungry and desolate on Houston streets may be reported by one paper, but how much more attention does that deserve! On the other hand, the same soup-serving people, a bunch of barely-adults practicing to shoot arrows or guns for fun, in a camp owned by an Islamic society, is considered extremely news worthy, deserving of massive distribution since of course, stupid, they were members of a "sleeper-cell" and their "fun" activities was nothing but part of a "training camp". Remember Brandon Mayfield, the poor white-convert lawyer, who the media desperately wanted to be another John Walker Lindh? Remember how this guy had never left American shores, yet somehow his fingerprints were magically found on evidence in Spain? Well, remember how the story made front-page on all the papers? Now, fast-forward a bit, and his exoneration hardly made a dent in any of the headlines. So, what do you think the average American remembers? Another convert to Islam, with a fancy degree, out to get America!
Back to the Guardian story about the upcoming Channel 4 documentary (on UK TV). In 12 months of investigation (that is an awful long time), they found only one or two instances of what one might call outrageous and "break the law" type speech. Yet the whole commentary was labeled "Preachers' message of hatred". Some other examples of 'egregious' behavior (as defined by this journalist) were things stated by a preacher, directly from Islamic law, such as disciplining the children if they do not pray! Whoa... so, we can't even quote a hadith now? We can't even discipline our children now? To make them practice what is the most basic rights of Allah, i.e. to pray. I mean would we not hit our children if they did not study, or started to smoke, or do drugs? Most parents would answer in the affirmative. So, for Muslims, it is worse not to pray than to do any of these social wrongs. Please parents, don't get me wrong! Everything in Islam is in proportion, so hitting has its constraints: no hitting on face or head, not hitting so hard to leave bruises, etc. What is funny is that even the non-Muslim Western society is divided on the benefits/cons of child-spanking, and many religious Americans, esp. from the south, will tell you straight-up that a little spanking goes a long way. For Muslims, spanking of children is not encouraged, some say it is actually forbidden. But, the only place for its permissibility is for prayers, since prayers forms the minimum basis for a person's Islam.
What gets under my skin is that these dang investigative journalists (I assume there was more than one)... did they not see any good in 12 months? I mean they must have! Yet, to just ignore all the goodness for the sake of a few bad apples, for the sake TV ratings, at the expense of Muslim sentiments and Muslim image, is just plain incitement. What do they want?? A few lynchings? Will that satisfy their hunger for Islamophobic stories?
Channel 4, here's my message for you: The anti-Muslim sentiments are already resounding in the West, a large chunk of people already think Muslims are inherently violent or evil, Islamophobia is already rampant; so let me tell you straight-up that you have succeeded, that the media has ALREADY succeeded in destroying our image. Your "icing on the cake" with this documentary will now only serve to enrage those who already hate. That rage will lead to violence against Muslims: bodily or to property. And guess where the blame will squarely lie: at YOUR hands. As for the few Muslim extremists, they will continue preaching what they need to; they will just move around. Your story will neither bother them nor hurt them. In fact, it may embolden them. What you should have done INSTEAD, was to spend 12 months locating positive stories in the mosques. So, that you could help heal the wounds, not add insult to injury. So, that you could perhaps turn the heart of one of those bigots planning violence against Muslims, and perhaps even save a life. SHAME ON YOU, and shame on your channel, and shame on all those who support you with advertisement revenue. Prepare your hands for Muslim blood, I guarantee you that your story will lead to it, may Allah protect all our Muslim brothers and sisters. And Allah knows best.
Here's the story:
Revealed: Muslim Preachers' messages of hate
By Jamie Doward