The unfair treatment of western media towards Islam and Muslims is not new to many people. The biased reporting, stereotype stories and hidden hate towards Muslims of the world are facts of western journalism. These champions of the free world who claim that their reporting standards are very high, they are honest and feel responsible to provide correct information to their audiences are in fact, have dual standards of reporting. They intentionally dramatize a situation in order to market their programs and increase their market share at any cost. They are not honest when a news item or a story involves a practicing Muslim or religion of Islam.
The Muslims of North America, Europe and Australia have been under a constant threat from these media organizations. These media organizations including all TV network, most of the Radio stations and all-major newspapers of North America, Europe and Australiahave been controlled / influenced by special interest groups. These special interest groups through the western media are not only misleading the people of North America, Europe and Australia but also trying to build walls between Islam and the people of other faiths such as Christians and Jews.
These media organizations are purposely creating a very wrong image of Islam and Muslims. The main objective of these media organizations is to create, through their own judgments, such a horrible image of Islamic teachings that the people in the west not only consider Islam as a threat towards western cultures but also feel threatened by the Muslims. A common person who is very busy to fulfill his / her economic and social needs and does not have time to investigate the situation, heavily depends upon the media reporting. If TV, Radio and the Newspapers are not honest in their reporting then the listeners or the readers of western media will not be able to get the truth. Rather, it creates misunderstanding among the various religious and ethnic groups, which creates animosity, hate and intolerance for each other. The Muslim minority of North America, Europe and Australia has been suffering from this unfair and very biased treatment of the media for a long time.
Every time when an incident of terrorism happens anywhere in the world the Muslims living in Western World specially in North America gets terrorized by the horrors of the news media. The way newscasters on radio and TV broadcast and print media prints the news, it’s always very clear that all these newscasters and reporters not only try very hard to find a Muslim name to be associated with the incident. These journalists who portray themselves as the champions of humanity and professionalism become so unprofessional and inhuman that sometime they do not realize the outcome of their hurried and rushed reporting. You may be asking what proof do I have to support my arguments? Let me give you some examples from the recent memories.
- April 19, 1995, when the Murrah Federal building in downtown Oklahoma City, was bombed. The entire media organizations in USA and Canada declared the Islamic connection in the destruction of the building. The media speculated and blamed Muslims for the destruction and killings of innocent civilians. The way TV networks including CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, CBC projected and propagated Muslims as terrorists and Islam as the religion of intolerance, the majority of the people in USA and Canada believed these false reports of the media. The majority of the people not only tried to isolate Muslim minority but many Muslims became victims of this malicious propaganda. As we all know that these reports were completely false. There was no Muslim connection in this bombardment. Two fundamentalist Christians were convicted in this case. But no media organizations identified 27-year-old Timothy McVeigh and his ex-Army buddy, Terry Nichols as Christian terrorists.
- July 17, 1996 the crash of TWA 800 flight off New York’s Long Island in which 230 people aboard the Paris-bound Boeing 747 died was initially blamed upon Muslim organizations. The media was very irresponsible in reporting this incident. They not only provided the false information to the audiences but also forcefully tried to involve Muslims in this destruction. Later, the investigators did not find any Muslim connections to the crash. But media had done its damage and once again created bad feelings among the people of the United States for Islam and Muslims.
- October 31, 1999 EgyptAir flight 990 crashed off the coast of Massachusetts. All 217 passenger died in the crash. Because of the previous lessons learned on TWA 800 flight; the media did not jump to the Muslim connection quickly. But as soon as media reporters found out from the flight voice recorder that the Captain has said some prayers before the crash, they made astonishing and very ignorant remarks about these religious supplications. They assumed that the Captain said these prayers because he was going to commit suicide and destroy the entire plane with him. This shows how knowledgeable these investigators are? And how knowledgeable these media reporters are? A Muslim makes such prayers / supplications everyday when he / she starts the journey OR when he / she is in danger of an accident. We seek God’s help in these types of situations by making such supplications. No doubt, a Muslims relies on his or her judgment, training and technology but ultimately he / she relies on God as a final authority for all outcomes. These supplications do not indicate that the pilot was committing suicide. These supplications prove that he was seeking God’s help. By the way, these supplications also prove that the pilot was knowledgeable about the teachings of Islam and he must have known that suicide is a major sin in Islam. But media took these supplications as an opportunity to once again misguide the people about the Islamic beliefs and project Muslims as killers.
We can quote several similar incidents where no Muslim was involved in the incident but media used its twisting techniques and told the wrong information. Media always tried to portray Islam as a religion of terror and all the Muslims as terrorists. The way talk-show programs and news are produced and presented, it seems that the media has already decided the guilty verdict regardless what would be the outcome of an investigation.
Why the media would not tell about the religious affiliation of a terrorist if he or she would not be a Muslim? But when a Muslim individual is involved in any terrorist incident, his / her name is identified later but his / her religion is identified first. When a news comes fromAlgeria about a killing incident, the media is very quick in using the word “Muslim Terrorists”, “Muslim Extremists”, “Muslim Fundamentalists”, “Islamic Rebels” etc. When the similar killings take place in Zimbabwe, Congo, Rwanda, media never identifies anyone as Christians. How about Serbia? When Serbs were killing Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, Media never said that these Serbs are killing Muslims in the name of Christianity. These Serbs are Fundamentalist Christians and Christian Terrorists. When Croats were killing Muslims in Bosnia and Croatia, no media identified them as Christian Terrorists. When in Kashmir, if a Hindu person dies, the blame goes immediately on Islamic Militants but when a Muslim dies no one identifies his / her killer as a Hindu. Does anyone know why?
Why CNN and other network TV stations identify a group of people who attack on Israel from Lebanon as Muslim extremists? Why the people who retaliate from Israeli side are not identified with their religious affiliation regardless whether they are defending Israel or attacking the enemies of Israel? If one group is identified with its religious affiliation and the other group with its country affiliation, this proves how biased and unfair these reporters are? Either both groups should be identified with their religious affiliation or both should be identified with their country affiliation.
Recently, Pope Paul II visited holy lands. During this visit, Larry King of CNN invited various distinguished Christian and Jew guests in his show “Larry King Live” to talk about religious harmony. But Larry was unable to find a single Muslim scholar for this show. I do not think that Larry does not know that the largest population of that region where Jesus (peace be upon him) was born is Muslim. Pope was not only welcomed by Christians and Jews but the majority of the people who attended his masses and gatherings were Muslims. Pope visited the most sacred places of all three religions. But Larry King invited only Christians and Jews not a Muslim? This may not be very important but it shows how Larry King / CNN think. Producing a documentary on Hajj by CNN may not be as important as involving Muslims of USA in social, economical and political process and discussions on CNN.
Remember that Islam means Peace and Muslim means a believer from whose hands and tongue the others are safe. It is not possible that a true Muslim can be a terrorist. I am not trying to say that at present times, the entire Muslim community is perfect. I am not saying that the Muslim community does not have any bad element. What I am trying to convey is a request to the entire media organization to be fair and honest in their reporting. Treat the Muslim community as you treat the Christian and Jewish communities. In case of a Christian or a Jew, you are able to separate an individual action from his / her community action, why are you unable to do the same thing with Muslims? Just like Christianity or Judaism, Islam forbids its followers to harm or kill or make hostage anyone. while the media can understand the teachings of Christianity and Judaism why they have difficulty in understanding similar teachings of Islam? Is this intentional? Why media organizations do not want to play a positive role in bringing the followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism together? Why these media organizations treat a Christian or a Jew different than a Muslim? Why are these media organizations afraid of Islam and Muslims? The problems of extremism do exist in Muslim community just like in Christian and Jewish communities. Why the problem in Muslim community is exploited more than the Christian or Jewish communities?
The extremism in very small pockets of Muslim community is caused by;
- The oppression of Muslims and their counties by the Western world in 1700, 1800 and early 1900 in the name of imperialism, colonialism and communism.
- The continuation of this oppression by the West in the name of secularism and capitalism.
- The following of some of the self claimed Muslim scholars who practice and preach violence in the name of Islam to benefit their own personal interests. These people have misused the concept of Jihad and they have their own interpretation of Jihad. They have ignored the interpretation of Jihad what last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has given to the Muslims.
Muslims Against Terrorism (M.A.T)
To help the governments and the media organizations of the Western World in order to understand Islam and Muslims beliefs, Muslims Against Terrorism (MAT) has been established with the following objectives.
- To create awareness that Islam requires from its followers to be peaceful and sincere with the all humans.
- To educate Muslims and non-Muslims that Islam has no place for terrorism and racism.
- To educate Muslims and non-Muslims what Jihad is? And it’s various aspects.
- To create awareness about the teachings of Qur’an and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) regarding the roles and responsibilities of an individual, a government and a group of Muslims in Muslim and non-Muslim countries.
- To help young Muslims in their social, economical and educational affairs.
- To provide Muslim perspective to media when needed.
- To use the justice system against those media channels (radio, TV and newspapers etc..) which propagate false information against Islam and Muslims
- To use justice system against those media channels (radio, TV and newspapers etc.) which identify a terrorist based upon his / her religion.
The Purpose of this organization is to help media and the governments to separate someone’s individual action from being portrayed as a community action. A terrorist should be identified and condemned as a terrorist but a terrorist should not be identified with his / her religious affiliation. Why a terrorist who happens to be a Muslim is identified as a Muslim terrorist? How about the terrorists of other religions? Why aren’t they identified and associated with their religions? US installations and citizens are under more terrorist attacks from South American terrorists than any other part of the world. Why aren’t they identified as Christian terrorists? The white Supremacist groups in the Western world are fundamentalist Christians. Why their terrorist attacks on Blacks and other ethnic groups aren’t reported and associated with their religion. Unless, the people who believe in justice for all are united to standup for their rights, the media will continue to create a negative image of Muslims and Islam.
M.A.T. executives and members will be happy to assist any media organization by providing them the correct information. We urge the media to be careful in their reporting and do not use the word such as “Muslim Terrorist”, “Islamic Terrorist”, Muslim Extremist”, Islamic Extremist”, “Muslim fundamentalist”, “Islamic Fundamentalist”, etc. Such things do not exist. If an individual who happens to be a Muslim commits a crime, his / her name should be identified not his / her religion. Like media does for other non-Muslim criminals.The worldwide members of MAT monitor media reports very closely. We also urge all the Muslims and non-Muslims to report us any media reporting which they feel was a biased reporting against Islam or any other religion.
Muslims are the most law-abiding citizens of the Western World. The crime rate among Muslims in North America is the least among all ethnic groups. The external threats to USA are more from South America and Russian Mafia then Middle East or any other Muslim country. Why media picks-up on Muslims whenever an incident of terrorism occurs or about to occur? We may not know all the answers but we are sure that this is happening because of ignorance about Islam, Muslim beliefs, and prejudice and stereotype approach towards non-western cultures.
Its never too late. Let’s work together and join M.A.T or use services from M.A.T. for this noble cause of counter terrorism. May God help us in making this world a peaceful place for everyone. Amen.
Please forward this message to as many people as you can. Please print it and distribute in your area.
Following is the contact information to reach M.A.T.
Muslims Against Terrorism (M.A.T.)
Syed B. Soharwardy
4616 80th Avenue NE
Calgary, AB, T3J 4B7