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Books and Documents

Islam and the Media

The stereotyping of religious people, beliefs and communities is not always intentional or even overt. Journalists sometimes rely on widely-used terminology without considering the broader implications. For example, referring to “Islamic terrorism” can make terrorism seem Islamic, just as referring to terrorists as “extremist Muslims” can make terrorists seem extremely Muslim. …..

“The more movies that are made about the prophet’s life, the better,” Majidi said at Montreal’s world film festival. “We hope the Qatari team will make a correct interpretation of Islam, and they are most welcome to come and film at our facilities in our country.”

 

Among the various online fora, NEWAGEISLAM.COM, a web portal run by Muslim scholar Sultan Shahin, is collecting different scholarly works on various radical ideologies prevalent among Muslims to build up a counter narrative. Shahin said that some extremist ideologies have found place in religious discourses delivered in madrasas, which has to be countered through rigorous reforms in madrasa education. People connected with anti-Taliban Pakistani scholars like Tahirul Qadri and Javed Ahmed Ghamidi also organise talks and let people know about their lectures on countering "jihadi fatwas". The Delhi-based group Khudai Khitmatgar has revived Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan's mission to work towards communal harmony and promote the softer sides of all religions, especially Islam.

“India has always been home to the Sufis whose teachings were love and tolerance. This is how Islam spread here. The hard-line views propagated by the Saudis and their funding poses a threat to the very fabric of Muslim society.” The Wahhabi stream exhorts Muslims to adopt the more “puritanical “form of Islam while Sufis -also known as Barelvis -maintain that teachings of saints cannot be ignored. The tussle between the two has also manifested in many mosques across the region where both schools have tried to wrest control of administration......

I was surprised. He kept going, saying: “They will force your columnists, editors and even correspondents to leave.” I did not think that would be possible; I have always been suspicious of this, because they had already started a campaign of antagonism against Zaman daily. I thought after all they had done, why would they deal with the workers of the paper? I was wrong. Back then, some pro-government columnists published pieces in which they argued that nobody will stay at Zaman to write columns. One of them even argued that people will run off from the Zaman daily…..

Referring to Mufti Ismail’s speech, Abdul Halim Siddiquee wrote an editorial in his daily saying that corrupt elements could be found in every department and walk of life and that the majority of the weavers of Malegaon were honest. Thanks to their honesty and hard work their business was flourishing. Further, the editorial asked the mufti to do introspection as to how much water and oil he mixed as an imam, as a teacher and as a political leader. This offended mufti Ismail so much that he instructed his supporters and mercenaries to teach the editor a lesson. As a result, his sword wielding supporters and drunk hired goons ran amok on the streets with unsheathed swords in five groups vandalizing Abdul Halim Siddiquee’s house and office....

How Turkish Media is Threatened
Mustafa Akyol
How Turkish Media is Threatened
Mustafa Akyol

In its open letter to Erdoğan, Hürriyet, which seems to be baffled with the “coup conspiracy” it cooked up with a headline, kindly tried to explain how ridiculous this accusation is. It was so ridiculous that Erdoğan himself, in a speech right after the Morsi verdict, had emphasized that this was a punishment given to “a president elected with 52 percent of the votes....

 
I’m a Social Media Mujahid
Muhammad Adil
I’m a Social Media Mujahid
Muhammad Adil

I am a Mujahid. My operational area is the social media – Facebook and Twitter, to be precise. I have been tagged an e-Talib, a cyber-Mujahid, a keyboard-jihadist and what-not....

 
If Truth Be Told
Mehr Tarar
If Truth Be Told
Mehr Tarar

In the case of a self-avowed recluse like one, being an innate chatterbox and receptive to people in general, one’s many interactions, these days, are virtual. And embarking on one’s journey to become a great Pakistani novelist-cum-non-fiction-writer (dream big, no?), many a happy hour is spent on one’s laptop, ergo connecting one to the virtual world that has all the trappings of reality.

 

In many ISIL-related conspiracy theories, two reasonable points—that ISIL is in some sense a creation of regional and international powers, its rise a consequence of their terrible policies; and that what they do is “un-Islamic,” or horrifying to most Muslims—have been quickly pushed into the territory of non-thinking absurdity....

 
Skewed Reporting Incites Hatred of Islam
Sheikh Hussain Yee
Skewed Reporting Incites Hatred of Islam
Sheikh Hussain Yee

Inept journalism and hostile anti-Islamic fabrications in the guise of “reporting” have undermined Islam’s message of peace and compromised the work being done by peaceful scholars of Islam everywhere....

 

The Times doesn’t even blush when one of its most celebrated columnists mulls over the idea of sending weapons to the terrorists in ISIS – all presumably because Israel has identified “the Shiite crescent” as its current chief enemy and the Islamic State is on the other side....

 
It's the Ideology, Stupid
Mercedes Schlapp
It's the Ideology, Stupid
Mercedes Schlapp

Through the Islamic State group’s sophisticated social media outreach efforts, the militants are becoming the best global sales team, with the capability to recruit and radicalize men and women who are in search of purpose and absolute power in their lives. The group's propaganda videos have gone viral, and beheadings and crucifixions are becoming daily occurrences, all in the name of Allah and with the ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate....

Who Is The Offended?
By Anupama Katakam

There are various versions of how and why Shirin Dalvi published the caricature. In an apology she wrote in a blog, she says: “I, Shirin Dalvi, begin with an apology for having printed the title cover of Charlie Hebdo. It was a mistake and I had no intention to hurt the feelings of my community. Like any other Muslim, I deeply respect Prophet Mohammed—sallallahu alahi wa sallam —Peace be upon Him…. We juxtaposed it with news of the Pope’s statement where he criticised the Prophet cartoons and said freedom of expression was not absolute and religious beliefs should not be mocked in the name of this freedom.” She also says that she does not understand French and hence it was a case of bad judgment on her part....

Muslim media professionals should have been more alert and should have strongly rejected the popularized name of the so-called “Islamic State” and should have labeled them with a name that truly describes their criminality, such as: “ the State of Al-Khawarij, “the outsiders who have deviated from the faith, “the State of “Al-Safaheen”, the butchers, or “the State of Al-Muhtaleen”, the impostors....

 

In the United States, the president is Barack Obama, a non-Muslim. His childhood experience of Islam, which ended when he was just ten, occurred in Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim country, but a non-Arabic one where the teaching and practice of Islam is very different from what it is in the Middle East....

Feeling Muslim
Nourhan Elsayed

I can hate that the media has created an idea of what it means to be Muslim. I can hate feeling Muslim. With the speculation that has emerged about the intent of the horrendous crime, I feel Muslim. You can’t fight something you don’t name. The media’s hesitation toward calling this a hate crime says to me that people think that the right to practice Islam without fear is not a cause worth fighting for. Without naming this as the hate crime it was, the message is that hate toward Islam is not a cause worth deconstructing and extinguishing….

 

While today many Muslims and Arabs lack the right educational opportunities because of the economic and political circumstances, most Arab and Muslim household place a high value on educating their children. A typical Arab/Muslim family will do the most they can to have their children go to good schools and colleges. The families set high expectations and many children end up with master's degrees and Ph.D.s; others are entrepreneurs, restaurant owners, doctors, government officials, athletes and so on. On the other hand, Arabs and Muslims have a huge interest in movie making, singing, architecture, art, and literature. All forms of art are welcomed and the world has to remember that the European renaissance happened as a result of the ancient and new knowledge reacquired from Muslim scholars….

"Even the most basic elements of 1400 years of Islamic civilisation are absent from the curricula in most of the world's schools. The subject is just not on the world's educational radar screen. And the result is an enormous vacuum. When developments in Islamic societies break into the headlines, few journalists - and fewer of their readers - can bring the slightest sense of context to such news."….

 

With the way episodes of hate-speech on TV are being viewed and lamented after the Peshawar tragedy, the responsibility of the local and multinational companies who sponsor potentially controversial shows was bound to come up....

 
Social Media and the New Islamism
Mümtazer Türköne
Social Media and the New Islamism
Mümtazer Türköne

And no matter how arcane the rhetoric and mentality of ISIL may seem, it is actually making a direct appeal to this new world we inhabit. What's more, the real target of ISIL is not the people who live around the peripheries of society, people who have not been able to throw off the shackles of tradition or village life; no, instead, the real target is those people isolated and alienated in the shadows and surroundings of modernity. While these people search for an escape from this modern prison which leaves them so unhappy, crushed and without hope, they rush to the calls made by organizations such as ISIL…..

Though the media public discourse is severely restricted to some, it is generously open for others such as for those morally flexible intellectuals and media jokers who applauded the Israeli war on Gaza, as the rest of the world protested its devastating carnage. For now, Okasha and Adeeb will continue to take centre stage, while thousands of brilliant voices of intellectuals and journalists are muffled and censored. It is hard to imagine that in this age of awakening, such mockery will continue for too long…..

 

Finally, no review of radical Islamist websites in English would be complete without consulting Salafi Talk, a site promoting Wahhabi doctrine. "Salafi," referring to the original three generations of Muslims living with, and immediately after, Muhammad, has been abused as a cover term for "Wahhabi." Wahhabis who call themselves "Salafi" do not follow the examples of the early Muslims, but claim the term "Salafi" as an indicator of rigidity against the passage of centuries, and because they know that admitting they are Wahhabis alienates many Muslims......

Media Portrayal Of IS
Nihad Awad
Media Portrayal Of IS
Nihad Awad

IS core message is not Islamic. It is a political message improperly couched in Islamic terminology. I say improper because, as evidenced by the overwhelming rejection of IS by Islamic scholars, no faith sanctions its atrocities. Instead of misusing Islamic terminology, western media should refer to IS as a criminal organization. These two elements — justice and a media willing to deny violent extremists a pulpit— are often missing from discussions on ridding the world of IS corruption….

... dozens of European countries have now agreed to devise sophisticated measures to control the border with an aim to create obstacles for the ISIS recruits in travelling freely. Most importantly, these countries have tied up with the internet providers and social media networks to hunt the jihadist outfit where it hurts. And that is being done by working together to prevent jihadist ideology from reaching the targeted youth in their impressionable ages. Representatives of Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter were invited to Luxembourg on the 8th October to meet with 28 European interior ministers and discuss ways to counteract the intensive use of social networks by ISIS. ...

 
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