Books and Documents

Islam and the Media

Unfortunately, this isn’t true of Shah Jahan, a most secretive man on whom there isn’t as much published. Perhaps, this was deliberate, given the bloody fashion in which he came to power, with the slaughter of all his brothers, and the grief he came to in the end under his son, who in turn, killed two of his brothers and forced the third to flee the country. But it is a shame....

Muslim Press in India and the Bangladesh Crisis
Professor C. M. NAIM
Muslim Press in India and the Bangladesh Crisis
Professor C. M. NAIM

No radical change occurred in the thinking of the Indian Muslims either. Their immediate reaction to the various developments in the crisis were, as we saw above, more imbued with fundamentalism in some respects than the responses of the Pakistanis. One got the feeling that the thinking of a significant and large group of Indian Muslims was still very much governed by two potentially most dangerous notions, namely: (1) there is one Muslim nation, one Muslim language, and one Muslim culture; and (2) those who are not with them in these beliefs are against them, and, therefore, against Islam itself.

It was similar irrational thinking that had led them, prior to 1947, to give overwhelming support to the demand for Pakistan, a demand that allegedly arose out of a desire to protect Muslim minorities but which in its fulfilment left them high and dry. That demand got the support that it did because it appealed to the Indian Muslims' belief that, having "ruled over India for one thousand years," they could only be either kings (in Pakistan) or king-makers (in India). Mr. Jinnah asked the Indian Muslims to unite for Pakistan, without offering them any details of what that Pakistan was going to be like. "Unite and remain separate from the non-Muslim, who should have no say in Muslim affairs," that was the cry in those days. That still seems to be the cry raised by a large number of the leading elements in the community.  

It is a dismal picture indeed.

A condom advertisement is pulled off but Hafiz Saeed is free to express his thoughts while leading Eid prayers. Hafiz Saeed on twitter is freedom of expression but Baloch Hal is a threat to national security?...


The Egyptian media - both state and private - overwhelmingly support the interim military regime. Many TV outlets deemed too Islamic or critical were shut down immediately after the coup. This means that the majority of ordinary Egyptians have the unchallenged running narrative of the State beamed into their TVs and radios and printed in their newspapers. If recent history teaches us anything, it is that media in times of conflict can become the facilitator for mass bloodshed and war crimes. …

Islam and Television
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Islam and Television
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The correct Islamic approach is not one of negative reaction. Rather, it entails searching for positive aspects and opportunities, even amidst negative conditions and circumstances….

Jihadists on Twitter
Jamal Umar Tr. New Age Islam Edit Desk

By posting links on Twitter, terror networks such as AQIM, Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Shabaab are able to guide followers to YouTube videos and other media to aid in the radical recruitment effort. According to the report, these jihadists decided to engage in physical violence after being active within the virtual dominions of al-Qaeda, where exposure to the media had an impact on their personal lives and understanding of religious conduct. Touareg security analyst Abdelhamid al-Ansari opines that the interest in alterative communications is not new for al-Qaeda. In fact, the tech-savvy people enjoy a high position within the terrorist organisation for the simple reason that al-Qaeda is a virtual world and its virtual world is much bigger than its real world....


Waseem Tauqir, the PTA director general (Planning and Strategy), conducted the meeting in a “facetious manner, disregarding and refusing to entertain numerous queries by the Bytes For All team and independent experts”, the organisation claimed.

“He went as far as threatening to end the proceedings prematurely and frequently gave shut-up calls when posed with tough questions. The meeting was also disrupted by belligerent PTA staffers, who attempted to engage Bytes For All’s counsel in a shouting match, claiming that you can go to the court if you want and name me.”......


D H Goswami has stated before a magistrate that he heard Vanzara say that the extra-judicial killing of Ishrat and the others had the approval of the political bosses Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Why is this not being investigated? Further, what is the responsibility of the Chief Minister and then Home Minister Shah when custodial executions can occur with impunity under their watch? These are the questions that the media must focus on, not diversionary inquiries that can destabilise a fair investigation into what is one of the biggest challenges to rule of law in the country....

Pakistan Bans Website on 'Liberal' Islam
Neha Pushkarna
Pakistan Bans Website on 'Liberal' Islam
Neha Pushkarna, Daily Mail, London

Selling new-age Islam to Pakistan is a daunting task. For Sultan Shahin, who runs a liberal-view website with the same name, it proved to be futile.

Shahin's newageislam.com - a Delhi-based online resource on Islam - has been banned in Pakistan for being 'too liberal' as well as critical of the contemporary interpretation of the 1,400-year-old religion.

Shahin's multilingual website, started in 2008, was banned in Pakistan on June 30 this year. According to him, it was done on the directions of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority following the website's tirade against Talibani writings. ....

When the Screen Goes Blank
Mohammad Ali, The Hindu

“What is very interesting is that most of the blocked pages, apparently by the Pakistani authorities, talk about basic ideas of gender equality, Islam’s emphasis against terrorism and violence and its tolerance of dissent. How can these ideas be in any way against the welfare of any society or Islam? In fact, these ideas need to be talked about in order to create awareness about the essence of Islam,” said Mr. Shahin, who is planning to raise the issue with concerned authorities in India as well as Pakistan…..

Finally, the entire New Age Islam website has been banned in Pakistan. Readers in Pakistan informed us about an hour ago. After blocking one page, then 2/3, then 4/5, then 10 pages of New Age Islam in Pakistan, mostly pages from our Urdu and Arabic section, now the whole website is blocked. During the last week we have kept our readers informed of not only the pages blocked in Pakistan but also how our thousands of readers in Pakistan are beating the ban.  Indeed, one reader sent us a video of exactly how they are able to open blocked pages of New Age Islam in Pakistan.


We found the ban of a few pages in Urdu and Arabic a good opportunity to analyse why some particular pages of the website had been blocked and what does it tell us about the mindset of people who run the Pakistan government.  This led us to the conclusion that the Talibani elements in Pakistani army and the bureaucracy probably forced PTA, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, to ban some of the ‘offensive’ and ‘objectionable’ pages of New Age Islam. It was perhaps then that the Pakistan government woke up  to the realisation that blocking only specific pages could send the 'wrong' message that the Talibani elements were behind the ban as the articles that were blocked only hurt the interests of Taliban and other extremist and Salafist-Wahhabi forces in Pakistan.


 This would clearly show that the pages were blocked not because it hurt the interests of Pakistani nation but because the articles refuted and opposed the un-Islamic views of Taliban on suicide bombing, rights of Muslim women, on the education of girls and on the killing of Shias and other minorities in Pakistan by Taliban and on the power of peace. By banning the whole website now, they seem to be on a damage control mode. They want to create the impression that the website was banned because it published ‘offensive’ content and not specifically for publishing anti-Taliban content.  But the damage is already done and New Age Islam readers globally, particularly in Pakistan, have seen the real forces and motive behind the ban. .....

The Pakistan government has banned some of the pages of New Age Islam including an article on Shah Rukh Khan in Urdu. This is another example of how Pakistan government gags the media in Pakistan. Journalists and reporters inside Pakistan have earlier been killed or incarcerated for exposing the wrong policies of Pakistan government. New Age Islam which has been in the forefront of the war against terrorism, fundamentalism and sectarianism has always criticised the wrong policies of successive Pakistan governments. It has also criticised and condemned its inactivity in protecting the rights of minorities in Pakistan. ...

Now the readers themselves can decide what was so objectionable in the column which irked the Pakistan government that they decided to block the page. The column had in fact not even been written by a New Age Islam columnist but by a conscientious Pakistani writer and had been posted in his blog.

If the Pakistan government does not like what is written in the column, and, of course, one can easily see why it won’t, it should strive to rid Pakistan of the social and political ills that have gripped the Pakistani society. But it can definitely not be done by allocating funds worth cores of rupees to the terrorist organizations like Hafiz Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba as the new Shahbaz Sharif government of Punjab has done recently following Nawaz Sharif’s victory at the national level with support from Islamist militants of Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba and the like…..

It is a fact that all the articles go against the ideology of Taliban – the ideology of violence, subservient status of women, suicide bombing, persecution of minorities, etc. It should also be noted that the extremists and fundamentalist forces are active in Pakistan army as Adnan Rashid, a Pakistani terrorist having worked in the army, had disclosed in an interview in the Taliban’s English mouth piece Azan. Since New Age Islam had published an article to highlight this aspect of the Pakistan army’s activities, the Talibani/Jihadi elements in the military might have taken the initiative to block the pages of New Age Islam.

Since the new government has come to power with the tacit support of Taliban, the militants are clearly in the driving seat in the Nawaz Sharif government. Only the last week, the Punjab chief minister and PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif granted Rs 61 million to Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba, a terrorist organisation. The opening of the political bureau of Taliban in Qatar was facilitated by the government of Pakistan, according to a foreign office spokesman. The Pakistan government is pressing for the holding of dialogue between the US and Taliban though Karzai is opposed to it. The Pakistan government has released some powerful leaders of Taliban held by the previous government. All these developments point to the fact that the new government of Pakistan is being controlled by Taliban elements......


Please See A New Age Islam Reader's Ordeal In Pakistan, Struggling To Open Some Blocked Pages


Khamis said that the growth of the online Islamic community has introduced the “threat of uninformed religious advice, or Fatwas, from online muftis” (interpreters of Muslim law). She said online forums tend to lack traditional Muslim scholars, and websites from authoritative voices “are not very well-visited websites.”...


Many bloggers have stopped writing, and some have gone into hiding fearing for their life, according to a Dhaka-based blogger who did not want his name publicized due to security concerns. At least eight sites announced a blackout on the blogosphere in protest of the recent arrests and wider crackdown. One such site posted a notice that read: "Bangla Blogosphere begins blackout in protest against harassing and cracking down on bloggers."...


On April 8, the readers of the Urdu daily were shocked to see two press releases of the pro-Jamaat ideologue of Bengal published in the same daily. These press releases had already been published by another Urdu daily. But pro-Delawar fanatics were not satisfied. They wanted the press releases published in the same Urdu daily which published pro-Hasina editorials. It would be a befitting reply to the Pro-Hasina editor if a press release against him was published in his own newspaper. So, under threat or on the order of the owner of the newspaper who is a fruit merchant, the editor had to publish a press release in which he was called an ignoramus, an inexperienced and insane person who does not understand politics and does not know the truth. It might have been a huge embarrassment to a person working as an editor of an Urdu daily who had to publish something against himself, denigrating and ridiculing himself in his own newspaper. Never in the history of journalism has an editor been humiliated in this way. One should appreciate the fact that the editor has not committed suicide out of shame and humiliation….

Media Heading For Berlusconisation
Adeela Naureen and Umar Waqar

“The negative phenomenon of Berlusconisation is largely characterised by providing the audience with mainly sensational information and low-quality programmes such as obscene soap operas, talk shows, private monopolies in the broadcasting industry, as well as permanent control over the media and blatant partisanship in the media.”...

Press in Pakistan: From Persecution to Perks
Dr Mohammad Taqi
Press in Pakistan: From Persecution to Perks
Dr Mohammad Taqi

The policy goes on to add: “...journalists do not take part in politics...No staff member may seek public office anywhere. Seeking or serving in public office violates the professional detachment expected of a journalist. Active participation by one of our staff can sow a suspicion of favouritism in political coverage.”Absent the existence of such guidelines for many journals in Pakistan it usually is the conduct and advice of the editor and his/her discretion that may serve as a benchmark for the younger generation to emulate....


It's not enormously difficult to see how such a climate would spawn record levels of anti-Muslim violence in the country. The de facto criminalisation of certain types of facial hair and other signifiers of Islamic piety is meanwhile aided and abetted by certain journalistic manoeuvres such as references to "bearded savages" and the like in the mainstream press. ....

Terrorism: Is Media A Watchdog Or Lapdog?
Dr Mohammad Taqi
Terrorism: Is Media A Watchdog Or Lapdog?
Dr Mohammad Taqi

The weekly asked the rabblerousing cleric that his outfit is known for chanting the slogan ‘Kafir, Kafir Shia Kafir (apostate, apostate, the Shia are apostate)’ in public rallies but does it not provoke the people to attack the Shia? Ludhianvi’s response was: “Kafir, Kafir Shia Kafir is just a slogan, like any other, such as Roti, Kapra aur Makaan (bread, clothing and shelter). It does not tell anyone to kill Shias....

India - Pakistan Relations and the Media
Seema Mustafa
India - Pakistan Relations and the Media
Seema Mustafa

This can come through high-level regular briefings where anchors are introduced to the many dimensions of a complex relationship and are made aware of the responsibilities that have to be attached to any reporting on India-Pakistan relations. Reporting cannot be without responsibility, particularly when instead of preaching peace, journalists today believe that advertisements come from waging war....


The ambivalence he spoke of was the various positions on the nature of the state expressed by Jinnah, sometimes speaking of secularism whilst others times saying that the Islamic Sharia would be the basis of the state. In sum, the panel sung from the same hymn sheet, arguing that Pakistan must be secular, such that there is a clear separation of religion from state but people are allowed to practice whatever beliefs they chose....

Assailed by jihadist attacks and the moral cudgels of religious conservatives, Lahore’s celebrated cultural vitality has waned somewhat in recent years. A famous kite-flying festival is no more; a performing arts festival vanished after being attacked; and music concerts take place in restricted circumstances. But last month, the city welcomed spring with a raucous new party — a celebration of books...


....Prior to KLF, I had been most excited about conducting a session with him and another formidable talent, Vishal Bhartwaj, the avant-garde Indian filmmaker. The last time I had met Gulzar ji was at Ghalib's birthday celebrations at Delhi, where I walked with him like a shamelessly smitten fan. Ameena Saiyid read out Gulzar ji's letter in which he had apologized for his absence by saying, "Mujh se naraaz na hona"....


 Unlike the Taliban, the intelligence agencies have put in place a system in which journalists seem to be causing their own death by dissenting from the norm. Therefore, the consistent pattern of dumping journalists’ body bags along the roadside in Balochistan is a consequence of certain laid-out conditions, which compel state agencies to eliminate dissenting voices....

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