Since media is the most powerful tool to shape and manipulate the public opinion for commercial, social or political goals, some biased members are involved in malicious propaganda against Islam and the Muslims. Consequently, the non Muslim public remains ignorant or informed inappropriately about the pleasant realities of Islam and the Muslims.
The Western media in particular is too hesitant to show the real image of Islam including its essence which indeed is based on mutual respect, benevolence, peace, love and human dignity.
As the emergence of Muslim media is not fast paced, so there is still a lot to catch up.
Quite sadly, most of the non Muslim media appears to be either too naive or too prejudiced or both to appreciate the “final Divine message” elaborated in the noble Quran revealed for the benefit of the entire humankind. Indeed, Islam is a universal religion and is followed by one fourth of total human population of the planet, yet it is discussed in the sub standard territory by the main stream media worldwide - leading to the birth of illegitimate public opinion about Islam and the Muslims. However, such misleading public opinion doesn’t really enjoy credibility.
The Muslim community deserves equality and justice, especially when it comes to the unattended or mishandled issues. In order to maintain Muslim identity, the Muslim electronic or print media have to play its role to protect the community from division. The Muslim media also needs to do more for giving non-Muslims a positive view about Islam.
Through such Muslim media, constructive interfaith dialogues can be aired too on regular basis. Several communities of different ethnicities have their own media to safeguard their interests. Similarly, the Muslims are looking for a decent way out of the ongoing frustrating situation. They are becoming active more than ever and getting closer to helping the main stream media.
Certainly, biased journalism does nothing but poison the raw minds of many resulting in Islamophobia. Such a negative trend is injurious to the interests of Islamic culture and religion.
It’s unfair to talk or write a word about Islam or the Muslims without being relevantly qualified enough to evaluate Islamic law and the jurisprudence.
Beyond any doubt, the media has been misjudging for lack of in-depth knowledge about the practicality of Islam. Of course, main culprit here seems to be the hesitation of fully qualified Muslim media to jump in this arena to defend and spread the Divine message.
The mischievous elements in the media were successful in contributing negatively to deform public opinion in the recent Shafia murder trial (Afghan family). It was a great source of irritation for the Muslim community of Canada because the media highlighted this murder as "honour killing" linking to Islam, ignoring the fact that Islam forbids the taking of innocent life, because killing cannot be honour.
Furthermore, the court transcripts published by the CBC revealed that the convicted Muhammad Shafia did not even care for the pillars of Islam. As such, Islam has nothing to do with the homicide. Sadly, the agenda driven media labelled the murders by the so called Muslims as "honour killing". But when it comes to reporting an honour killing by members of other religions, the same media calls it a murder.
Following are three cases of culpable homicide of almost similar motives and intents. Two non Muslim families were reported as having committed murders, while the Muslim family of Shafia (first example) was highlighted for honour killing due to media bias.
Discriminating against Islam and the Muslims is a clear proof, as in the past Toronto Star (second example) termed the killing of Jaswinder Sidhu as ‘murder’ committed by her family as punishment for marrying a man disapproved by the family. (Clear cut case of honour killing)
Third example, the same newspaper in the past asserted that the death of Amandeep Dhillon was not an honour killing, however-- irony is the convicted Kamikar Singh Dhillon openly claimed that he killed her because he thought she was going to leave her husband and disgrace the family.
Two out of three cases of murders were labelled as murders, whereas the case of murders involving the Afghani family was labelled as honour-killing.
Although, creating a hostile climate against Islam and the Muslims is shameful, yet before reacting to the biased coverage by the media, it is important to analyse the role of media in deed. Nevertheless, it seems as if the non Muslim media is hell bent to put pressure on Muslims living in the West to abandon Islamic values and adopt secular/liberal values instead. Shamefully, through their articles, the journalists are interested to undermine the belief that Muslims have in Islam and make them loose their confidence in practicing the true and final word of God Almighty.
Now, the media, through its fair practice, is responsible for generating a friendlier atmosphere full of higher tolerance level among different ethnic and religious groups.Toronto Star and CBC are trying to look unbiased; but a lot of effort is still expected of the local and global Muslim media to defuse any negative public opinion about Islam and the Muslims.
In addition to Print media, a daily Muslim presence in the broadcast media and the internet is essential to correct the anti Islam feelings among the non Muslim communities of North America and elsewhere.
Once Muslim media is in full force on daily basis, the Muslim youth would definitely be encouraged to benefit, preserve and strengthen their Islamic identity.
It is about time to build bridges of understanding with everyone around.