Saturday, February 18, 2012

COPING WITH MEDIA BIAS

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.



googled image CAGOBHAR
  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.


29 comments:

Daniyal Arain said...

The best speech that I heard was by Dr. Zakir Naik, that how media manipulates our minds & we even believe all that biased information.

"Agar koi tumhare paas khabar le kar aye to pehlay uss ki tasdeeq karlo", well, we don't.

To learn about Islam, don't look at a Muslim. Look at what it REALLY teaches. The western media shows what a Muslim does (& only the bad people in it, 'cos if they show the good ones there won't be any hype, will there be?). Not what Islam Actually says about being a Muslim.

Anonymous said...

Non practising Muslims should not be allowed to defame Islam.
Islam is the religion/Deen which means peace. Anyone crossing the limit is not sincere with this beautiful Deen of Allah.
Linking Honour killing to Islam is misleading.
Honour killing is prevalent in some cultures regardless of ethnicity or religion.

Muhammad Akram said...

Afghani Muhammad Shafia, his wife and son-- all convicted of killing four human beings; is hightly brutal.
Good! they are behind bars for life.
"Murder" or "honour killing" is homicide but linking to Islam is prejudicial and nothing else.

Pari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pari said...

The question is-- Did Muhammad Shafia practise Islam himself as a role model for his family?
The answer is simply NO, as the judge in the case even said the mentioned "criminal" never practiced pillars of Islam.
Why the did media create such a deadly hype just to label the heinous crime as honour killing-so rediculously.

Zahoor said...

media's job is to generate good feelings bringing together all communities in all countries.
Peace should prevail over bloodshed.

nice article tareq sb

Crystal said...

Very interesting post Tariq. The media truly does have a major influence on people both negatively and positively but I have always believed that there are good people in this world and there are bad people in this world. I think it's the truly wicked at heart that gives certain ethnic groups a bad name. For an example, the KKK which is an all white supremacist group but white nonetheless still have other people living in fear of us white people and we are not all that bad. Most of us are against this group because like most Muslims, we stand for peace, love and understanding and acceptance of others for their differences including their race and religion. You even have your black supremacist groups as well and they are pinned against the whites but over the years, groups like these have kinda faded into the background. It's just not something you hear of everyday because the media tends to focus on one thing for a while until nobody "cares" anymore and then they move on to the next "big thing." That is what I once told my friend who is also Muslim and she was heart broken over the way the media handled certain stories because they focus only on the negative aspects of Islam and it's beliefs and I reminded of her what became of the civil rights movement. When 911 hit, it was the civil rights movement all over again. Think about it, there was a time when "blacks" were not accepted by society at all and then eventually the hype died down and white people became more understanding and accepting of people regardless of their race. Blacks and whites can attend the same school and most are not judged as poorly as by the color of their skin but more or less for their intellect and who they are period. I think 9-11 had a major impact on the way most Americans saw Muslims and yes, people believed that all Muslims were terrorist when actually it was the extremist groups that were responsible and even members of our own government that were responsible for that devastating tragedy but since that time, many Americans have actually changed the way they perceive members of the Muslim community and as you mentioned, it starts with the media and if CBS is already on board and many other networks are also on board then eventually people will see the errors of their ways and like the "blacks" members of the Muslim Communities will start to see their way of life becoming more socially accepted. Give or take a few years, maybe longer but I am hopeful that there are good people in this world who will see the goodness in people period regardless of their race or religious beliefs. Bless you Tariq and bless the Muslim Community. Hang in there. Goodness and Greatness and Justice will prevail as long as there is peace and love which is God almighty!

tariq mian said...

@Daniyal Arain

"Agar koi tumhare paas khabar le kar aye to pehlay uss ki tasdeeq karlo", well, we don't.*** I like that my friend!*****

To learn about Islam, don't look at a Muslim. Look at what it REALLY teaches. The western media shows what a Muslim does (& only the bad people in it, 'cos if they show the good ones there won't be any hype, will there be?). Not what Islam Actually says about being a Muslim.
******Well said Daniyal****
_____________________
@Anonymous BAD PEOPLE CAN'T REPRESENT beautiful Deen of Allah.
Linking Honour killing to Islam is misleading INDEED.
_______________________
@Muhammad Akram

"Murder" or "honour killing" is homicide but linking to Islam is prejudicial and nothing else.
yes sir
________________________

@Pari
the killers specially the father was not a good role model for his kids so he has to suffer the consequences and he has to blamed for his own ills.
_________________________
@Zahoor SAHIB
media's role is to give true info and not mislead with any hype nor any bias whatsoever --period
___________________________

@Crystal
very kind of you to write with length to put light on the historical facts as well as on the good and bad people everywhere.
***I am proud of your good thoughts towards the people and other communities including your views with respect to the Muslims.

Crystal said...

I try to respect all religions. I get a lot of grief due to my Mormon upbringing and my Mormon faith but in my heart, I do what brings me closer to Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ and it is through my faith that I draw such strength and determinations to keep going. To keep being a good person and I try to always put myself in other's shoes. I think the world could use a bit more understanding and compassion and a little more love too. Bless you Tariq, now and always.

tariq mian said...

Crystal! you are very accomodating and friendly-- maybe due to your wonderful background.
By the way, people of your religion (Mormons) are well known for enjoying a strong sense of communality. Most of all, your strict law of chastity is almost similar to that of Islam.
****** Continue to recieve blessings of God Almighty--CRYSTAL******

Irfanuddin said...

A very important subject taken by you this time Tariq bhai.....and unfortunately I personally don't have any hope from this madia people to have an unbiased reporting as far as Islam 0r muslims are concerned, so all as a follower of Islam one can do try n put the truth about Islam in front of world but again even after having sufficient resources we are not able to do justice about it...may be bcoz we just want to prove ourselves a Liberal Muslim and this is really unfortunate......

Mishi said...

Yup You have described it way too good Tariq Sab...this is esactly how it is with western media...While talking about shafia murder trail we should not forget the recent London Riots when the media ignored the Law-Friendly Muslim community in general and Pakistani community in particulr..They almost overlooked the excellent self-control that the families of those pakistani boys showed..The way Tariq Jahan tackled the whole situation should have been praised by Media but Seems like the whole Westerm media is so used to tag Muslims/Pakistani as Terrorists that they were unable to see the bright sight of these events..
One factor is the weak islamic Media as you have mentioned..this is a media age..propaganda is what it takes to prove your self to the world..you are innocent or not..that is not debatable otherwise..we got to have this strong media for us too where our cases could be pleaded strongly..

but above all its us who can change this negative image of Islam..by practicing the real Islam..by telling others what Islam is all about..its peace and Love and not terrorism..

Very nice read as usual Tariq sab:-)

Mishi said...

Yup You have described it way too good Tariq Sab...this is esactly how it is with western media...While talking about shafia murder trail we should not forget the recent London Riots when the media ignored the Law-Friendly Muslim community in general and Pakistani community in particulr..They almost overlooked the excellent self-control that the families of those pakistani boys showed..The way Tariq Jahan tackled the whole situation should have been praised by Media but Seems like the whole Westerm media is so used to tag Muslims/Pakistani as Terrorists that they were unable to see the bright sight of these events..
One factor is the weak islamic Media as you have mentioned..this is a media age..propaganda is what it takes to prove your self to the world..you are innocent or not..that is not debatable otherwise..we got to have this strong media for us too where our cases could be pleaded strongly..

but above all its us who can change this negative image of Islam..by practicing the real Islam..by telling others what Islam is all about..its peace and Love and not terrorism..

Very nice read as usual Tariq sab:-)

Crystal said...

Thank you Tariq. I wish you the same my friend!

tariq mian said...

Crystal-----thanks again.

tariq mian said...

@IRFAN
Yes we need resources to put the truth about Islam in front of world. There is no such thing as liberal Muslim because liberal Muslim means liberated form Islam. By the way, now majority of the Muslims are liberated from Islam.

Only worshipping Allah SWT plus our daily actions/dealings following the SUNNAH of the final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) bring us closer to Allah SWT.

Anonymous said...

A lot of awakening is needed among the members of Muslim UMMA to deal diligently with the negative environment endangering the DEEN of PEACE.

tariq mian said...

@MISHI_______
Yes during London riots, the media ignored the Law-abiding Muslim community in general and Pakistani community in particulr.
Sadly, most often, the media is quick to label the Muslims negatively.
It's important for the Muslims at all levels to stand up against the oppressive attitude of unfriendly main stream media.

Thanks Mishi for visiting after a prolonged pause.
This time, don't mistreat your Lap Top.

Palomasea said...

"Bridges of Understanding"...what a poignant way to round out your thoughtful post, Tariq. May we keep building these bridges of understanding for future generations.
Peace to you,
- Irina

Anonymous said...

@anonumous:
I don't see awakenening as you are dreaming. sorry sir

tariq mian said...

- Irina! I am grateful for your positive thoughts of bridging through understanding.
I am optimistic people like you would endeavour even harder and smarter in order to encourage peace activism. People of the planet deserve peace not problems.

Thanks again IRENA.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...

Tariq,

A very balanced and fair piece of writing, offering an excellent perspective to non-Muslim readers.
Sensational, front page headline grabbing words, are probably the 'most informed' most people are, without exploring the actual facts.
Certainly here in the UK, most newspapers are sold by the headlines.....
Eileen.

PS: Tariq, thank you for your very valuable comments left at my poems. I appreciate your thoughts.

Dave King said...

Anonymous has a point, I think. Defamation of any religion should not be allowed from outside that religion, but that is more easily said than drafted in some watertight bill.

TARIQ MIAN said...

@DAVE KING:
I am in agreement with you about your viewpoint on retraint policy towards other religions.
Respecting other religions is quite important.

Thanks Dave!

TARIQ MIAN said...

@EILEEN!
Thanks for COMPLIMENTING my BALANCED APPROACH in writing and offering an excellent perspective to non-Muslim readers.

****Your appreciation of my style of using "sensational front page headline type grabbing words" is really encouraging.
Very kind of you to go through the post whole heartedly.

Muhammad Israr said...

the problem is that media cannot be unbiased...its owned by individuals who are humans with interests... and they use all kind of tools to manipulate and portray in different lights the events unfolding in the world...religion, culture, human rights, socialism capitalism and so on are all just tools which they use for their own interests... very thouroughly researched article as always by you tariq bhai :)

TARIQ MIAN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TARIQ MIAN said...

@Muhammad Israr,
Of course, the ultimate beneficiary of the media is the stakeholder creating this tool in the first place (for mouthpiecing) in order to manipulate the audience for their selfish purposes.
In other words, the media is a "sales tool" for particular group.
But, every community has a right of "self defence" through its own media.

Thank you Isrsr for your precious time going through the lengthy post.

Jean said...

Tarig, have faith. It is the in the 'local' areas that change occurs. One example is me--across the world from you. I have a friend who has supported a kindergarten in Al Aqaba in Palestine and politically advocates for them.

Her local peace activisim takes many fronts. Our book club are reading a novel by Susan Abulhawa, called Morning in Jenin, which traces back from current situation in Palestine to origins of Israel. So by these local little things change in the media occurs.

Her friend is a member of the Democrat party who works to make the media aware of cultural sensitivities of being Muslim.

Local papers, local Universities like University of Michitgan's television channel present the Muslim point of view from art to engineering.

Have faith in the 'local' sources. There is where change occurs. Though the media may have a large megaphone. It is only background noise. The caring people of the world exist but their voice is through their talk with their neighbors, friends, and loved ones.

Have faith. I believe so much change is occurring that we must be silent and listen -- it is there. Have faith!

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