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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Muslim youth bash ignorant Western media

By Rizwan Ullah

The Milli Gazette Online

Recently the BBC held a sort of survey in various countries about the opinion of the Muslim youth about various aspects of Islam. In India BBC correspondents interviewed Muslim students in Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, Aligarh Muslim University and in Hyderabad. Elsewhere they interviewed in Lahore, and in Egypt, Indonesia and France. Questions were asked in local languages and in English. Slight variations apart, the main theme remained the same everywhere: Whether Islam preaches or condones terrorism; whether Islam is a peaceful religion; whether Islam is a hurdle in their path of progress and other people’s perceptions about Islam.

The answers were very clear: Islam is a religion of peace. Islam does not preach terrorism; the two can never go together. Islam causes no hindrance in the path of progress and Islam is not responsible for whatever perceptions or misconceptions other people may have about it. One wonders whether a global network is so naive as to believe that the Muslim youth, wherever they may be, are unaware of the basic teachings of Islam and the peaceful tenets of their noble faith. May be it was an effort to gauge how deep was the effect of the terror campaign of the anti-Islam Western media on the Muslim youth.

Whatever might have been the purpose and intention of that survey, they received a good beating at the hands of the Muslim youth to whom the questions were addressed. They said that it was the ignorant anti-Islam Western media which had launched a terror campaign against Islam and the Muslim people. Why after the assassinations of Ghandhiji and Mrs. Indira Gandhi the whole Hindu and Sikh communities were not declared as gangs of terrorists believing in a faith of terrorism, they asked. When Muslims fight for their freedom or their rights they are accused of committing terrorist acts while in the case of others it was not so, they further asked. They said that the "terrorism" was not properly defined and every Muslim struggle was termed as terrorism. They accused the Western media of having double standards. When Muslims are subjected to atrocities some of them react and commit acts not approved of by Islam, so how could Islam be blamed for that, they asked and said that it was a malicious propaganda against Islam. A student in France did say that she was facing difficulties in making progress but it was due to the fact that Muslims in that country were treated as second class citizens only because of their faith and belief. 

One of the students, while advising the media to mend its manners, suggested that the media should be used to project the right image of Islam. But where do we have the media capable enough to brave the anti-Islam storm of the tsunami scale? The time is long past when this dire need should have been addressed and necessary measures taken. The example of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera channel is before us. America does not like it to present a picture of events other than what it approves of, so the channel is facing difficulties, has lost its crews in action and it is likely to be shut down or sold out any day, any time.

While talking about the blitzkrieg of the Western media against Islam, one need not overlook the behavior and attitude of our national media which does not miss any opportunity for Muslim bashing or targetting Islam. As a recent example I quote from a report in The Milli Gazette:

"External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh said that there was no evidence to suggest that Muslim rulers had persecuted Hindus and instead "the picture was quite the opposite". Recollection of ancient wrongs of Muslim rulers is both fallacious and pernicious, there is no evidence to suggest the sustained persecution of Hindus by Muslim rulers", the External Affairs Minister said while delivering the 12th Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Lecture here. His remarks, however, went unreported by the mainstream media". (MG, Feb. 1-15, 05)

Just imagine our media is not prepared to communicate even a few words of truth in favour of Muslims, their culture or the values they stand for. What more can be expected of it. Now one may wonder why the same media came out so strongly against the holocaust suffered by Muslims in Gujarat and against its chief architect Narender Modi. The reasons for that sympathy for Muslims are not far to seek. When the Sangh Parivar declared that Gujarat was its laboratory for testing the success of its horrific future plans the mainstream Hindus shuddered to think of the consequences of the ghoulish plans. In fact, a battle line was arrayed for a Mahabharat between the dark forces of Hindu fundamentalism and the mainstream Hindus craving for the basic necessities of life for which a general atmosphere of peace was the first condition. Moreover, the progressive elements saw their doom in case the Parivar could get a hold over the process of national decision-making. So they are in the forefront in the war against the Parivar. The Muslim cause came handy. They did not stand up moved by a humanitarian feeling for Muslims. Had it been so they should have raised their voice for helping out hundreds of innocent Muslims, held under now defunct black law POTA, languishing in Gujarat jails. It is really a mater of great anguish that the humanity is a mute spectator watching such a brazen injustice. Muslims severally and collectively are peculiar people that the forces of right and left work against them though in different ways.

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