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Books and Documents

Islam and the Media

Threat to Media in Pakistan
Threat to Media in Pakistan
Sanchita Bhattacharya

In a society fixated on ‘righteous’ conduct overwhelmingly defined by religious extremism and militarized hypernationlism, journalists have come to dread violence for doing their job. With repeated physical attacks, fear has taken over the media, resulting in unprecedented self-imposed censorship....

 

In contrast to Turkey, Saudi Arabia enjoys empathy in major segments of Pakistan’s population, hosts a sizeable Pakistani community, has strong support among the country’s religious scholars as well as ties to influential militants whom the military is seeking to ease into mainstream politics, and funds religious media outlets....

The mainstream Bangladeshi media give wide coverage to her press conferences bashing the Khaleda Zia-led Opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, but it seldom asks tough questions on the increasing number of random enforced disappearances of journalists, activists and former diplomats who are critical of the government, and the arbitrary arrests and detention of political opponents....

 

The Qur’an, “A divine writ, which makes clear everything” (16:89), has addressed the issue of media outlets as a tool of mass manipulation. It has primarily warned of propagandist news from three sources: First, at the hands of a corrupt system, second from a government that legislates (legitimises) the corruption and third an elite class of people, all of whom have vested interests in shaping the thinking of its audience to their benefit. The most-oft related story in the Qur’an is that of Prophet Moses (a) and The Children of Israel.....

 

Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an, “And do not follow that which you do not have knowledge of. Certainly your hearing, sight and heart – all of them – will be called to account for it (on the Day of Judgement)” (17:36).  In response, those who take lightly this warning and are misguided by false knowledge, Allah (swt) foretells such people will say, “Oh but if only we had listened or at least used our intelligence.” (67:10)....

Why Islam and Muslims Need a Fair Media
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam
Why Islam and Muslims Need a Fair Media
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

Sadly, journalism is   failing to perform its fundamental role of objective reporting and analysis and continues its job by rehashing tired old narratives of 'radical Islam' or a 'fight within Islam.' The truth is much more convoluted than that -- and the entire world has a direct role in creating the dangerous reality that so many Muslims have to live with every single day. The   media shows remarkable consistency in employing an arsenal of semantic games and incendiary phrases to link most of the violence around the world with some form of Islamic ideology or some Islamic group. In fact the entire discourse is being orchestrated on predefined lines. ….

Take the month of January. Open-source reporting suggests that, excluding lone-wolf operations that may or may not have been inspired by IS, the organisation mounted at least 37 separate attacks in nine different countries: Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia. IS also attempted an attack in Saudi Arabia but the two would-be suicide bombers were shot before they could detonate themselves....

 
Why Muslims Need Their Own Media House
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
Why Muslims Need Their Own Media House
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

Muslims are also reported in the mainstream media through their ‘peculiarities’, particularly in terms of their religion. Thus stories on triple Talaq, polygamy and such issues gain wide prominence within the mainstream media. A bit of research would tell us that polygamy is more among Hindu castes than Muslims, but when there is a discourse of relating a community to the practice of its religion, and then all facts and figures are given a go by. The problem is compounded by the well-entrenched belief among the media establishment that Muslims are best represented by the Ulema. And thus we have in television studios Muslim religious clerics who through their ignorance and trying to reduce everything to religion, end up giving a bad name to Muslims.....

We need to stop listening to and enabling the extremists in our community who falsely claim they speak on our behalf. We must tell our stories to the rest of the world better, more extensively, and more often, not just through the “news” media but also through the entertainment media including through movies, books and even television sitcoms....

 
Media in Pakistan Is Under Siege
Ambreen Agha
Media in Pakistan Is Under Siege
Ambreen Agha

Working under constant threat to life and livelihood, media personnel have faced a backlash from both state and anti-state elements. These include the warring political parties, military intelligence agencies and terrorist formations operating across the country. As freedom becomes increasingly elusive for media personnel in the country, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report, released on February 3, 2016, noted that Pakistan runs fourth on the list of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists....

 
Egypt's Writers Fear Increasing Restrictions
Albaraa Abdullah
Egypt's Writers Fear Increasing Restrictions
Albaraa Abdullah

Some in Egypt believe the state, which claims to fight terrorism, rather is creating it through its obsession with security and its quest to preserve a regressive structure in society. The government has tightened the noose on society, taking a variety of measures against innovative minds such as isolating people, silencing them, limiting their imaginations, confiscating their dreams and basically draining the life out of them.....

 
On Arab Press Freedom, Tunisia Shows the Way
Diana Moukalled
On Arab Press Freedom, Tunisia Shows the Way
Diana Moukalled

Tunisia has made a remarkable improvement in Reporters without Borders’ press-freedom index - the first Arab country to do so. This at a time when some Arab countries are imprisoning, murdering and torturing journalists. This progress is to be added to Tunisia’s record as the only success story of the Arab Spring, since its revolution did not result in civil war or bitter struggle, as happened in Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Libya....

 
Media Spins Islam Then and Now: A 1979 Time Magazine Article about Islam
Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh
Media Spins Islam Then and Now: A 1979 Time Magazine Article about Islam
Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh

Time magazine described the revival of Islam in the 70 countries around the world, reflected in the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, unchanged for 14 centuries; this alleged revival took place among the young who desired Sharia law, Burqas, Hijab and other forms of enslaving women to their half-person status, genital mutilation, and harsh punishments in cases of rape, divorce, adultery, and abortion....

 
Why Does Terrorism Dominate The Headlines?
Tariq A. Al-Maeena
Why Does Terrorism Dominate The Headlines?
Tariq A. Al-Maeena

So is this what Islam and Muslims are all about? The mayhem, murders, and bombings of the innocent?  Is there no other face of Islam?  You would have to dig deep between the pages to read of the other face of Muslims, a people who have dedicated their life to the proper teachings of this great religion and who by virtue of their piety are not seeking headlines. There are Muslim individuals such as Dr. Mike Ghouse...

The dialectic I first explored 20 years ago began as speculative theory; in 2001, with the 9/11 cataclysm it began prophecy; today, in the age of ISIS on the Internet, it is simply reality. For unlike Al Qaeda, Jihad’s early manifestation, the new ISIS with its quest for a territorial Caliphate married to its campaign to engender a virtual Caliphate on the web, rejects capitalism and materialism and the commodities they produce even as it puts those commodities to work to inspire terrorism across the world. Science is the work of infidels, secular reason is a form of blasphemy, yet science’s finest product (technology) is the best instrument the true believers have to wage war on the West....

 
Journalists And Terrorists
Mumtazer Turkone
Journalists And Terrorists
Mumtazer Turkone

Freedom of the press must be given a special place among other freedoms. In a country where the press is under pressure, no one can prevent terrorists from freely moving around. If journalists are no longer able to search for the truth and inform the public of facts, shady groups start to cause much bloodshed across the country.

 

While Pakistan is already known as the most dangerous country in the world for working journalists — one journalist in Pakistan dies every 38 days according to the Sri Lankan media expert Ranga Kalansooriya — Pakistan’s journalists also come under another insidious type of pressure.

 

The future of Pakistani journalists

Farman Nawaz

Public intellectuals and their declining presence

Akbar Jan Marwat

Everyone’s Manto

By Asha'ar Rehma

Peshawar attacked again

Syed Kamran Hashmi

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

 
Raza Rumi – When Silence is Murder
Tufail Ahmad
Raza Rumi – When Silence is Murder
Tufail Ahmad

The true liberals uphold a sense of ethics and morality in speech and writings and work for the benefit of people irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity or religion. Generally true liberals believe that eliminating Jihadists from Pakistani society is in the interest of Pakistani people. You can cite names of Pakistani authors and commentators such as Mohammed Taqi, Ambassador Husain Haqqani and Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa who are widely respected for their defence of Pakistani people’s interests. Indians will be even willing to take a rebuke from Husain Haqqani about their failings because his concern for people is extraordinary…..

 

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....

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