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Islam and the Media ( 20 Feb 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam on the Internet


By Syed Manzoor Alam, New Age Islam

20 February, 2014

Yes, we have heard that Islam means submission, surrender, giving your Self’s will to God etc. But, what actually is submission? Is it merely praying up and down five times a day? Is it fasting for a month? And, is it going to Mecca once in life?

On the internet there is a huge amount of materials available to anyone. Just type-in “Islam” in Google, and you get things like “Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Quran...”1; “one way trip to Mars prohibited in Islam”. 2 etc.

On the very first page of Google there is a site which is clearly anti-Islamic and it propagates its ideas in a very deceptive manner. On the next page there is again another website which is quite misleading. According to my surfing of the net, for every “Islamic” website there is approximately the same number of un-Islamic websites, if not more.

There is a lot of stuff offered as “information” on the internet. A few days ago I got a mail that had the same old stuff in the websites, attacking Islam: that Islam allows wife beating, not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims etc. He wanted me (there were many other people as well to whom the email was sent) to visit one of these anti-Islamic websites and I was able to notice that the email was a copy of a copy by the presence of blue line on the left side of the page.

Prophet Muhammad said “Let the one who believes in Allah and the Last Day either say good or remain silent”. What does it mean? At the time of the Prophet and even a few decades after his demise nobody would come and start bad-mouthing and spread ill news. Nobody would say “Oh that person was killed, and she was raped and they were looted” etc amongst the common people.

So, by visiting these websites and engaging with people whose goal is to deface Islam, we are only giving them reinforcement and in turn their behavioural response increases. These websites are not only spreading what is bad but they are also spreading Kufr. There is a difference between Shirk and Kufr. Shirk is to associate partners with God; but Kufr means that you know the truth but you cover it up and twist it.

These websites are sprouting like frogs in the rainy season; everyday hundreds of websites are being designed to attack Islam. A lot of the founders have become extremely famous (and rich) because of the Muslims. A particular website (which I am not going to name) said that if anybody would show me where I am wrong I will take down this website immediately and award them $10,000.

Who in the world would offer an unknown person this much money? Are we really that naive? And the answer is, yes.

Immediately, many Muslims started visiting this website for the sake of Islam and the $10,000 also! I, too, visited this website and showed the errors by mailing the founder. But there came no reply. But the end result was that that site came on the page one of Google. Why? Because everybody is clicking it; the more people click on a website, the higher its rank gets.

Now many other websites have followed the same strategy and a few more websites have come up on the first three pages of Google. The case was such that somebody put up a website to answer that site and he called it ‘answering-Christianity’. Now people started visiting this website and people went back and forth. ‘Answering-Christianity’ gave links to that anti-Islamic website but that website did not put up a link for ‘answering-Christianity’, they just gave the founder’s name. Now, I don’t know what the situation is.

The first one to come is Wikipedia on Google, this is because for the simple reason that more people have clicked on it and visited it. Mostly we find that sites that are attacking Islam and deviant websites come up first. Wikipedia is the hardest to deal with. And since they have opened it, Yusuf Estes was the first one to visit the site and write the etymology. And immediately the site took it down and put it something else; then he again gave the Arabic and the explanation and showed where it came from. Then they added about Sunnis, Shias, Sufis, Ahmadiyyas, Ibadis, Mahdavias, Quranists, Yazdanisms etc. 1

When we don’t know what we are doing then we should do nothing.

(Here, in New Age Islam forum, a lot of people try to hijack the website and no matter what is being written, they will either copy-paste from some of these anti-Islamic websites or use some kind of outrageous logic to criticise Islam. Positive criticism is encouraged, but Islam bashing is unacceptable. I want these people to engage in healthy debates and not slanders and irrelevant stuff. But if they wish to continue with their old style of criticising Islam for the sake of criticising then we should not reply, we should totally ignore them.)



Note- I have also taken inputs from Yusuf Estes