By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
29 May 2013
“Knowledge is neither neutral nor is it benign”.
Knowledge is a way of social control. This is the basic idea of the French philosopher Michel Foucault. According to Foucault, power (i.e., the ability to influence others) is closely interlinked with knowledge and this relationship between the two is used as a method of social management. Knowledge is socially constructed. It is constructed by those in power, who have the money and the means to control things. Foucault says that modern society is based upon structures of dominance, control and surveillance.
With the continuous spread of the power of petrodollar Islam, a new kind of knowledge is being developed, challenging the true spirit of Islam. These “powerful” people are leaving no stone unturned in bringing about a “radical” change in the understanding of Islam. They have the power hence they are creating the knowledge that Islam is about dominating the world and subjugating people and forcing others to convert to Islam.
With the enormous increase of the media, especially the television and the internet, it is now quite easy to spread any idea. Every night, at the prime time, many Muslims go to bed and watch their role-models saying: “agar deviji hongi tabhi to dawat denge’1 (you invite the goddess to Islam only if she exists); “Bible me aisi cheez hai ke ek achcha insan bol bhi nahi sakta hai, aap apni maa ke samne nahi bol payenge, usme, mai bolna nahi chahta, pornography hai, kaise rape karte hai woh likha hua hai, kaise gangrape karte hain woh bhi hai, mai aur nahi keh sakta.2 (The Bible has things written in it that no decent person will speak it, I can’t say it. You can’t say it in front of your mother. It has pornography, teaches how to rape and how to even gang-rape and .., well, I cannot say more.); “Every religious book except the Glorious Quran contains errors. The Hindu Holy Book Yajurveda says that the world is flat; the Bible says that the world is flat”3 etc.
These Muslims, especially their children, who have been listening to these ideas for quite some time, have already been affected by these ideas and they have started thinking along these lines and their knowledge is being slowly constructed by these speakers. The same idea gets reinforced in the Friday prayers, when the Imam of the mosque says almost the same things or worse.
Since most of the Muslims have not read the Quran with meaning, hence they accept the version which they listen to the most. Every night they hear the same thing again and again, every Friday they listen to the same idea. The Imams change but their message remains the same. (On a side note, if an Imam turns out to be pluralistic in his ideas then he is not invited from the next week- this happens in the mosque where I generally go).
There are so many websites preaching hate. Some are direct in their approach while some are indirect and use subtle techniques to spread malice. One website says: it has the “proof” that 9/11 was not done by the Muslims, “prophesy fulfilment or garbage bigotry full-filling? See how the neo-con Christians and Zionists lie to the masses with empty lies!”; “what is the best way to convert Christians and other non-Muslims to Islam?” and one that totally shocked me “America and the West are controlled and governed by the ONE-EYED anti-Christ Dajjal!”4
These powerful organizations are being backed by the petrodollars. Is it not surprising to know that a Maulana has launched three of the most watched Islamic channels? To launch a big, global TV channel, at least half a billion dollars are required. The question that needs to be asked is how can a Maulana get so much money?
I am talking about Peace TV. Its annual peace conference boasts of the highest standard, with state of the art broadcasts and lavish stage spending. There are currently three channels under Peace TV: a) Peace TV (English) b) Peace TV Urdu and c) Peace TV (Bangla) 5, 6. They are also planning to launch Peace TV News. Without any exaggeration the total expense of all these channels has to reach over a billion dollars annually. Only a small portion of money to Peace TV comes through Zakat (which Dr Naik asks quite often) by the people. The real source of the money is from Saudi Arabia.
Although Dr Naik says that he is not the owner of Peace TV and that he is only the “brand ambassador of Peace TV just like Shah Rukh Khan is of Tag Heuer”. On 31st October, 2010 Dr Naik announced that he is in close contact with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He also said that he knows all the Imams of the Grand Mosque of Mecca personally. Not just Peace TV but Islam Channel, Iqra TV, Al Risala are all funded by petrodollars.
With their power they are constantly bombarding the prime time with hate messages. They have only one goal - to convert everyone into the fold of Islam. According to cifiaonline.com, “Saudis are working on a well thought over and tested strategy to rule the world. That is why they are spending billions of dollars to convert Muslims, Christians, Hindus and everyone else into Salafism, a new religion invented by them over 200 years ago based on the infamous beliefs of Ibn Taymiyyah.”7
If they have the power of television, which requires huge amount of money, we moderate Muslims have the power to use the internet, which is cheaper as compared to owning a channel. Although the reach of the internet is still less than television, the happy part is that the gap is decreasing. Moderate Muslims must make full use of social websites like Facebook, twitter etc to propagate moderate version of Islam, countering the Wahhabi version head on.
If they are powerful, we also have to become powerful; if they are spreading one version of Islam- which is exclusivist, radical and orthodox; we have to spread the other version of Islam- which should be pluralistic, co-existing, and peace-loving.
With the decline of unipolar or bipolar world order and with the rise of multi-polar world, the construction of knowledge is not limited because one person or one organisation is not holding all the power. Power is diffused and this diffusion of power gives us the opportunity to create a system of knowledge that would dispute the knowledge of Islam created by the Saudi funded organizations.
1. Lecture-Media and Islam: War or Peace?
2. Lecture- ‘Kya Quran Ko Samajh ke Padhna Zaruri Hai?
3. Lecture- ‘Kya Quran Ko Samajh ke Padhna Zaruri Hai?
4. Front page of Answering Christianity