Muslims in the Media

Is Islam portrayed justly by the mainstream media? According to a new CBS News poll, less than one in five say their impression of the religion is favorable. Also, forty-five percent of respondents questioned said they are distrustful of Islam, which is a huge increase in the last four years. Now, who should these innocent Muslims point fingers to for tarnishing the name of their peaceful religion? Who should be held responsible for the shame Islam has endured? I truly believe it is the media that should be held accountable for the distortion of this religion, making Islam appear full of hatred.

This stereotypical idea regarding Muslims is something created by the media. Because of the influence of the media many consider Islam to be a dangerous religion capable of destroying harmless lives and their calm surroundings. These viewers have a repulsive impression of Islam embedded in their minds from the media’s spoon feeding; they perceive Islam to be a non-peaceful religion filled with violence and bloodshed that was once “spread by the sword.” They have come to fear this religion that has preached peace for thousands of years. These viewers often do not doubt the information presented to them because they are brainwashed and have full trust in what is being reported to them. To them this is just the discovery of the disgusting truth hidden by the veils of Muslims.

The minute the television or radio is switched on, the viewer or listener is instantly bombarded with images and comments attacking Islam and its people. According to Dr. Aslam Abdullah, “the headlines on CNN, FOX, CBS, or MSNBC, and news reports or opinionated columns in The New York Times or The Los Angeles Times, have succeeded in creating a public perception of Islam that is directly contradicted by Muslim denunciations of terrorism and the reality prevalent in the Muslim world.” We, the American audience, are constantly entertained with news of “so-called” Muslims who fight in the name of their religion under the excuse of “jihad.” We also see these “Muslims” taking the lives of hundreds of innocent people with their suicide bombings, still using the justification of jihad. These viewers continue to see the appalling dispute with Muslim (Sunni) against Muslim (Shiite). So who can blame these audiences from detesting this worldwide religion and its teachings?

In actuality, these acts of terror are committed by what are known to be Islamic extremists. Furthermore, in my genuine opinion these “Muslims” are not Muslims in any way; they have taken the Islamic teachings and twisted it creating it into an ugly appearance. The persona of these disturbed individuals has jeopardized the honor and the morality of the rest of the Muslims. These ill-fated creatures should without a doubt be found and locked away for committing these inexcusable acts of terror. Nevertheless, these terrorists/extremists have been taken by the media and have become the main focus of everyday news. They have taken the misjudgments in actions of a few Muslims and have blown it way out of portion causing thousands of Muslims to endure daily ridicule.

In my ingenuous opinion, Muslims can hardly find anyone to blame but themselves simply because they have failed to promote and uphold proper understandings of Islam for non-Muslims to become aware of. Islam and many other Islamic terminology and beliefs are generally misinterpreted due to the result of the media. Hardly ever does one find/see/hear of experts in the media claiming that these acts of terror are absolutely not allowed or accepted in the religion. Therefore, with the attempt of my writing I can help paint a clearer picture of Islam for the few that will read this— Islam means an obligation to live in peace through pure submission to the Will of God (Allah); a Muslim is a person who makes an obligation to live in peace through refuge to God; Jihad (translated from Arabic) means “struggle” and “strive” against sinful thoughts, unlawful actions and injustice against anyone; and Islamic terrorism—merely has no place within Islam and does not belong as a principle of the religion.

To many non-Muslims, Jihad is just another word linked to the cruelty of Islam meaning bloodshed, oppression, plane hijacking, and suicide bombings. Conversely, to many Muslims jihad means to strive and struggle for righteousness. It also means to defend the possessions, honor, and homeland of a person. According to the Quran, the highest form of Jihad is the personal struggle with one’s self to surrender to Allah whose reward ultimately is Paradise. In short Jihad means—to learn, teach, and practice Islam at all times; fight immorality and evil actions with the control of the hand (action), the tongue (speech), or the heart (prayer); and never to fight against a Muslim brother or a non-Muslim society that governs its treaties truthfully. Islam strictly forbids any form of suicide and condemns the act of converting a non-Muslim to Islam by means of force.

Additionally, Islam does not permit terrorism in any way. The Prophet Muhammad (May the blessings of God be upon him), prohibited his soldiers from killing women and children; he said to them “Do not betray, do not be excessive, and do not kill a newborn child.” He also declared “Whoever has killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise, though its fragrance is found for a span of forty years.” If a Muslim attempts to commit an act of terrorism, this person is or would be guilty of violating the respected laws of Islam.

Moreover, the media has failed to produce the evidence regarding the truth behind Islamic beliefs convincing the public of their stories of terror. The media has flooded the viewers’s minds with the overrated disappearing acts of Osama bin Laden presented onto the television allowing them to believe that he and other terrorists are the leaders of Islam. This negative depiction of Islam has affected Muslims worldwide and has caused many dreadful attacks towards the religion. I strongly believe that a person cannot blame the entire population of Muslims for the mistakes of a handful of cynical wrongdoers. The public has tolerantly sat back and accepted the embellished stories of the media while the Muslims are suffering from their work. I personally have refused to watch the exaggerated tales that the media has to feed to us day in and day out. The public also needs to stop assuming that every veiled woman and bearded man is a terrorist, because they are not! I do feel that the media needs to bring their harsh criticism to a standstill. Essentially, Islam is a religion of peace and solitude and the public viewers have a lot to uncover about the truth of Islam and its teachings before abhorring strong feelings towards us.




Also here's an interesting video:video

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I found your writing very enlightening, especially your definition of the word, jihad.

I do have a question about something I was unsure of after reading your commentary.

In the first paragraph, you write "distortion of this religion’s hatred." Did you mean to say something like:

... distortion of this religion, making Islam appear full of hatred.

In the last paragraphs, you write eloquently of Islam and the prophet when you quote:

“Do not betray, do not be excessive, and do not kill a newborn child.” He also declared “Whoever has killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise, though its fragrance is found for a span of forty years.” If a Muslim attempts to commit an act of terrorism, this person is or would be guilty of violating the respected laws of Islam.

Thank you again for posting such an enlightening article.

I was motivated to learn about Islam several years ago when I was befriended by a young man from Afghanistan. Up until I met Sulomain, I knew very little about the religion. I will always owe him a debt of gratitude for showing me the "truth" of his religion.

You write:

Islam strictly forbids any form of suicide and condones the act of converting a non-Muslim to Islam by means of force.

You say "condones" ... did you mean "condemns"?
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carol

Sad isn't it, that the media does cause people to believe Islam to be a dangerous religion.