By Hana Mazhar
“Anytime an act of terror or shooting occurs Muslims are the first ones to come to mind.”
This has not only become a habit but rather a belief that all attacks are done or planned by Muslims. The attacks on Syria and other Muslim countries have been given no importance. The public has shut their eyes from such tragic losses of Muslims.
Year 2016 was full of tragic destructions of Syria, their land, children, adults and monumental buildings have turned into ruins. The media, however, decides to turn their eyes away from any sufferings of Muslims.
These double standards of journalists, media and the public are still questionable. Muslims are victims of violence, intimidation and discrimination, not the cause of it. In the west, Qur’an is considered the most influential religious book that allows and promotes violence. Hence, we are targeted and framed as terrorists.
The media focuses on Islamophobia because it is a profitable business. Most of the bad coverage from the journalists is due to lack of knowledge. The heart of the problem with media’s coverage of Muslims is that most of them simply do not know enough about Islam.
So, people in the media must cultivate personal relationships with the Muslim members of the communities to learn more about Islam. A journalist only chooses to cover whatever the government likes and whatever benefits them.
One such problem is the existence of authoritarian governments as they prevent free thought. Such governments provide financial support for media, publications and school curricula that reject religious freedom, thus, increasing the circulation of these thoughts and feelings.
People think the interpretation of Islam by the media is the only interpretation. Because of these reasons, Muslims face a lot of discrimination in western countries, as they are looked down upon for wearing hijab and are harassed.
The recent power of Trump has led to an awful amendment in the constitution of banning Muslims from entering the country. If all Muslims are terrorists the billions of Muslims would be committing crimes and the world would have no peace.
So the notion “all Muslims are terrorists” is a false claim with no evidence. This is just a propaganda against Islam. Muslims are claimed as extremists by the west and due to this, are usually known for being narrow-minded, that they do not allow religious freedom.
Robert Spencer’s book, “The Truth about Muhammad, Founder of the most intolerant religion” completely and ruthlessly disparages Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) calling him a cheat and a preacher of the hellfire.
I cannot imagine someone using such harsh and foul language towards the greatest man that has ever lived. I was stunned by his direct and open hate towards the Prophet and Islam.
The most shocking part was that the book was placed under the bestselling novels.
The novel has a sentence that reads “May Allah rip out his spine from his back and split his brains in two and then put them both back and then do it over and over again”.
This statement gives us a glimpse about how Spencer describes the Prophet as being a cheat and a person who is unworthy of trust and respect.
According to him, Muhammed (SAW) was a military leader who just expanded his rule by “force” and lied his followers to lure them into majority by offering them baits, which he later failed to give. Hence, cheating them.
This book also focuses on how the prophet tried to convert non-Muslims to Muslims and how the Prophet encouraged His followers to be ruthless towards the unbelievers so that it creates fear and they would accept the religion.
He adds that the Prophet “forced” people to come to Islam. He goes on talking about the Prophet in the most unwelcoming highlight. In my defence, when one talks about religious freedom, Islam has since the beginning of time allowed religious freedom as a choice for every human being.
If Allah S.W.T wanted to force Islam on every living soul, He would not have asked Prophets to remain patient. Prophet Nuh too was asked to let his son go to the mountains and not force him.
Allah S.W.T did not allow the Prophet to take violent measures against the people who treated him ill or those who denied the religion once and for all. In spite of all the opposition he suffered in Makkah, Prophet Muhammad S.A.W always approached the unbelievers with tolerance.
Prophet is a proof that Islam does not encourage violence nor does it force religion on anyone. One way of understanding the Islamic view on freedom of religion in Islam is to look at the deeds and the teachings of the Prophet.
No prophet was asked to impose their teachings on the people by sword. The Quran revealed the words, which clearly outline the duty of his messengers by saying:
“But if the people turn away (then do not be sad because) We did not send you to be a guardian over them. It is for you only to deliver the message.” (42:43). Muslims are only allowed to undertake war against the people who first fight them and to stop them from destroying their mosques and followers.
The Qur’an also mentions to offer security to an enemy who wishes to learn about Islam.
At-Taubah in the Qur’an mentions in Ayah 6 stating, “If anyone of the idolaters seek protection from an opposing army, the opposing army shall protect him till he hears the word of Allah, then convey him to his place of safety.
This is because they are people who have no knowledge” This clearly states that Allah has asked the believers to be tolerant towards the unbelievers. Allah S.W.T has directly asked us to provide protection to an enemy if he seeks our protection, on his request while he learns about Islam.
Even so, if he rejects to acknowledge Allah S.W.T. the army must conduct him securely to his place of origin, where he is safe from Muslims and rejoins the enemies who the Muslims are fighting. What can be a greater tolerance than this!
It’s sad that people are using religion as an excuse to kill people. ***