Islam is being damaged by media: Dr Zakir
Media is the most important tool rather the most dangerous weapon in the world. It converts black into white and a villain into a hero, he added.
The maximum damage done to the image of Islam today is by the international media which is bombarding misconceptions about it day and night using an array of strategies.
This was affirmed by renowned Indian scholar Dr Zakir Naik on Thursday night, June 16, as part of his lecture 'Media & Islam, at the 'Rashid bin Mohammed Ramadan Gathering', Khawaneej-1 area.
"International media, be it print, audio, video, or online, use a number of strategies to malign Islam by first picking up the black sheep of the Muslim community, and portraying them as though they are exemplary Muslims."
Media is the most important tool rather the most dangerous weapon in the world. It converts black into white and a villain into a hero, he added. "It is, therefore, the duty of Muslims to remove these fallacies and spread the message of Islam."
Hundreds of movies were made in Hollywood to malign the image of Islam that a non-Muslim gets scared when he heard a Muslim saying 'Allah Akbar', thinking that he is going to kill him, Dr Naik explained. "Hitler, who was not a Muslim, is the biggest terrorist in the world as he incinerated 46 million Jews."
If anyone really wants to know how good Islam is, he or she has to study its authentic sources; the glorious Quran and Hadith rather than looking to its followers as is the case with a motorist whose reckless driving should be blamed for an accident rather than the latest Mercedes car he was driving. "The best exemplary Muslim is the last and final messenger Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)."
Media also picks verses of the Quran or Hadiths and quotes them out of context to mislabel Islam as a religion that promotes violence and killing, Dr Naik elaborated. "Critics of Islam quotes Verse 5/9 which reads: 'Wherever you find a non-Muslim, kill him' out of context to malign Islam though it was an order in a battlefield, and Islam always promotes peace as better option during war."
The third strategy adopted by international media is to pick a word from Quran or Sunnah and mistranslate it, he noted. "The most mistranslated and misunderstood word about Islam by non-Muslims and even some Muslims is 'Jihad' which has nothing to do with 'holy war' that is never used in the Quran or Sunnah and was first used by the Crusaders who killed millions in the name of Christianity."
The word 'Jihad' actually means to strive or struggle against one's own evil inclinations, to make the society better, in self-defense in battle field, and against oppression, he clarified.
Media also follows a fourth strategy to malign Islam by saying something that does not belong to it, Dr Naik said. "They say Islam does not give rights to women, and is an illogical religion. They portray Islam as the problem of humanity though it is the solution to all man's problems."
The same applies to the misinterpreted words 'fundamentalist' and 'extremist' which are basically western words, he said. "A true Muslim must be an extremist in the correct direction, by being extremely kind, loving, tolerant, honest and just."
While Indians were fighting for their freedom, the British government was labelling them as terrorists; same activity, same people, but two different labels. "The same happened with Muslims who are labelled as terrorists in media, so we should look into backgrounds and reasons for an activity before labelling people."
It is, therefore not correct to say ISIS or Islamic State has killed Syrian or Iraqi innocents. "We should say anti-Islamic state kills them as Quran affirms that whoever kills an innocent person is as if he kills all humanity, and he who saves a single person - disregard his religion, is like saving all humanity."
The British government was calling President George Washington as terrorist No 1 when they were ruling the States, Dr Naik said. "The same happened with Nelson Mandela who became the President of South Africa and was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace though he was also considered a terrorist by his apartheid government."
Islam is also labelled as intolerant, and it is indeed, but towards corruption, discrimination, injustice, adultery, alcoholism, and all evils, he pointed out. "Islam is the most tolerant religion as far as promoting the human values is concerned."
Media is also adopting the double-standard strategy to defame Islam, Dr Naik highlighted. "If a Muslim woman wears hijab or veil it is labeled as women subjugation, but if a nun does to the same it turns into a sign of respect and modesty."
A 50-year-old Muslim marrying a 16-year-old girl (willingly) is a headline, but a 50-year-old non-Muslim raping a six-year-old girl appears as brief news or filler, he said. "The same is happening with a man related by nothing to Islam but by his name who killed over 50 gays in Orlando."
The news went viral, and the Muslim community suffered the backlash though the killer was a gay himself and used to fight in the gay club, Dr Naik said. "The assailant never practices Islam, however, the spotlight is on his religion, and if a non-Muslim did the same, media will selectively say a lunatic killed 50 gays."
Media also picks up Muslims who criticised Islam like Salman Rushdie, and gives them awards. "If a Muslim does something great, they may give him credit but ignore his religion or change his Muslim name like the Aristotle of the East Avicenna whose real name was Ali Ibn Sina."
As such, it is the duty of every Muslim to convey the message of Islam and tolerantly invite people to the truth in the best possible means, Dr Naik urged. "We should use the same media to remove the misconceptions, misquotations, misinterpretations, and misrepresentations about Islam."
The missionaries write verses of the bible in Arabic calligraphy, such as 'Gove is love' to catch fish with the Muslims, he said. "We in Peace TV, for example, do not use such deceit, and attract over two billion potential viewers or 100 million actual viewers on 14 satellites."
On Friday night, Dr Naik is also to give an exclusive question & answer session in English at the same Gathering at 10pm.Thousands of people flocked to the lecture venue.
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