by Syarif Hidayat*
Islam is a beautiful religion, full of wisdom and harmony. Islam is a religion of love and peace. Love is one of the noblest human principles and traits that cultivate the spirit of interaction, solidarity, and cooperation and add affection to human relationships and dealings. The root of the word Islam, silm, refers to “making peace. The Arabic word salaam (سلام) (“secured, pacified, submitted”) has the same root as the word Islam. One Islamic interpretation is that individual personal peace is attained by utterly submitting to Allah. The greeting “As-Salaamu alaykum”, favoured by Muslims, has the literal meaning “Peace be upon you”.
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West. Nevertheless, the West has many stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam that are due to: the media Prejudice, and Ignorance. Islam is often looked upon as a “extremist”, “terrorist”, or “fundamental” religion. Many people hate Islam and do not want to acknowledge its true teachings.
In many cases, the media’s reports about Islam are incorrect due to ignorance. This is one of the reasons why the West often hates Islam. In contrast to what many Westerners think of Islam, Islam is a peaceful religion, which does not promote any injustice or crime. Stereotypes about Islam are not new to Western culture. Problems can be traced back 1400 years. At that time, Islam and Christianity were involved in the Crusades in the 1100’s and in the Ottoman and Moorish control in Europe. Islam spread quickly to the West, and started to threaten the position of the Christian Church and the ruling class.
The Western elites, mainly the governments and the churches, then became highly involved in seeing that negative images were presented about Islam. As a result, not only were battles fought against Islam, but also a war of words was initiated to make sure that Islam would not have any converts or sympathizers in the West. These kinds of actions and feelings that the West had long ago still seem to be the case in the West today.
Today, the Western regimes, with little or no understanding of Islamic history, has identified a new enemy, “a new demon that has replaced the Red menace of the Cold war, i.e., radical Islam”. This “radical Islam”, a stereotype common to Western thought, portrays Muslims as fundamentalists or potential terrorists. Some of these ideas that the Western people have about Islam are due to the mass media of the West. Reporters who cover the Muslim world often know very little details about it. The media then develops a distorted image of Islam that Western culture adopts.
A major factor which contributes to Islamic stereotyping in the West is due to the media’s ignorance of selecting their words that describe Muslims. Some common names heard or seen in the news about Muslims are “extremist” or “terrorist”. These words are misleading and are mainly anti-Islamic. The media rarely uses more neutral terms such as “revivalist” or “progressives”. The Western media also creates the idea that Muslims are “returning” to Islam. This is not true in most cases, because many Muslims have never left Islam in the first place. Islam has always been a big part of their lives.
The western media circus
The Western mainstream media circus apply a policy of controlled news reporting on their domestic problems and at the same time they apply the lies and biased news reporting on international affairs especially on Islam, the Muslim World, the Middle East Conflict and international terrorism.
The western Media circus’ biased news reporting are terrorizing people with unbalanced news and lies that create fear and xenophobia. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States as well as Australia. It means that what the enemies of the Western countries cannot do, its media is doing that.
If the terrorist attack anywhere on this planet was perpetrated by a Muslim, Fox News, CNN, BBC AND THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE WESTERN MEDIA CIRCUS would be working overtime with breaking news almost every minute, COMPLETE SILENT or SO LITTLE IS SAID in the western media circus news reporting when the terrorists are Christian, Zionist, Jewish fundamentalists or extremists …They simply call the perpetrators as Right-wing extremists or right-wing nuts, paranoid schizophrenic persons or a deranged persons.
The US-led western media circus double standards is very much the same as their governments double standards policies on Islam and Muslim world. Here are some of the Zionist-controlled Western media circus “BIASED” or “IDIOTIC” Interpretation Standards ON TERRORISM, REVOLUTION, REVOLUTIONARIES, DICTATOR, STATE TERRORISM and AGGRESSION:
If a terrorist suspect is a Muslim = Muslim terrorist.
If a terrorist suspect is a Christian = Right-wing nut.
Israeli state terrorism = Self defense.
Palestinian resistance and freedom fighting = Palestinian terrorism.
Palestinian Freedom Fighters=Palestinian Terrorists.
The US state terrorism = “War on terror.”
A dictator friendly to the US-led western regimes = A democratically elected leader.
A democratically elected president, but unfriendly to the US-led western regimes = A dictator.
The US aggression = Intervention to liberate local citizens from a dictator.
Revolutionaries (with US interests) = Freedom Fighters
Revolutionaries (against US interests) = Terrorists
When u attack White people, they call it Racism.
When u attack Jewish people, they call it Anti-semitism
When u attack ur country, they call it treason.
When u attack ur religious sect, they call it hate.
But, When u attack the Muslim countries, they call it “War on Terror.”
When u attack the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, they call it FREEDOM of SPEECH and When u produce a mocking caricature of Prophet Muhammad PBUH, they call it FREEDOM of EXPRESSION.
A campaign to boycott halal-certified food is gathering momentum in Australia under the guise of a consumer choice drive, according to MuslimVillage.com quoting the Turkish World Bulletin. The Boycott Halal in Australia and Halal Choices groups oppose halal certification on the grounds of the cost to the consumer as well as animal welfare and argue that certifying bodies funnel money to terrorism.
The former is planning to petition the government for changes to the Competition and Consumer Act so halal certification is paid for only by those who buy halal products, known as ‘user-pays.’ The worldwide campaign has a strong social media presence with more than 54,000 Facebook followers and urges people to “boycott all companies and organizations that promote or use halal products and services.”
Boycott Halal claims halal products “fund Islamic expansion by any means.”Halal food is that which adheres to Islamic law and involves slaughtering animals by cutting the throat while a dedication is said. The carcass is then drained of blood. The Q Society, which calls itself “Australia’s leading Islam-critical organization,” is also mounting a petition opposing the current model of halal certification and demanding the implementation of a user-pays system. The organization has been involved in campaigns opposing the construction of mosques and brought right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has compared the Quran to Hilter’s Mein Kampf, to Australia.
The majority of Australian halal products exported
Halal consultant Ahmed Kilani told The Anadolu Agency that the majority of halal products were exported. He said: “Despite its minuscule cost in the overall scheme of things, even if we were to assume that the cost of halal certification is being passed on to the consumer, over 90 per cent of Halal certified items are exported.” Therefore “any Australian consumer is paying only 10 per cent of what sometimes amounts to less than 0.1 per cent of the sale of an item to pay for Halal certification.”
He added: “Even on a logical or economic argument, the halal haters don’t have a leg to stand on the issue of having to pay for halal certification.”
Q Society President Debbie Robinson declined AA’s request for an interview. Halal Choices is run by New South Wales farmer Kirralie Smith. The organization, which claims its website receives 15,000 unique visitors a month, says it wants to provide information to consumers so they can avoid paying an “Islamic religious tax.”
The homepage of Halal Choices’ website carries a video titled “Understanding Halal Certification Schemes” that is produced by the Q Society in partnership with Halal Choices. The footage claims that halal certification is an “invention” by “some Muslims who want to make money from food companies and gullible customers.” In the video, Smith states: “All of the halal certification organizations are operating under sharia law and desire for sharia law to be accepted as a part of our mainstream society. Money that is paid out in fees for halal certification is used to fund in part or whole the push for sharia law in Australia.”
Smith maintains she has no objection to Islam but in an article on the Pickering Post blog headed ‘Sydney Terrorist was Imitating Muhammad’ – a reference to Man Haron Monis, the man who held 17 people hostage in a Sydney cafe last month – Smith admits abhorring Islam as an ideology. She also maintains that her main complaint about halal certification is that it has been “linked to funding terrorism overseas and as yet there has been no thorough investigation into the Australian situation.”
The Australian Crime Commission told the New Matilda website that it is “not aware of any direct links between the legitimate halal certification industry and money laundering or the financing of terrorist groups.”
A number of Australia’s top food brands are being targeted for boycott for producing halal foods including Vegemite, Four ‘n’ Twenty pies, the Byron Bay Cookie Company, Nescafe, Colgate and Western Star Butter. Anti-halal campaigners are now targeting small companies that do not have the resources to withstand a boycott. An aggressive social media campaign forced South Australia’s Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company to drop its halal accreditation and forgo a lucrative deal with Emirates airline.
The Islamic Society of South Australia, which provides companies with halal certification, described the campaigns as “Islamophobia,” ABC News reported. There are also concerns that a reduction in halal certification could adversely affect the Australian economy. Broadcaster Chris Smith, speaking on 2GB radio station last month, claimed Nestle Australia was experiencing a 4.5 percent growth partly because the company is breaking into new Muslim markets abroad thanks to halal certification for its products.
Michael Brull and MuslimVillage Media staff in their article titled “Islamophobia and Western media are the menace, not Islam” writes When British National Party head Nick Griffin went on Question Time in the UK, every other panellist launched sharp attacks on him, one after the other. The harshest attacks came from politicians: from a Liberal Democrat, to a Conservative, to a member of Labour. They all thought it important to reject such an openly racist political party and to stress that racism should have no part in their national political dialogue.
When Australia’s equivalent show, Q&A, featured One Nation’s Ian Nelson on Monday night, the ALP’s Anna Bligh and the Coalition’s Barnaby Joyce did not behave at all similarly. In fact, the only people who really attacked and ridiculed Nelson were in the audience. He offered them a solemn warning: “Muslims have their own religion, they have their own mosques, they have their own sharia law, they have their own bible, the Qur’an. Which is, uh, really different than what we do.”
Mysteriously, the audience started laughing. “I don’t know what’s funny about that, I mean, it’s a serious, it’s a serious problem.” The audience erupted into louder laughter, to the indignant confusion of Nelson. Why wouldn’t the Australian people listen? The Muslims have their own bible!
Nelson went on to explain that: “It’s not that they we don’t like their religion, they don’t like our religion.” We? One fears that behind Nelson’s constant invocation of “us” is the belief that this includes not just the handful of people who vote for his party, but all (non-Muslim? White Christian Australians?).
The questioner was allowed to respond. He spoke of how Australians have spat at his (veiled) wife in the streets. “We don’t hate your religion,” he exclaimed. “Jesus is our prophet. We love Jesus!” Nelson spoke more, and the audience continued to laugh at him. Spurning such ridicule by an audience which has amazingly never even read One Nation’s policies, he advised the audience to visit his website. There we can learn of the dangers Muslims pose to “hard working and true-blue Christian Australians.”
Unsurprisingly, One Nation seems untroubled by the people who actually pose some threat to secularism in Australia. For example, those fighting for special legal privileges for religion in Australia. Leading the way are the Anglican and Catholic Churches, fighting for the right to discriminate against employees. This is not an issue over which the peak Islamic body is interesting in lobbying.
The imaginary threat from Sharia
Why is One Nation interested in the imaginary threat from Sharia, but not from Church lobbyists? The answer is that they are like Reverend Fred Nile campaigning against a Muslim school. They are not secularists. They are simply intolerant Christians, crusading on behalf of the declining 64 per cent of Australians who identified as Christian in 2006. So why the revival of interest in One Nation? I think we can find the answer in the broader political context. On February 16, Bernard Keane wrote: “It’s extraordinarily hard to believe that a number of Liberals aren’t engaged in a deliberate campaign of blatant Islamophobia, and have been for some time.”
He went on to cite Scott Morrison, Gary Humphries, Kevin Andrews and Cory “ban the burqa” Bernardi. Bernardi is an “an ardent Catholic”.
The next day, Keane was spectacularly vindicated. Lenore Taylor revealed in the Sydney Morning Herald that the “opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate.” Two days later, Bernardi explained that “Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology.” Why? “It tells people everything about how they need to conduct themselves, who they’re allowed to marry and how they’re allowed to treat other people.”
Islam offers you a complete and comprehensive system
Unlike Catholics, who aren’t told how to behave or how to treat others. What people fail to see here is that Islam offers you a complete and comprehensive system on dealing with every aspect of your life no matter how big or small. Islam is like a guidebook to life, and everyone needs to read it. But we should insist: this is not just about politicians. It is a culture that makes it ok to attack the Muslim community, over and over again. And a media that makes such attacks ok, through either tacit or overt support.
For example, let us return to One Nation’s website. There, we can learn that its most highly recommended book is Among the Barbarians by Sydney Morning Herald Columnist Paul Sheehan. To take an illustration of Mr Sheehan’s style, he complained of the “heavy price” paid by Australians “for the failed refugee-vetting processes in the 1970s and 1980s, when thousands of parasites who should never have been allowed into the country were approved.” [Emphasis added]
Or the other day, Eddie McGuire explained how awful it would be to live in Western Sydney, “living up in the land of the falafel”. This was followed by Miranda Devine impatiently writing that this “joke… may have offended sensitive types”. These “sensitive types” probably don’t read the Daily Telegraph or the Herald Sun very often. The latter features such luminaries as Alan Howe. Howe once wrote that: “By and large, Arabs and Africans are not good at democracy.
They don’t do personal freedoms all that well. Many of them are fond of cruel and unusual punishments”. Another time, he bragged: “We did annihilate many Japanese. Enola Gay’s biggest passenger, Little Boy, killed 140,000 at Hiroshima in a moment; 70,000 died at Nagasaki three days later. It’s not fashionable to say so, but those bombs were two of the best bits of World War II.” Of course, only “sensitive types” would take offence at such writings. But let us return to Ms Devine. On Saturday, she wrote about the attack on Lara Logan, which she attributed to the “increasing misogyny and subjugation of women in the Muslim world”. This “is the single insurmountable obstacle to democratisation.”
Not, say, the dictators of the Middle East, or the Western tear gas, tanks and bullets with which they are armed. For Devine does not appear to have written a single word in support of the Egyptian protesters. Despite this, Devine had the audacity to write that “the assault on Logan was so unremarkable it barely rated a mention” in the Arab media. That is to say, for some reason, the Arab media hasn’t focused all of its attention on a white victim, like Devine. Perhaps it was distracted by an estimated 365 protesters killed, and 5500 injured. Perhaps one could say that the murder and brutalisation of Arabs “was so unremarkable it barely rated a mention” in her columns.
Nor are all rape accusations treated in such manner by Devine. When it came to Assange, she wrote that the “allegations against Assange… make a mockery of rape.” Again, she dismissed the “dubious Swedish sex charges”. Actually, they’re not dubious at all. Devine wrote that one cannot be proud of the West’s response to the sexual assault on Logan. Nor can it be proud of her response, like so many others, to Assange’s accusers.
Devine wrote that women protesters in Tahrir were the “exception”, and that the crowd chanted that Logan was a Jew. Perhaps it is worthwhile to attend to another woman who was attacked, not given the same attention by Ms Devine. Noha Radwan, born in Egypt, is a professor of comparative literature at the University of California. She felt liberated by the “ubiquitous” female presence at the protests. “Women and men were participating as equals in the ousting of the dictatorship”.
At Tahrir, “there was no fear of sexual harassment. Even at times when space was at a premium and everyone was crammed together, the men on Tahrir went out of their way to assure the women of their safety from any form of harassment and provocation.”
Western democracy – a corrupted democracy
“Every day I went to Tahrir, I wore blue jeans and a light shirt with a jacket or sweater. My friends wore jeans, slacks and skirts. None of us covered our hair. On the square we sat next to women who wore western clothes and covered their hair, others who wore head scarves that were large enough to drape over their chests and back down to their waists. Some had their faces covered in the full niqab. …Women physicians volunteered in the makeshift clinic on a side street.
Women lawyers gave speeches on the square’s makeshift radio. Women were part of the “security” team searching incomers to the square to identify and exclude saboteurs carrying weapons. Women sat in front of the tanks to prevent their movement. We felt strong, empowered and united, aligned with each other and with the male protesters. Come what may, we had taken back the streets.” However, after giving an interview to Democracy Now!, pro-Mubarak thugs attacked her, yelling “She is with them… with them… the agents…the Americans”. They ripped open her shirt and beat her until the army intervened and saved her.
Why did they yell she was an agent? This was the propaganda line of Mubarak’s state controlled media, which not only campaigned against journalists as “agents” of a foreign agenda, but also “actively tried to foment the unrest by reporting that “Israeli spies” have infiltrated the city – which explains why many of the gangs who attack reporters shout “yehudi!” (“Jew!”).” Yet the story appears different when one considers the anti-Semitism and sexual abuse dealt out by pro-Mubarak thugs, backed by the West, or the absence of it by pro-democracy protesters, challenging the West. Obviously, some reporters prefer the temptation to demonise Muslims as sexist anti-Semites.
Whilst “our” love of freedom and democracy is trumpeted in the media, it is salutary to recall Bertrand Russell’s words on those who: “have invented what they call ‘Western Values.’ These are supposed to consist of toleration, respect for individual liberty, and brotherly love. I am afraid this view is grossly unhistorical. If we compare Europe with other continents, it is marked out as the persecuting continent. Persecution only ceased after long and bitter experience of its futility; it continued as long as either Protestants or Catholics had any hope of exterminating the opposite party. The European record in this respect is far blacker than that of the Mohammedans, the Indians or the Chinese.”
Hollande defends freedom of speech after anti-French protests
French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday (January 17, 2015) that anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters in other countries do not understand France’s attachment to freedom of speech, according to World Bulletin.net.
He was speaking a day after the satirical weekly’s publication of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad sparked violent clashes, including deaths, in some Muslim countries.
Demand has surged for Charlie Hebdo’s first issue since two militant gunmen burst into its weekly editorial conference and shot dead 12 people at the start of three days of violence that shocked France. The magazine’s distributors said that its print run had been lifted to seven million copies, dwarfing its usual circulation of only 60,000. A cartoon image of Mohammad PBUH on its front page outraged many in the Muslim world, triggering demonstrations that turned violent in Algeria, Niger and Pakistan on Friday, January 16, 2015.
“We’ve supported these countries in the fight against terrorism,” Hollande said during a visit to the southern city of Tulle, traditionally his political fiefdom. “I still want to express my solidarity (towards them), but at the same time France has principles and values, in particular freedom of expression,” he added. The shootings in Paris were prompted by Charlie Hebdo’s previous publication of Mohammad cartoons, a depiction many Muslims consider blasphemous.
Police in Niger fired teargas on Saturday at hundreds of rock-throwing protesters in a second day of clashes over Charlie Hebdo’s publication of the image. A police officer and three civilians were killed on Friday in the Zinder, the second city of the former French colony, while churches were burned and Christian homes looted. Protests also turned violent on Friday in the southern Pakistan city of Karachi where police used tear gas and a water cannon against demonstrators outside the French consulate.
A photographer for French news agency Agence France-Presse was also wounded by a gunshot during the protest. Several Algerian police officers were injured in clashes with demonstrators in Algiers after rioting broke out at the end of a protest. “There are tensions abroad where people don’t understand our attachment to the freedom of speech,” Hollande said. “We’ve seen the protests, and I would say that in France all beliefs are respected.” A lawyer for one of the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attack said the man had been buried in the eastern city of Reims in an unmarked grave so as not to attract admirers.
Charlie Hebdo fired cartoonist for anti-Semitism in 2009
Maurice Sinet, 86, who works under the pen name Sine in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, faced charges of “inciting racial hatred” for a column he wrote in 2009. The piece sparked a slanging match among the Parisian intelligentsia and ended in his dismissal from the magazine. “L’affaire Sine” followed the engagement of Mr Sarkozy, 22, to Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, the Jewish heiress of an electronic goods chain. Commenting on an unfounded rumour that the president’s son planned to convert to Judaism, Sine quipped: “He’ll go a long way in life, that little lad.”
A high-profile political commentator slammed the column as linking prejudice about Jews and social success. Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Philippe Val, asked Sinet to apologise but he refused in a very strictly manner.
Mr Val’s decision to fire Sine was backed by a group of eminent intellectuals, including the philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy, but parts of the libertarian Left defended him, citing the right to free speech.
As mocking young Mr Sarkozy converted to Judaism for money, Sine was accused of being Anti-Semitic and faced many preassures leading him to be fired from the weekly magazine. The same magazine published cartoons even insulting the Islam Prophet Muhammad and Muslims yet explained them as “freedom of speech.” Charlie Hebdo published cartoons about Prophet Jesus and Chiristianity, too, causing the magazine being sued 12 times by Catholic Chuch.
Dutch far-right Pro Patria to hold ‘March for Freedom’
About 1,000 supporters of far-right group confirm they will join anti-Muslim demonstration, according to World Bulletin.net. Dutch far-right group Pro Patria has announced its supporters will take the streets in the Netherlands to campaign for freedom of expression and against Muslims.
The announcement came on Wednesday as anti-Muslim rallies spread across Europe following last week’s gun massacre at the Paris headquarters of the French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.
The far-right group said on its Facebook page it would hold its “March for Freedom” on Feb. 28. to call on politicians to “defend our freedoms”.
About 1,000 supporters confirmed they would participate in the event, the venue for which has yet to be decided. “Looking away is not an option anymore. The Paris attack was a lesson to us,” Pro Patria said.
The event will be Pro Patria’s second national demonstration, after it protested last August against the ISIL. The mayor of The Hague, Jozias Van Aartsen, announced a temporary ban on the demonstration in The Hague neighborhoods after violence emerged between rival groups. Aartsen also banned a pro-Israeli, anti-ISIL rally that was scheduled for September 2014, saying it was “too provocative”.
Many anti-Muslim rallies have spread across Europe in the wake of the Paris attacks, with German far-right group PEGIDA – standing for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West – opening many branches across Europe including France, Austria and the Netherlands.
Satirical magazine extends print run to five million as copies sell out across France, according to World Bulletin.net. Muslim organizations in France have condemned the fresh publication of a caricature of the Prophet Muhammed on the new edition of Charlie Hebdo, describing it as “discrimination against Muslims”. Their comments came after the French satirical magazine reportedly increased its print run to five million copies on Wednesday after it rapidly sold out in France, a week after 12 people were massacred in a gun attack on the Paris headquarters of the weekly.
The cover depicted Prophet Muhammad in a white dress and shedding a tear, holding up a sign reading; “Je suis Charlie” below the headline “All is forgiven.” The leading Muslim cleric in Paris, Dr. Dalil Boubaker, said ahead of the release of the magazine: “All Muslim organizations in France … call on the Muslim community in France to remain calm and avoid emotional reactions incongruous or incompatible with their dignity, while respecting the freedom of expression.”
He added: “All Muslim organizations in France are concerned about the numerous anti-Muslim acts observed in recent days and call on the authorities to be vigilant to ensure the safety of mosques.” Abdallah Zekri, head of the National Observatory against Islamophobia, told France Info that Muslim places of worship, including Paris’ main mosque, were not receiving the same level of protection as that afforded to Jewish synagogues and schools. He said: “There are websites calling for the murder of Muslim leaders and torching of Muslim religious sites.”
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)