Does Media Bias Against Muslims Feed Into Radicalisation?

Current Affairs

I can’t even say “as of recently” because this is an ongoing issue, and has been for some time: bias against Muslims in the western media. I voiced my opinion on how I, as a Pakistani girl, felt attacked by various, biased, news broadcasters; the above interlinking of anger at the bias and radicalisation was the response I received, from someone who worked in the industry.

Now I’m not exactly well-informed in what goes through one’s mind when they decide to fight for the Jihad but this suggestion of subjective bias in the media being a reason behind  radicalisation is almost hilarious. Instead of accepting responsibility for unfair media coverage, they deflect furthermore blame. The heavy focus on average Muslims fleeing the country to fight for groups like Islamic State places most Muslims under the spotlight and heavy scrutiny. Since 9/11, Muslims have been categorically associated with terrorism. Anyone wearing a hijab, burqa or with brown skin is instantly given an awkward side-glance. People wearing niqabs are racially abused in public. The media’s stance on, or rather, against, Muslims is adding fuel to an increasingly widespread fire.

To create a correlation between Muslims feeling attacked by the media and terrorism is possibly the highest level of ignorance I have ever come across. That’s saying something, what with ignorant, uneducated comments are on the rise with a biased media reporting unfairly on current affairs worldwide, involving terrorism and more specifically, Islamic State. There are a fair few newspapers who incite racial hatred with their headlines and focus on the ethnicity of key figures in a story. For example, the Daily Mail is notoriously well-known for focussing on “Muslim” immigrants or “Muslim youths” being involved in crime, when the ethnicity or faith is not necessary to the crime at all. This representation and blatant categorisation of Muslims being criminals, job-takers and rapists is what is creating an increasing uproar amongst the Muslim communities. This uproar is not radicalisation, it is defiance and anger at being treated unfairly. Poor media coverage of Islam is not turning us into radicals. Let me make that very, very clear.

Broadcasters such as the BBC thrive on sensationalist headlines but go out of their way to attempt to prove their lack of bias; sadly, in doing so, they make themselves look even more stupid. More often than not, I find myself having to write posts like this to justify a Muslim, such as myself, being completely thrown and disgusted by outright bigotry. Sadiq Khan is our new mayor of London; I, for one, voted for him and for many Pakistani Brits across London it is much more than a political achievement. It’s a step forward for us as a multi-cultural community to accept a Pakistani man leading our city, much to the disappointment of Islamophobic bigots.

I do not blame every white person for the acts of the KKK. Should I? Should I label all white citizens of London as racists? No, because I am educated. Reporting on events by drawing attention to their faith first is uneducated. Finally, assuming that terrorists represent Islam and Islamic teachings is uneducated, too.

I am a Muslim; I am defiant in my faith and beliefs. That doesn’t make me a radical.

Anisah

What Do You Believe In?

Original Writing

My friend and I were having a debate late one night about Islam in the 21st century and what I’ve come to believe in. He asked me the above question and below is the answer I gave him:

“That God gave us life. He gave us a chance to live on the planet He created. His words and teachings were manifested into a holy book. We ought to follow this book and its teachings as best we can and to whatever extent we see fit. We also ought to live our lives as pure and peacefully as possible – to love one another relentlessly, to protect our loved ones and to live in harmony with others. To maintain a pure heart, and, in doing so, we can maintain a pure soul. I believe there is a plan for each and every one of us. We don’t know what this plan is, only God knows, but whatever happens in life happens because it was destined to. There’s no such thing as fate versus free will.It’s either one or the other, not both. I believe that God also weakens us in order to make us stronger. He tests both our perseverance and our loyalty to Him. He challenges humanity and brings us down to our knees in times of despair so we can appreciate what He’s given us so far. I believe in Him. But I also believe in the part of Him that lives inside me and gives me the strength to survive every day. I believe that when I die, I’ll be content knowing I’ve loved and love in equal measure. And I make mistakes, but I am a good person with a good, pure heart. I believe in the faith I have in Him, and Him alone.” 

18 Things Learnt by 18

Original Writing

1. The world is your oyster. Travelling will teach you more about yourself than you ever thought possible.
2. You will fall in love too quickly and fall out of love too slowly. If love was easy, everyone would be falling and it wouldn’t be unique, terrifying, horrifying and beautifully life-changing.
3. The only way of knowing who your true friends are is by waiting to see if they stay. If they leave, they weren’t made for you and are an invaluable lesson for the future.
4. Standing in the middle of the street, gazing up at the sky, filled with contented sighs and happiness does not make you weird. In fact, do it more often – it centres you.
5. Reading books is the best way to explore the hidden depths of yourself. I once admired writers and their ability to spill thoughts, tears and fears onto paper and turn it into poetry and/or prose, now I am one of them. I wouldn’t be if it weren’t for my extensive library of prized collections.
6. Read poetry. Even though I’m still young, I opened myself up to poetry and let it consume me. And I couldn’t be more in love with it.
7. Write letters. To friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives. Nothing says ‘I love you’ louder than in your own handwriting.
8. Listen to your elders. Their wisdom is so easily overlooked as a result of them getting older, less agile. But their wit and wisdom get progressively stronger and more valuable as we grow older.
9. Dance. Like there’s nobody watching. There’s nothing more liberating than expressing emotions through body movements.
10. The media is not your friend or ally. They will tell you what they want you to hear. They will not always tell you the whole truth. They will most likely be biased. Remain open-minded or else they will subtly and effectively manipulate you.
11. Size 0 does not exist. Underweight is not sexy, so eat your food. Don’t skip meals in order to control your weight as you’ll end up doing more harm than good. Smoothies don’t make you skinny. Chocolate is your friend.
12. Watch every sunset you possibly can. They will most likely either remind you of everything good in your life or remind you of someone.
13. Faith will empower you. Religious or not, having faith in someone or something will give you immense strength.
14. The world does not revolve around your phone. Pay more attention to the people around you than the latest trends.
15. Let people finish their sentences. I’ve noticed that we, including myself, have a habit of interrupting each other before one has even finished what they were saying; slow down and listen!
16. Treat people with the respect they deserve. If they disrespect you, remain civil, but they do not deserve your respect. That is to say, do not disrespect them either.
17. Honesty. Being truthful is invaluable. How can you demand respect if you lack honesty?
18. Positivity. Seeing the good in everything and trying to remain as happy as possible completely changes your life and outlook on it. We can choose happiness or we can choose negativity. But which will we inevitably benefit from?

Mohammad Al-Dhaba

Quotes

لا أحد يعرف اللحظات الصغيرة التي ماتت فيها روحك، و لا أحد يعرف متى عادت و لا كيف عادت! و لا أحد يعرف لماذا تبتسم و أنت وحدك، كن قوياً لأجلك!

no one knows the tiny moments when your soul died, knows when it was revived or how, and no one knows why you smile when you’re alone. Be strong for you