by Syarif Hidayat

Moments after the horrific 9/11 attacks, bomb attacks in Norway and Boston as well as the other terrorist attacks, the US-led western regimes and the western mainstream media circus terrors intimidate Muslims more than anyone else on earth.

After any terrorist activity, inside their houses, Muslims try to put fingers into their ears, not hear the phrase “another act of Muslim terror”.  The level of hypocrisy in attitude of the US-led western police and the media is conspicuous. If a Muslim does, it is a terror plot but if a non-Muslim does, it is just an ‘act of violence’

Immediately after any incidence of terrorist activity, the mainstream media’s immediate reaction – pointing the finger towards Muslim extremist groups – shows the media’s inherent bias against the Muslims.

Outside, in non-Muslim countries, they avoid eye contacts with others to avoid giving possible explanations that “it need not be an act of Muslim terror” or “I wasn’t a part of it.” For a terror-attack anywhere, Muslims everywhere have to hang their heads in shame.

Muslims are the first suspects in almost all cases of violence, the world over. The Western Media circus usually has “credible sources” and bigot analysts to hatch theories against Muslims and the police has “informers” and matrix of terror links with names of Muslim youths inscribed as terrorists-in-line. Thus, investigation, forensic analysis, and fact finding, all have become irrelevant. The new logic of both the media and the police is to blame Muslims first, and investigate later.

Moments after the horrific Norway bomb-blast that killing 7 people on July 22, followed by the massacre of 85 teenagers, speculations started regarding the possible culprits. The renowned media group, the BBC – considered objective, started speculating on the following night that the Islamist group Al-Qaeda could be behind the attacks, although in the next morning they had to change their tone in front of evidence. As The Sun labeled the attacks as “Norway’s 9/11”, The Guardian was not behind in their suspicion and analysis of Jihadists’ role in the bloody episode.

American media’s reaction wasn’t different either. The Fox News O’Reilly Factor, not only suspected the Norway killing-spree as another incidence of Islamic terror, the guest host Laura Ingraham even attempted to link it with the atrocious 9/11 happened in the US, a decade ago by reminding the audience about the ground-zero mosque to be built in Manhattan. No doubt she would succeed in her effort to multiply the right-wing American hatred against the Muslims and the Islam.

Blaming the jihadists, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Norway is targeted for being true to Western norms.” Meanwhile, on the Washington Post’s website, Jennifer Rubin wrote, “This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists.” Altogether the instant reaction to the incidence, without any pursuance of proof or evidence, was that Muslim terror must be responsible for the attack.

However, within a day the whole story had to be changed, as the right-wing-Christian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, with a background of hating Muslims and liberals, claimed responsibility for the attacks, exposing the media-bigotry to malign the Muslim image. Once again, it’s been proven that not all terrorists are Muslims.

The same thing happens everywhere. Minutes after the Mumbai blasts on July 13, the Indian TV channels propagated the theory that Indian Mujahedeen (IM), deemed to be an Indian Muslim extremist group, could be behind the blast, although security agencies and the Police took hours before adopting the hypothesis – solely on the basis of spurious previous trends. Based on their guesswork, the Mumbai Police, as usual, detained several Muslims for questioning. One of those detained—Faiz Usmani—died while in police custody on July 17, sparking allegations of police brutality.

It has been more than a week, yet the investigating agencies have found no evidence to support their claims against the IM nor those detained. The tameness of the media and police administration reflects that – Muslims have been harassed, some Muslims have been detained, and one of them has got killed (all without any evidence). So what? Does it really matter? The Muslims are presumed guilty, by the unwritten rule, until proven innocent. 

This trend is naught new. In the past, although there have been occasions in which Muslim groups have been found linked with terrorist activities, but extremist Hindutva-terrorists have also been proven to have carried out half a dozen attacks in India, such as bomb-blasts in Samajhauta Express, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif in (2007), and Malegaon (2008), the list goes on. When the right-wing-Hindutva groups are known to have established links with the Indian military and intelligence to carry out terrorist activities, yet raising fingers against them is an anathema.

The level of hypocrisy in attitude of the police and the media is conspicuous. If a Muslim does, it is a terror plot but if a non-Muslim does, it is just an ‘act of violence’. If a Muslim is suspected in a terror act, he is an Islamic terrorist while a proven non-Muslim figure behind terror activities is merely ‘an accused’.

If someone bears a Muslim name, this is enough for the police to suspect him/her as a terrorist. A few weeks ago, when a Mid Day’s photo journalist – Sayed Sameer Abedi – was taking innocuous photographs of a traffic junction and an airplane, Mumbai police detained him. Simply because of his Muslim name, one “unfortunate’ police officer glibly remarked that Mr. Abedi could be a terrorist. Shakespeare was wrong – there is a lot in a name, especially if it is a Muslim sounding name!

If this is how people’s sentiments against Muslims are aroused, how can the 1.5 billion Muslims live in peace with others and what message we are giving to the younger and the future generations? As the facts are now revealing the truth and dispelling the conjectures, media’s bias is getting clearer. In order to be credible, leave fairness, the media should show a little restraint before making allegations against Muslims and maligning Islam.

International media biased against Muslims and Islam

       Aziz A. Mubaraki* in his article titled: International Media equally biased against Muslims & Islamwrites: There are numerous cases to judge whether there is bias against Muslims in the media, but in recent times look no further than the press coverage regarding the terrorist attack that took place in Norway not very long ago. Impartial population waited impatiently to read this act being explicitly described as a “terrorist attack” or an “act of terrorism” by the mainstream media.

But never once the “Christian” label was used despite the fact that Mr. Breivik was a self-described devout Christian often comparing his “holy” mission to that of the Knights Templar, a group of warriors that formed the core of the Crusades who invaded Muslim lands during the 12th century. To use the Christian label would certainly be wrong as it is well established that Christianity, like Islam and Judaism, never ignore acts of violence against innocent people.

But notwithstanding the fact that the alleged executor of the attack was a Christian who is well known in Facebook circles, the religion, while mentioned in some articles, was never the center of attention. The media instead described the attacker as a “far right-wing” extremist who was inclined by a “Neo-Nazi” type of philosophy.

Therefore the important question is: Why is it when the person responsible for the terrorist act happens to be Muslim all of a sudden the religion becomes the focus instead? And Terms such as “Islamic terrorism”, “Islamic extremism” or “Islamic fundamentalism” are often used to describe the ideology the killer clings to.

The Western governments add fuel to the fire of Islamophobic sentiments in their societies with inflammatory and rabble-rousing actions and statements, the Western media mischievously try their best to portray a lopsided, biased and prejudiced image of Muslims in an attempt which should be interpreted as an incontestable crusade against more than 25% of the world population.

It is important to know that Muslims have been predictably considered as the villains of the fables of the Western governments and despite their undeniable and precious services to the world, they never received a fair, reasonable and humane treatment by the superpowers, either from the dishonest, deceitful and warmonger Russia that massacred some 50,000 innocent Muslims in Chechnya, or from the egotistical, bullying United States that caged scores of blameless Muslims in its illegitimate, underground confinement in Guantanamo bay and Abu Ghraib following the 9/11 attacks.

As a result of such malicious propaganda by the unfair media the public got so much used to using these house-hold tags, that many from the community are being called ‘Osama,’ ‘terrorist,’ ‘al-Qaeda’ in the workplace, by their co-workers or are not being hired or are sacked just because of their hijab’s.

But nobody asked the Western media that how it would be possible to defend the killing of unarmed civilians as an act of self defense while they even lacked a knife to defend their lives against the rifles of the Israeli commandos. When it was needed to lower the depth of the truth, the mainstream media scored the best goal: 3,500 guiltless Gazans were massacred in a short period of less than 3 weeks, and the Western media acted so unsympathetically that one might have felt as if nothing had really taken place!

Although the European and American politicians and statesmen have unarguably admitted that Israel is the sole owner of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, they have never made any effort to inspect Israel’s nuclear armory which contains up to 200 atomic warheads; however, they have destroyed Iraq and have lethally put an ever-increasing demands on Iran to abandon its nuclear rights and put an end to its nuclear program which the International Atomic Energy Agency has avowed as nonviolent and unthreatening.

The unfair Media deliberately introduce Muslims as terrorists and try to institutionalize the idea that Muslims are always inclined to carry out excessive actions such as killing the other people or persecuting the followers of other religions or forcing them to convert to Islam. They misuse some pillars and principals of Islam to portray their preferred image of this religion and its followers and hence spread panic and fear among the Europeans and Americans.

The Western media outlets never show the real image of Islam to their audiences and neither tell them that the essence of this religion is based on mutual respect, benevolence, peace, love and human dignity.

They never allude to the fact that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was one of the pioneers of human rights in his time and emphasized on preserving and respecting the human dignity enormously.

They never reveal the verses of Holy Quran in which it is declared that killing one person is tantamount to killing all of the persons in the view of Islam. They never tell their audiences that in the view of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it was even unlawful to kill a sparrow for the sake of entertainment. Hence will the mainstream media ever admit that they too share some responsibility in helping promote hatred towards Muslims?

Unfortunately, the public opinion in the West is unaware of the realities of Islam and Muslims. The media has the power to shape the public opinion one way or the other and expecting impartiality will never be considered as seeking a favour. In the words of Malcolm X “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power”

*(The author is Member, Advisory Committee, Airport Authority of India (NSC), Ministry of Civil Aviations, Government of India)

Myth or Reality?

Maher Arar in his article titled: “Media Bias Against Muslims:Myth or Reality?” writes: When it comes to judging whether there is bias against Muslims in the media look no further than to the latest press coverage regarding the terrorist attack that took place in Norway.

I have waited impatiently to read this act being explicitly described as a “terrorist attack” or an “act of terrorism” by the mainstream media.

To my disappointment, and after many media outlets pointed the finger at “Muslim terrorists” only within minutes of the attack, no single mention of the terrorist label was used to describe the attack (or the person who committed the attack) after it was revealed the perpetrator was not a Muslim.

Only recently few responsible journalists, such as Doug Saunders from the G&M, woke up to reality. I can’t of course claim that I have read all the media articles that were written about the incident. To do an exhaustive search would have taken me weeks, if not months.

Despite the fact that the alleged perpetrator of the attack was a Christian who is well known in Facebook circles, the religion, while mentioned in some articles, was never the focus. The attacker was rather described as a “far right-wing” extremist who is influenced by a “Neo-Nazi” type of ideology.

Never once the “Christian” label was used despite the fact that Mr. Breivik was a self-described devout Christian often comparing his “holy” mission to that of the Knights Templar, a group of warriors that formed the core of the Crusades who invaded Muslim lands during the 12th century.

To use the Christian label would of course be wrong as it is well established that Christianity, like Islam and Judaism, never condones acts of violence against innocent people.

But the important question is this: Why is it when the perpetrator of the terrorist act happens to be Muslim all of a sudden the religion becomes the focus instead? Terms such as “Islamic terrorism”, “Islamic extremism” or “Islamic fundamentalism” is often used to describe the ideology the killer adheres to.

If you have doubt about what I am writing just listen to this episode of The Current on CBC Radio and notice how the “Islamic terrorism” label and its derivatives is being used (between the 17th and the 21st minutes). In contrast, notice that the terrorism label (or one of its derivatives) was never used to describe the Norway attack (or attacker). Remember this is being uttered by a human rights activist who is supposed to be more careful about the use of these sensational terms!

In my opinion the public (including many activists !) got so much used to using these house-hold labels because they have been printed extensively on front pages almost on a daily basis.

Will the mainstream media admit they too share some responsibility in helping promote hatred towards Muslims?

The media has the power to shape the public opinion one way or the other. In the words of Malcolm X “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power”

How do you think the media should label Mr. Breivik? (Poll Closed)

Terrorist  66.04%

Killer  20.75%

Other:  13.21%


The US Media Biased against Muslims 

       Stephen B. in his article titled: The Western Media: Biased against Muslims?writes The reason that most people can not identify the media bias against Muslims comes from the fact that they really do not know any different. For a long time the major Western media outlets have been referring to anything Muslim as Muslim or Islamic when describing the person, organization, or country. When was the last time a country was identified as Catholic or Orthodox Christian?

The majority of people in the United States have come from a Christian or Catholic background so the term “Christian extremist” or “Catholic fundamentalist” would seem unbelievable. Even if there was something of that nature to make the news then it would gain cult status.

In San Angelo, Texas there was a group of Christian fundamentalist who have been given the name cult instead of being recognized as extremist like groups in the Middle East which have nearly the same oppressive views. The men had taken to polygamy and started marrying girls as soon as they reached puberty, but still no one in the mainstream Western media has called them extremists or fundamentalist.

Even when a Muslim American person commits an average, everyday crime that non-Muslim Americans commit constantly like theft or domestic violence the reports come out with the person being identified as Muslim. This is very common with race as much as it with religion, where a person that commits a crime will be identified as black or Hispanic, but if the criminal is white then the media will just say “a man/women robbed a bank today”. Really unless a non-Muslim person is clergy then no one would ever know their religion while being portrayed in the news.

The average American has been hearing this type of reporting for so long that it goes quite unnoticed to the untrained eye. Also, most of America takes on Christian values which help the media describe a person as foreign or different when reporting the story.

One more example of this Western media bias is in the conflicts that arise out of the Middle East and Eastern Europe. All sects of insurgents are recognized by their religious denomination, for example the Shia and Sunni.

Yet the American forces are not referred to as Christian or Catholic. Even Israel is excluded from this treatment instead of being referred to as Jewish. Serbia has also escaped being called Orthodox Christians during the conflicts with Kosovo.

Western media would not do this unless it grabbed the attention of viewers. It works so they work it. Unfortunately there are well to do Muslims that are not fundamentalist or extremist who get sucked into the negative stereotypes that define their religion in America. The image of planes flying into buildings is much too fresh in the minds of average Americans for them to accept anyone from that part of Earth.

The one thing about the Western media bias that goes unnoticed more than anything else is that it truly reflects what Western society is. Remember that the people in the media are mostly average Americans themselves who feel just like the rest of us. So when asked if the media is bias, one might also ask if society is bias as a result of the media or if the media is bias as a result of society.

What it’s like to be a Muslim in Boston

       Camille Dodero in her article titled:What it’s like to be a Muslim in Boston right now writes: When Anum Hussain heard about the Boston Marathon bombing, she immediately panicked, worried that the culprits would be like her.

The 22-year-old Muslim was in the offices of Hubspot, the Cambridge marketing-software company she works for. As her coworkers frantically rushed to call loved ones who’d been out watching the marathon that day, she was glued to the TV, fearing what she might learn about potential suspects.

“My heart was beating fast, just praying that this person didn’t turn out to be Muslim,” she recalled. “I knew that if they were, all hell was going to break loose.”

Her concern was warranted. That same afternoon, on the Boston subway, a second-year Muslim student at Northeastern University who wears a headscarf phoned her parents to report her safety; as she spoke to them in Arabic, a stranger pushed her so hard she fell to the ground.

Later, one of Anum’s male acquaintances, someone with brown skin, was riding the MBTA when he realized that he was weirdly alone—all the other passengers on his car had moved away from him, as if he was a threat.

Two mornings later in Malden, a town of about 60,000 that’s five miles away from Cambridge, a 26-year-old Syrian woman in a headscarf was walking down a main street, pushing her nine-month-old daughter in a stroller, when an angry man punched her in the shoulder, cursed “F##k you Muslims,” and screamed, “You are terrorists, you are the ones who made the Boston explosion.”

These incidents happened before two Muslim suspects had been identified, before anyone knew the names Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, even before the New York Post splashed two completely innocent brown “Bag Men” on the front cover.

As it was, not even two hours after the bombing, WorldNutDaily goon Erik Rush had been glibly lashing out at the Saudis on Twitter, then firing back at someone who asked if he was already blaming Muslims for the Marathon Bombing, “Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.” (“Sarcasm, idiot,” was how he later backed out.)

“We could all feel it coming,” said Hussain, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and first person in her extended family born in the United States. Growing up in Windham, N.H., among a local community of more than 100 others who shared her faith, she was was only 10 on September 11, 2001.

New England was the only home she’d ever known. So it was both confusing and upsetting when people started calling her “terrorist” at school, or when kids would make jokes about her “Uncle Saddam.” Or when, on a field trip, a student from another class told her to go back to own country. “That was the most confusing taunt,” she said. “This ismy country.”

summa cum laude graduate of Emerson College, Hussain is the regional director of Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament, a national non-profit that hosts annual faith-based challenges for high-school students of the Islamic faith.

(That’s her in the photo above, in pink, at a MIST event at MIT earlier this month; she doesn’t usually wear a headscarf.)

On the evening of the bombing, Hussain and her co-regional director released a joint statement to the 300-plus Massachusetts high-school students affiliated with MIST, proactively anticipating “comments of hatred” in the attack’s aftermath and urging the young Muslims not to let bullying affect them emotionally.

That same night, Hussain was commiserating with a half-Indian, half-German coworker—someone who isn’t Arab or Muslim, but had still been beat up after 9/11 for his looks and his exotic name—when they came up with the idea of making an ‘It Gets Better’-style video for people like them.

“We just thought, ‘Something needs to be done.’” Immediately, Hussain sent an email to her 600 Hubspot colleagues, pitching their support with the video, and within 24 hours, she raised over $1,500 from their network, hired a production guy, and found three people who’d faced anti-Muslim discrimination and were willing to be filmed.

One of those subjects is the Northeastern student, who, despite the stereotype of her headscarf, identifies as a die-hard Patriots fan. “That’s what we’re trying to get across,” confirmed Hussain.

“Regardless of what our background is, we all are Bostonians—no more, no less than any other Bostonian. We all feel the pain that Boston feels, we all feel the love that Boston feels, we all feel the pride that Boston feels and our religious or ethnic background doesn’t keep us from feeling that joy, pride, or sadness.”

And then, of course, the worst case scenario turned out to be true: the Tsarnaevs claimed to be Muslims. “We were incredibly disappointed,” said Hussain. “But it’s embedded in our faith and our teachings that killing is not permitted, so I personally do not consider these individuals to be actual followers of the Muslim faith, but rather some radical ideology that exists outside of Islam.”

Not everyone is enlightened enough to see such a distinction. On Friday, amid the public celebration on the Boston Common, many of Hussain’s friends and acquaintances decided that it would be safest to stay indoors. “It’s just sad that when an entire city is mourning, part of that population is not able to participate,” she said.

On Facebook, Hussain watched Muslim teens contemplate staying home from school on Monday, fearing harassment. Even Hussain has altered her routine since the bombing, taking a taxi home every night and asking the driver to drop her off directly in front of her apartment, rather than walking home alone.

“I don’t feel comfortable walking through my own city,” she admitted. “I’ve lived on the same four blocks of Boston, right off Boylston Street, for the last four years. And now, all the sudden, I’m afraid to walk them alone.” (HSH)






5. International News Agencies


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