The Media Desk contributes local, national and international news articles for the website and also focuses on news content of the Muslim world. etters commenting on broad issues are also regularly sent to the editors of newspapers Below are a few letters which were sent by the Media Desk and published in newspapers. Bias and negative reporting against Islam has become a very real phenomenon in the media, especially in the international press.
The Darul Ihsan Media Desk primarily monitors the media for Islamaphobic (anti-Islamic) comments and anti-Islamic sentiments made in the mainstream media and interacts positively with media portals conveying the Islamic perspective.
The article, "Mumbai Muslims claim they are being shunned" is an eye opener to the kind of discrimination meted out to Muslims in some parts of the world. At one time, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, Muslims faced humiliating experiences. Although the occurrence of such incidents has decreased, the long term effects linger in the air.
Of course in India, the fear of attacks by "Muslims" is often on the minds of the local people. One needs to understand that in order to create animosity and hatred between two religious groups especially the Muslims and Hindus, a simple way is to squarely place the blame on Muslim extremists even though there is no evidence whatsoever. Let's take the example of Iraq, after so much of blame and the destruction of an entire nation, no evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction by the perpetrators of the war has been forthcoming. Therefore, one needs to be careful before making claims and rushing to conclusions, which later on become difficult to remedy.
The desecration of the Quran – the Last Testament sent to mankind through the last messenger of God Almighty – Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), must be seen as a serious crime against Islam and the entire Muslim world.
Muslims are expected to be tolerant and allow such heinous acts and diabolical behavior to continue, more so in a country where the population is majority Muslims. The desecration of the Quran by foreigners (non-Muslims) is an on-going campaign to demean and provoke Muslims to become agitated and respond so that the foreigners may have some excuse to retaliate and thereupon Muslims are labeled as terrorist and violent. There have been many incidents reported of utter disrespect to the Quran especially by US soldiers as reported in your Oct. 15 edition. Only a few days back, once again at the notorious Gauntonoma Bay prison, US soldiers were suspected to have desecrated the Quran by tearing, trampling on it and then flushing it down the toilet. Indeed a shameful and most disgusting behavior especially by soldiers of a country that boasts having the highest morals and ethics. Least to mention the terrible things that were reported inside Iraq – despite all this – Muslims must be tolerant.
Come on – let us respect each others religion.
The Daily News
South Africa may be a rich country in terms of its natural resources, excellent weather and overall beauty. However, the number of South Africans living below the poverty line is a matter of great concern.
The article "Poverty Trap Persists" is probably the tip of the iceberg informing the people about the poverty that exists in our midst. Indeed our hearts bleed to read and learn of the appalling conditions and extreme poverty our countrymen are experiencing while others are enjoying living a life of opulence. Of course one cannot condemn the rich for their wealth having earned it through their hard efforts. Equally, as South Africans we should not forget our fellow human beings suffering the pangs of hunger, caused by the high rate of unemployment, rising inflation and insufficient opportunities for the less privileged.
It's never too late to share ideas in uplifting our communities for a better and brighter future.
The Daily News
I was dumbfounded to read about the shop in Dundee that has two separate entrances for its white and black customers.
During the apartheid era this kind of thing was not unheard of, as there were all sorts of unjust and cruel apartheid laws, which created years of animosity and mountains of hatred.
But today, this kind of segregation is beyond one's imagination. Come a decade after the abolishment of apartheid, this type of racist behaviour by South Africans is unacceptable.
The overall progress made by the country in terms of overcoming its terrible past indeed deserves much praise. Those who survived the oppression and witnessed the many torments at the hands of the apartheid regime must be complemented for their extreme patience both then and with the new dispensation.
Please allow me to make my point via your newspaper. It is my view that newspapers in particular should be extremely cautious and sensitive with regard to the exposure of females whether it is an advert or news article. One reason being that while we encourage our children to read extensively to improve on the language and generally newspapers are a source of information, the extent of nudity in some newspapers prevents parents from allowing their children to look at these newspapers. In some instances, parents were caught in an embarrassing situation, parent/child to have opened to the page wherein this almost naked picture is displayed – what is the parent/child suppose to?
My view is not based on some extremists' opinion and hope this is not misconstrued. Surely we all would like our children to benefit from the wealth of information carried in the newspapers and therefore I would urge your paper to seriously consider my viewpoint.
Outages are here to stay, Eskom says - hail or sunshine. This blatant message is the latest news headline in South Africa media.
Obviously this message will be a blow to the economy. Loss of production and trading in shopping centres is a huge burden on any developing market. Ironically South Africans have never experienced such shortages in the past, so why now? Therefore, being new to us, we will have to adapt to this new lifestyle of frequent blackouts and interruptions.
However if shortages are here to stay then it should be fairly distributed in the sense that all citizens living in all areas should share the shortages equally. Without being prejudiced, I suggest Eskom concentrate on providing a full supply of electricity locally before expanding into neighbouring courtiers.
The Daily News
I refer to the article "Savage Dogs Return" which leaves me with the impression that dangerous dogs are better living creatures than human beings. Disgusting as it may sound but the reality of the matter is that little has been done to reprimand the owner of the dog who is now free to enjoy the company of his dogs once more.
A young boy has been mauled and is in a state of initial recovery from a traumatising experience that may remain with him for the rest of his life. Yet the owner is free to bring back these vicious dogs into the easy reach of the public and endanger other humans. Don't we have some sense of feeling for the little child and the public at large? Surely the SPCA/SAPS have some law or regulation to protect the public. Surely the owner can think for himself without actually being told or guided by the law to do the right thing and risk the lives of others by housing these maulers in the neighbourhood.
I am not making particular reference to this case but generalizing about incidents such as this that we often read about in local newspapers. Furthermore it is time that the government introduce special laws with regard to housing dogs that are generally vicious by nature.
The Daily News
I was dumbfounded to read about the shop in Dundee to have two entrances: one for white customers and another for black customers.
Even during the apartheid era this was probably unheard of. This kind of segregation is beyond one's imagination. Yes there were all sorts of unjust and cruel apartheid laws which created years of animosity and mountains of hatred.
Come a decade after the abolishment of apartheid, this type of racist behaviour is totally unacceptable. The progress made by the country overall in terms of overcoming the terrible past is indeed praiseworthy. The oppressed people that once lived to see through the torments of the apartheid era must be complemented for their extreme patience after the new dispensation. Therefore all South Africans carrying the country’s flag of integration don’t deserve this type of unjust and inhumane behaviour.
So little has been said about children watching violent TV shows, movies and cartoons yet so much is shown on the screens. Ironically, the screening continues despite growing awareness about the effects this type of programming can have on children.
I refer to the article, "cartoons can cause aggression", which conveys an early warning to parents in exercising caution in allowing children to watch cartoons especially violent ones. As the report suggests, children display aggression and become disobedient after having watched violent scenes. In fact children have grown worse than what has been spoken off in the article. Indeed a very pitiful state. Other reports suggest that children watching TV have become obsessed and glued to the T V and become dull in their thinking - lacking in using their intellect. Obesity is another growing concern. Children have shown signs of violent behaviour, addiction, insecurity, abuse, rape etc.
In general, television has lost its educational ability and influence, and the one time source of information. People are opting to play games and view movies, videos, etc. Its basically become a home cinema.
The Daily News
Teachers stabbed and sometimes murdered by pupils of a school, and pupils stabbed fatally wounding their classmates are some crimes committed frequently in our schools.
The stabbing of teachers and pupils on the school grounds in the past year has reached alarming levels, and schools have become easy targets for the lucrative drug industry, which is the bane of all parents.
At one time our schools were role models to overseas schools with a strong ethos and a high standard of discipline.
Today we have lost a great deal of our value systems and slumped to a zero level of discipline - indeed a great loss to the future generations and leaders of tomorrow.
However it is never too late to make-up for the lost time. We need to work vigorously to improve the present situation and work towards a better and brighter future for our children.
So let us all - parents, pupils and teachers - lend a helping hand to achieve a better education and schooling.
The worst thing that could happen right now is for the fires of hatred and opposition to be fanned in the wake of the coming ANC election. The media have a great role to play in easing and calming the situation.
I am specifically referring to your Friday’s edition in which the first page states: “It’s war” and “Zuma clobbers president in poll”. Exactly, words of this kind could create opposition. While no one can deny the tension within the ANC, caused by the leadership race, but we should be careful not to fuel the fire, and instead assist in reducing tension and helping people to think about nation-building, and support the idea of unification.
The world, especially Africa has seen too many conflicts that have resulted in untold misery and decades of conflict has left African nations disadvantaged. Not only were countries ruined, but millions of innocent lives were lost and many were displaced. Let us encourage our leaders to unite under one platform for the sake of our beautiful country and wonderful people.
With reference to the article, “Stem cells will be a leap for mankind”, the speed in which man is moving – all in the name of progress and advancement is beyond our imagination. The technological advancement in every field is never the same on any given day; progress is made by the minute.
The issue about disturbing nature, again in the name of progress, scientists are exploring areas of extreme sensitivity and largely outside the parameters of religion. For example, cloning is regarded by many as unnatural and irreligious, hence man is delving in the work of the Creator and that to many people is unacceptable.
The other issue that is over emphasised is the improvement of everything with regard to the human being except character and the ethical dimension of man. Very little is been done to improve on modesty, respect, conduct, mannerism, etc., which is central to man. In fact, evil and illicit behaviour such as murder, rape, abuse, fraud, etc. has become prevalent and the order of the day world over.
Some deep thought need to be given in this regard and we need to wake-up to our real interest in life rather than concentrate on progress and advancement while the behaviour of man is sliding into a pit of total darkness.
The Daily News
Violent crimes have not been sufficiently addressed by the government. We, as ordinary citizens are still in the dark in terms of the government’s plans combating crime that has spiraled out of control.
The recent shooting, robberies and killings in the Hillcrest and PMBurg areas as reported in last week’s paper, gives me the impression that the worst is still to come. My sense of feeling is that very little is been done from the side of the police and the government. We are basically talking of loss of lives and not just loss of material things. Innocent lives are daily lost, only to be recorded as a statistic. Indeed a very sad day for South Africa.
Crime is robbing the country of investments and stability in the economy. In addition, the number of skilled and professional people leaving the country owing to the crime rate is of concern, and the government must take cognizance of this point and deal with it urgently. Finally, admittedly crime has gripped our lives to such an extent that we live in fear all the time.
I refer to Thomas Friedman’s article on the recent visit of the King of Saudi Arabia to the Vatican. To some the visit may be seen as a political move, others may condemn it and some may regard it as historic – where no Muslim Head of State officially visited the heart of Christianity.
Please allow me to comment on two issues. The first one, as Mr Thomas suggests that the Pope be granted a “visa” entry into the Holy city of Makkah (commonly incorrectly spelt as Mecca). One needs to understand that entry into the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah is largely restricted to Muslims only – this is simply an order according to Islam. The non permissibility has nothing to do with the disrespect shown to other faiths or intolerance towards other people and their beliefs. Muslims too have to follow a special procedure before entering the city of Makkah by donning the Ihraam (unsewn cloth for men only) otherwise entry into the city is prohibited. Hence, it would be unfair and incorrect to pass comments without proper information about Islamic teachings. In fact, by understanding another religion’s value system is respect and tolerance as so often heard and spoken of in the media.
The second issue I wish to raise is the all “embracing" and “diversity” that we should be following. Sure, we all should embrace each other in things of commonality and not abuse the term in stating that we join hands in everything we do because that may be impractical.
I was rather disgusted having read about the pig being paraded by one of Italy’s former ministers around a planned mosque site in Rome. There was really no need to provoke and create a tense situation between Muslims and the local community.
It is expected of Muslims to generally remain calm and silent at the behest of being trampled upon and scoffed at. As one can witness from this incident that some people are hell-bent in creating religious divisions and animosity to the extent where Muslims and Islam would be labeled as violent and terrorist. It is indeed very sad to witness the kind of hatred vented on the Muslim community world over. In response to this, how Muslims’ should react; and usually the reaction is amicable and positive, but however amicable it may be, Muslims are still targeted and branded as violent and aggressive.
However, I hope such provocation is avoided in the future.
I particularly refer to your article, “ANC succession battle is not helping KZN”. In order to avoid any tension between the Mbeki camp and the Zuma camp, the media should extensively and widely as possible indoctrinate a firm message to the masses that whoever is chosen as the ANC leader, the people of South Africa would respect and accept the elected person.
While KZN may be more inclined towards Zuma, that preference should not in any way be a threat to the other side, and similarly, if for example, Gauteng prefers Mbeki, then so be it. The people should aim looking at the bigger picture, and that is the smooth governance of the country. By all means express your leadership choice but accept the leadership after the ANC election without kicking up a fuss and causing dissent among the people.
The media needs to be positive in its reporting leading to the upcoming conference and as far as possible avoid negative reporting.