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.
I refer to two issues in your Tuesday edition (02/10/07) that made for interesting reading: “Public transport lanes” and “The demerit system”. It goes without saying that both articles were long overdue, however the latter requires urgent implementation.
It appears that our roads have become like graveyards with the large number of accidents claiming lives daily as a result of reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. Many people have lost their lives due to incompetent, inconsiderate, reckless and just plain bad drivers.
The demerit system may help to curb dangerous driving, but together with that, vigilant policing is needed to bring the culprits to book.
Let it not be the normal run-off-the mill passing legislation with no one to monitor and police it. Numerous examples may be cited where legislation was passed (e.g. the wearing of seatbelts), but very little was and is being done to actually implement it. This could be due to a serious shortage of police officers or it could mean that the police are turning a blind eye to what they consider ‘petty’ offences. At the end of it all, it's the little offences that add to the bigger issues and failing at one end opens up the opportunity for numerous other offences and crimes at the other end.
It is high time that taxis especially used demarcated routes and only those lanes specified to them. Not many people have spoken out against the bad taxi drivers, but one imagines that a different set of driving laws should apply to them.
We are all South Africans and need to be treated equally.
I agree with what Manjoo stated about Pakistan making a request to the Cricket Board exempting play in the month of fasting. Pakistan being an Islamic country ought to have done so a long time ago.
Afridi was correct in excusing himself from the game due to this being the auspicious month of Ramadaan. His decision should not be construed as acting holier than his colleges who continue to play whilst fasting. There are so many things to consider about this month other than simply abstaining from food and drink.
The Article, "Mumbai Muslims claim they are being shunned" is an eye opener to the kind of discrimination against Muslims in many parts of the world. At one time, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, Muslims faced some very traumatising and humiliating experiences. Although the occurrence of such incidents is less frequent, the long term repercussions and this ‘Islamophobia’ continue to 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 but mere speculation. 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 very perpetrators of the war has been forthcoming. Therefore, one needs to be careful before making claims and rushing into conclusions which are later difficult to undo and remedy.
The emission of greenhouse gases being responsible for the unstable weather patterns experienced throughout the world has been a hot topic of discussion lately. In fact, there should be more debates of this kind and we need to spread awareness of the environmental crisis we find ourselves in.
To many, the issue may slip by as nothing that warrants great concern as long as we are breathing and are not as affected by the changing weather patterns that have caused havoc and left a trail of destruction in many countries. Surely it must be of great concern when snow is melting at such a fast rate that in about 20 years, it is predicted that the seas could rise to a height of seven meters. Natural disasters are becoming fiercer and more destructive, like the present flooding of several African countries.
According to experts, all this has something to do with the emission of gasses that are having an impact on the climate. Ultimately, God Almighty knows best.
The media still has the responsibility to educate and keep the public informed about the situation facing the global environment. It affects every one of us so we should all play a part in protecting our planet.
It is indeed shocking to read of a refugee crisis in Iraq now, after so many years of innocent killings and destruction that has left the country basically in pieces. How many more Iraqis are going to flee the country when more than half the population has been displaced and a little less than half either killed or maimed.
History has perhaps not witnessed carnage and destruction in the magnitude as witnessed in Iraq and the daily bombings continue. The situation of the country getting worse has far surpassed – the situation could not get worse than presently.
The article makes reference to Iraqis fleeing due to also 'other violence" - one needs to carefully analyze the situation of the entire run-up to the invasion of Iraq by the US and its allies – only to realize that a third force is involved in the friction between the Shias and sunnis which worked very well for the foreign invasion forces.
The poor Iraqi people have no option but to accept the current situation and orderly listen to the foreign forces otherwise there would be more bloodshed. As much as many Iraqis do not want foreign troops on their soil, however they (the foreigners) have created a mind-set of the people that their non presence will further wreck the country and cause total anarchy and a civil war.
Let us all pray, especially Muslims in this month of Ramadaan for peace and tranquility to shadow in that region.
I refer to the issue of "Honour Killings". It is understood from your article that "Honour Killings" are largely practiced by people of the Muslim faith. While some Muslims may be involved in this type of activity which, according to my reading and research, points out that the abhorred practice stems from family traditions mainly of people living in India and Pakistan.
To report that Muslims are largely involved in this activity is incorrect, because often articles appear in the Indian press (of India) reporting such unlawful behaviour. Many of these cases are not from the Muslim community. Hence, the article invariable portrays Muslims in a negative light and adds to a growing stereotype that Muslims are violent by nature.
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.