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 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.
I am responding to Zapiro's cartoon in the Cape Times. The argument made by him (and many others) about freedom of expression is indeed debilitating. Journalist and the media have often used this argument in defense of publishing opinions about religion. Strangely, this is often the case in religious matters; and more strangely, when views and opinions are expressed especially on Islam, well to Muslims, it's no coincidence.
I wonder how it would feel for one's living/deceased parents to be insulted or sworn at, in the name of freedom of expression, this is possible and there's nothing wrong with it. However, neither Zapiro nor anyone the like of him will dare do it. But why, because there's no likelihood to be sued when attacking a religion.
Please refrain from mocking at religion.
I am very much concerned with regard to the possibility that ‘freedom of religion’ enshrined in our constitution will be overlooked in cases where petitions are drawn up to oppose the building of a Muslim place of prayer (Mosque). Your article, ‘Uproar over proposed mosque’ gives me the impression that people are not kindly taking to the building of the place of worship in the Queensburgh district.
It is indeed sad to note the canvassing for signatures and some undesirable excuses made by a few local residents. As a non-resident, may I suggest for peace to prevail in the community, the residents through the respective religious groupings arrange a meeting and resolve the matter amicably. South Africa has come so far in abolishing and making good of the most detestable past, which shows our strength in resolving disputes.
Your front page reporting of children raping each other is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Some of the current activities of learners at schools are not much to be desired. This obviously cannot be attributed as blame to the schools and educators; it’s largely a social problem.
In the name of enjoyment, entertainment and pleasure, our children are growing into an advanced stage of modernization where parents have lost a great deal of control over their children. Parental advice and disciplining of children are probably things of the past. They have a mind of their own and do as they please. While we cannot squarely place the blame on any one particular aspect of life; however, since the introduction of the chat rooms, mxit, violent movies, etc. the situation has exacerbated to alarming proportions. The stabbings, assault, substance abuse of pupils and attacks on teachers is really out of control.
The general behavior and activities of many children is indeed disturbing. In fact a great deal of undesirable activities goes unnoticed which need to be checked and corrected immediately. It is hoped that parents and all caring South Africans find solutions to better the situation and lend their support in this direction.
The reality is that more than eighty percent of South Africans cannot afford private health care and therefore it is incumbent that the state provide basic health care.
It was indeed disturbing to learn in an article some weeks ago that newborn babies are sometimes kept to rest in cardboard boxes at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital – the world's biggest hospital. Latest report reads, “Minister Blames shortages” in the twist of babies dying at government hospitals in a deadly klebsiella outbreak. The Minister blames this to the lack of resources – well then the government must do something and dare not wait for another five babies to die before deciding to do something.
It is really time to reflect and the Department of Health clearly needs to take some action. In general, government hospitals by and large require an upgrade of facilities and equipment. Housing and health care should be top priorities: needless to say that to some extent the government has failed to deliver.
I was immensely perturbed by the incident in which a non-white family was humiliated by being forced to leave a 'Whites only' shower facility at one of the camping resorts in the Cape.
This type of discrimination is definitely not acceptable. It is a slap in the face to all South Africans who worked and fought relentlessly in the bitter struggle against apartheid.
This latest unfortunate incident reveals that apartheid is still alive in the hearts and minds of some South Africans, a decade after it was officially abolished. It is very sad to note that in this day and age South Africans have to witness racism when the majority of the oppressed people of this country have forgotten and forgiven the harsh past.
Though we are still a young democracy, a forgiving nation and a tolerant people, let this not be an excuse to turn a blind eye on the incident but rather ensure that appropriate measures are taken by the relevant authorities in dealing with the matter.
The Daily News
Education Minister, Naledi Pandor must be complimented for her deep insight and sensitivity with regard to her call for a ban on publishing matric results for public viewing.
Pupils with good results will obviously not object to public viewing but consideration must be made for those who perform poorly. One needs to be sensitive toward their feelings. Pandor's thoughtfulness towards this end is appreciated.
The young matriculants should be at ease and enter into their next phase of learning without being taunted and embarrassed by a low aggregate pass. They need to walk with confidence and embrace the challenges of their educational career in a positive way. Good luck to all.
The Daily News
Load Shedding - in the New South Africa.
With the re-opening of schools and industry in the New Year, frequent outages would be expected. Eskom and municipalities have given us warnings to ‘brace up’ for electricity cuts.
However, finding sufficient ways to resolve and overcome the problem needs to be explored and extensively discussed. The public may not fully understand the workings of the system but information from the providers of electricity might ease the very uncomfortable situation that exists.
It is intriguing to note that ‘load shedding’ and outages were not common in the past.
The respective departments must be sympathetic that people pay for services and if they default they bear the consequences.
The Daily News
Are we living 'Out' of 'Ages'?
The load shedding, outages, shortages, power-cuts, load-cuts, undercuts – call it whatever you want – it's taken a heavy toll on everyone – individuals, households and businesses. The complaints and remarks of almost everyone are echoed with a sense of frustration and deep seated anger.
I was wondering whether Eskom and the local municipality should consider controlled power cuts during the autumn and spring seasons – avoiding the hot summers when fans and air-conditioners are used extensively, and likewise in the winter months when electric heaters are used most.
May I also suggest that during the months when the load is most high that only alternate street lights are switched on. A similar programme can be implemented at recreational facilities, parks and public venues to save on electricity. Another consideration for the council is to implement a points system, i.e. those using a certain percentage of electricity will qualify for an uninterrupted power supply. This will motivate people to exercise restraint when consuming electricity.
The city of Durban needs to undergo a tremendous upliftment programme especially with regard to toilet facilities made available to the public. It was shocking to have read about the appalling and detoriating conditions of the so called public toilets in the city centre.
When money could be spent on the A5 grand prix and other events, likewise money should be spent on improving the basic amenities which is essentially part of the infrastructure of any place. It’s extremely difficult to find a public toilet in the CBD of Durban except for those recently installed, where the person’s face and feet are exposed to the public eye while urinating standing. This is grossly unsightly and of course unhygienic in terms of the overflow and stench as highlighted in your report. What do the poor females do in this part of the world?
It is surprising that the city health department who is normally active in combating health hazards have by-passed this one. While attention is focused on this, may I suggest that the Health Dept. also look into the standing water caused by the common washing of vehicles on the streets, at parking lots and taxi ranks? In many places, the tar has eroded due to the excessive flow and standing of water.
The authorities require to pay more attention to such calling needs. The building - and not simply placing the mobile toilets - is of utmost urgency.
Please allow me to respond to the MP's suggestion to "legalize prostitution for 2010". Some of the arguments put forward in favour of legalizing prostitution were (in my opinion) weak and flimsy.
To begin with, how can a person in the position of leadership suggest that an immoral act can become a means of success? The very act of women selling themselves is shameful and disgraceful. To say that it should be legalized "because people don't have access to women" is indeed immature and foolish. In other words, the MP is saying that if women are not "willingly" offering themselves then men should be encouraged to pay for their services.
Again, it is a feeble argument to say that with the legalization of prostitution, people would no longer "do things in the dark". The fact that they are doing it in the dark indicates that sex out of wedlock, fornication, adultery and illicit relationships are considered abhorrent and detestable by society as a whole. By legalizing this vile act, would this not then reduce the immorality associated with prostitution and normalise something originally considered to be underhanded?
Sex workers would bring in more tax money- does this mean that things that are immoral should be welcomed by society as long as they generate money? This would create jobs – let’s not say anything more about such a silly statement.
So before we support and promote the MPs suggestion, let us all first think very carefully about whether we want to inject more immorality and the wide spread of indecency into our society.