Islam: Let's Tell The Story
There has recently been a surge in the number of TV programs, around the topic of Islam and Muslims being aired by the British mainstream media. From social experiment shows, like ‘Make Bradford British’, to historical documentaries, like ‘The Life of Muhammad’ and the more recent controversial documentary, ‘Islam: The Untold Story’, Muslims, and thus Islam, have been getting their “fair” share in the media spotlight.
'Islam: The Untold story', a documentary by Historian Tom Holland, has caused much commotion within the Muslim community. Provoking 1200 complaints from the public, it was not received well by British Muslims for its implication that the historical events believed to be accurate by Muslims worldwide, are in fact riddled with ambiguity, conjecture and lack of evidence.
Within a day however, the integrity and validity of the program had been ardently challenged and its flagrant bias perspective had been exposed. IERA (Islamic Education and Research Academy) published a press release with a compelling and factually strong rebuttal of the “facts” presented by Tom, in which the author proceeds to systematically dismantle Tom’s arguments, reducing them to a collation of fallacious drivel. Was this response too little too late though? Had Tom’s weak and fragmented theory already brainwashed the minds of the average viewer? The question is what percentage of the public that watched the program bothered to then conduct their own research, read reviews and possibly stumble across IERA’s rebuttal?
The phenomenon of the mass media, fortunately or unfortunately, is it doesn’t actually matter what the truth is; the majority of people will blindly accept what they are told by someone they perceive to be “educated”. Nor will they make the effort to research and question the information presented to them. The idea however, has already been established and ingrained into their beliefs and if some other piece of information happens to challenge that, then they will contest it no matter how logical the argument sounds.
So, what is the solution? I am not suggesting Muslims adopt a defeatist attitude and cease to contest the lies invented against them and their faith. We must contest any lies, the method by which we do this however, has to be constructively scrutinized, in order for us to enhance our success.
Instead of blaming the media, we need to become the media. Where are the Muslim historians producing their documentaries on Islam? A fine example was the three part documentary ‘The Life of Muhammad’ presented by Rageh Omaar and directed and produced by Faris Kermani, in which viewers were given an insight into who Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was and what his achievements were. More programs like this need to be produced, so the public can begin to understand Islam and Muslims. This serves a very important purpose of familiarising the nation with our ideologies, for people fear what they do not understand.
So, why the deficiency of Muslims in the media industry? It’s because the media is owned by the Zionists, I hear you say. Yes, maybe the mainstream media is owned by certain individuals who are adamant on defacing Muslims, but is that reason enough to not attempt to spread the truth about Islam?
The reason there are not enough Muslims in media or politics is that we are too focused on raising our children to have Mercedes Benz cars and 5 bedroom detached houses with huge back gardens as standard. The aftermath of these desires is an inclination towards pushing our children into “safe” careers, such as doctors and accountants, rather than promoting humanitarian subjects such as History, Media and Politics.
There are many non-Muslim activists that have used their expertise to spread their message. Take Peter Joseph for example, producer of The Zeitgeist documentary trilogy. The first in the sequel was viewed by over 20 million people – all without any mainstream media advertising. The movie focuses on the reasons for the global economic crisis and provides an alternative to the current economic model in place; it has been said to be the instigator of a paradigm shift. Where are the Muslim film makers producing documentaries providing their solutions for the economic crisis? Where are the Muslim film makers producing documentaries on the Bosnian Genocide or the plight of the Kashmiri or Palestinian people? It is extraordinary to find that the documentaries that have been made to raise awareness of the oppression of Muslims, have been produced by non-Muslims.
It is time for a radical change in how we raise the Muslim youth. We need a complete transition in the values that we instil into our children. Instead of teaching them to pursue a career in a profession that will provide them with the “American dream”, we need to teach them to pursue careers in which they can make changes for the betterment of mankind. At this crucial time in history, where people across the world are demanding change, we need Muslims to present them with the alternative, that is Islam. Instead of teaching our children the value of money, we need to start teaching them the value of justice.