February 4, 2013
Like the unconformist, pretty grey person I am, I spent my Sunday morning and afternoon talking about the media portrayal of Muslim’s in general. Not to say it was in any way boring, I benefitted immensely from it, I’m so glad I went to the master class.
For many who didn’t go, considering I was the only girl in the whole group, I thought I’d share just a little about what I learnt. Oh, plus this is the first time I’m writing off my laptop, so be prepared for a long blog post. I’m about to try and condense six hours into one post, here goes nothing…
The first workshop we did was more of an overall base coverage of the various scopes of media, the types of media and who owns the actual media. The various aspects were in relation to how media can be perceived, for example whether it entertains, informs, instructs etc. Building upon this we branched out into how the various scopes of media can come in different forms. Such as TV, radio, newspapers, social sites etc. Finally we looked at the three main owners of the media itself and analysed the percentages of what they owned and the maximum control they hold over the UK’s press to date.
Within this workshop we were split into groups and instructed to write a mock headline and introduction paragraph in the form of British newspaper. As I was the only girl, I sat by myself and decided to work alone, not that I minded, the instructor’s were encouraging me to mix with the males, but you know, I’m not into free mixing.
Anyway, I was assigned a conservative, right-wing newspaper. I decided to base my mock article headline and paragraph on the film the ‘innocence of Muslims’, here is what i wrote,
Muslim Backlash Over ‘Innocence of Muslims’
A simple film has caused an outrageous protest amongst many Muslims, who feel the film to be offensive in some way. Thousand’s of Muslims took a stance outside the parliament to protest the portrayal of this film, which was perceived to be extremely biased against Muslims and their beliefs.
Little did I know, we were expected to read what we had written out loud, just my luck that I was chosen to go first. I read what I had written and the others seemed pleasantly surprised that an eighteen year old could think on her feet that quick. The instructor even praised me, suggesting I should become a journalist and deemed my little paragraph ‘ten out of ten’. Of course I don’t think he was being patronising, but rather telling the truth (or maybe I’m accepting his comment because it was a compliment to me?)
We then went on to the meaty content. I mean, discussing what the media is, that’s just bread and butter, what we all came for was to discuss how often Muslims are mentioned and how often they are criticised within the press. Looking at various alarming statistics, it’s fair to suggest that with evidence of research, there has been a significant increase on the mention of Islam and Muslims since after 9/11.
Of course I know many non-muslims have the perception that Muslims are terrorists due to this incident and so forth. I don’t really want to get into the knitty gritty of that issue because that’s not what I’m discussing. Only Allah knows what happened, and we shall surely find out on the day of judgement. But basically, since after 2001, there has been a shocking increase of negative media and a certain stigma stereotype attached to any akh’s with beards or ukht’s in niqabs.
We looked at various articles and came to the conclusion that the press write this kind of rubbish to make money and sell their mediums. I’m being careful not to mention any specific names or companies within this article because I don’t want it to come back and bite me. I know this is a blog, freedom of speech is allowed but I’d rather not make anyone reading bias to the media they perceive.
Looking at the most common words used next to Islam was ‘terrorist’. We didn’t exactly discuss this but I just have to say my point. HOW ARE MUSLIMS TERRORISTS?! Islam in no form promotes violence, spring any Qur’anic quotes at me and I’m sure you will find that whatever you perceive to be ‘promoting violence’ is taken out of context. I mean, have you read the Qur’an?
It’s beautiful lexis is so overwhelming I sometimes find myself crying at how merciful Allah is to his servants. Although I’m still working through my English translation, I recommend you read the Qur’an in a language you can understand in-shaa-Allah.
Okay, so I got a little sidetracked there. The fifth workshop consisted of information of how we can contact our local MPs with regards to the Leveson report. I don’t want to go into too much detail about this because it’s accessible to read so please do so if you wish. If the points mentioned in this report were to be actioned, we can hope that any offence, racism, inequality, injustice, negative stereotypes etc would be challenged and stopped with regards to religious concerns.
We did a whole bunch more, but since I don’t think I’m benefiting you a lot by writing drabs, please leave me a comment and I’ll give you details about the company the masterclass was with, where you can attend one etc. I hope you leant a little through this post in-shaa-Allah. May Allah give this ummah the strength to over come any troubles we face in-shaa-Allah.
Oh and always remember,
Allah does not change the condition of people until they change what is in themselves (13:11)
So, don’t just be one of those who sit back and complain that the media is always negative, be pro-active and raise awareness! Contact your local papers, let them know what Islam is about. Negativity arises from ignorance, so spreading dawah will enlighten those around you in-shaa-Allah.
As always, remember me and my family in your dua’s in-shaa-Allah. Jazakhallah Khair for reading. Allahafiz sisters and brothers.