While this is an opinion piece, it is a bit disturbing that the Christian Science Monitor would even publish this. As Christians are being persecuted across the Islamic world, and the letter is full of misinformation, and demands from a Muslim. Whether CSM wants to admit it or not, Islam is at war with Christianity, and in no way should Christians help Muslims in the information war.
Islam and Muslims should not scare you
By Amjad Mahmood Khan / March 23, 2010
The image of American Muslims is in serious disrepair. A January 2010 Gallup poll found that almost half of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Islam. About the same number of Americans harbor personal prejudice toward Muslims, according to the poll.
These numbers become especially troubling when we consider that two-thirds of the Americans polled admit to knowing little to nothing about Islam.
Why are many Americans distrustful of a religion and people they know very little about?
People tend to fear what they do not understand. Americans, for the most part, have been brought up in a Christian society. They might not agree with it, but they are familiar with it and thus tend not to feel threatened by it.
Because Islam is still a minority religion in America and has had little positive public exposure, Americans have built up a strong distrust of it.
Islam deserves a media makeover. At a time when the United States is mired in two wars in locations where the majority of the people practice Islam, the future of American-Islamic relations is at stake.
Islam being a minority religion, has nothing to do with the distrust for it. That is one of the most ridiculous excuses yet. You are right though, Islam does deserve a media makeover. The MSM needs to stop protecting Islam. It deserves to be exposed for the hate filled religion/ideology that it is. It deserves no more respect than Nazism does.
The behavior of some radical self-proclaimed “Muslims” does not help public perception. Each time a terrorist commits a suicide bombing in a hospital, or a religious cleric issues a fatwa against Mickey Mouse, or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and 9/11, another American grows weary of Islam and Muslims.
Those familiar with Islam understand that these acts are not representative of the religion and shouldn’t be associated with mainstream Islam. The rest of the US does not.
Amjad, you are either lying like your religion encourages you to, or you ignorant to your own religion. Islam breeds terrorism.
Reporting the acts of a handful of radical Muslims as if they are accurate portrayals of Islam would be akin to intimating that every priest involved in a scandal accurately represented Roman Catholicism.
Now you use the old and tired excuse of it is just a “handful”. If it were just a “handful”, then why is the problem happening across the world? Those sicko Priests were not commanded by their religion to abuse kids. But Islam calls for perpetual war. So your comparison is invalid.
The behavior of ideologues who capitalize on ratings or attention from fueling the fire against Islam does not help US public perception, either.
Each time Pat Robertson refers to Muslims as “fascists,” or Ann Coulter calls Islam “a car-burning cult,” it may get ratings but, more than anything, it damages America’s perspective on Islam and Muslims.
In other words, you do not want people like Pat Robertson, speaking the truth about Islam.
Then there is the behavior of media pundits beholden to the 24-hour news cycle. Each time CNN runs a story on the self-proclaimed “Jihad Jane” or Fox News sounds off about Saudi women who can’t drive, without including an expert interview from someone who can clearly explain cultural context, another American grows weary of Islam and Muslims.
Again and again it plays out: An extremist commits an atrocity in Islam’s name; a non-Muslim ideologue typecasts the act as representative of Islam; and a media pundit cements the stereotype.
This vicious cycle must end if attitudes toward Islam and Muslims are to improve. Of course, it begins within Muslim communities and countering extremists with education, but education in the US is also required.
So obviously you want to dictate what the media can, and cannot say. If you want to have that power, you should really hookup with the Mullahs of Iran. They are very good at that, but here in America you have no say. Please stop with the “moderate” Muslim fantasy, that is just another Islamic con.
Americans deserve to hear a more accurate portrayal of a religion and people that account for a fifth of the world’s population.
Yes they do, and you will not give them the truth, that is obvious. The more Muslims that there are, the greater the threat is to non-Muslims.
Thousands of American Muslims are fighting gallantly to defend America in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They are not true Muslims, because if they were, they would not be siding with the infidel. A true Muslim attacked at Fort Hood. Iraq has turned in to a Christian persecuting country, and Afghanistan will always be an Islamic sewer.
The West (even the Vatican) praise the ethical principles behind Islamic banking services. There is a thriving literary and artistic tradition within Islam. For example, American Muslims have made remarkable contributions to such diverse fields as jazz (Yusuf Lateef), photojournalism (Adrees Latif) and miniature art (Saira Wasim).
Islamic banking was allowed here because of greed, and that was a mistake. The rest of your comment does not lower the threat of Islam at all.
Islam is host to moderate and vibrant minority communities. For example, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – a dynamic, fast-growing international revivalist movement within Islam – is America’s first Muslim organization (founded in 1920) and has vociferously denounced violent “jihad” as a grave sin.
The Ahmadiyyas get little respect, and they are pro-Sharia. No matter what they say, violent jihad is a part of Islam. Of course you do not tell us about the Shiites and Sunnis, which make up approximately 99% of the Islamic world. Both groups want to dominate non-Muslims. You are being very deceptive Amjad.
American Muslims collaborate with individuals of all faiths and traditions to improve their local communities on a regular basis. Here in Los Angeles, the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement at the University of Southern California has been at the forefront of promoting mutual understanding.
Yet all of this gets lost in a wave of negative headlines.
Interfaith dialogue with Muslims has been going on for centuries, it changes nothing. As the problem has now spread across country. It is nothing more than a stall tactic by Muslims. Do your interfaith buddies tells the Jews about this?
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
Extreme personalities have painted Islam with broad strokes, and much – though not all – of the media have allowed them to. This must change.
Whose burden is that? The news media bear the primary responsibility. Isn’t one of the main purposes of the media to empower citizens to make informed decisions concerning their democracy? Sensationalizing or even mischaracterizing incidents can greatly influence how citizens treat one another; it can also influence US policy.
By leaving out the full picture, the news media can ultimately inflame public outrage to such an extent as to facilitate ill-conceived legislation or engender popular vigilantism against American Muslims.
The full picture is that Islam is a much greater threat than the MSM makes it out to be. The media is not doing its job. The threat of Islam needs much more coverage. Some legislation that is needed is a bill to end all Muslim immigration, and another to officially ban Sharia Law. Then any Muslim that calls for Sharia shall be arrested and deported if possible. Sharia loving Muslims are to be looked upon as enemies of the state. Just as Nazis were.
To be sure, it is a difficult time in the US for journalism. In the 24/7 news and Internet age, newspapers and TV news stations fight for their survival by becoming as attractive to viewers as possible. But that doesn’t have to mean accuracy should suffer.
The solution is rather simple: The news media should make a concerted effort to get comments from American Muslims to help give context when reporting on Islam and the multitude of voices and movements within the religion. That way Americans will understand that most American Muslims are as aghast as they are every time there is a “jihad” against America.
What you are really saying is that you want the media to bring some more lying Muslims on, in an effort to whitewash Islam. Are you the official spokesman for the American Muslim community? Because I have never even heard of you before.
There are plenty of American Muslim journalists and commentators willing to help put the news in perspective. In order to repair the image of American Muslims and fix the misperception problem, the media must work harder to help make the unfamiliar feel familiar.
I bet that there are plenty of America Muslims that are willing to lie, and cover for Islam. What you fail to understand is that more and more of the country is catching on to game playing Muslims like yourself. We will counter your falsehoods, over and over. I will even be emailing you this post, and would like for you to explain to me in detail the “misperception problem”.
Amjad Mahmood Khan, a former editor in chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal, is an American Muslim attorney in Los Angeles.
Harvard, bought and paid for by the Saudis. No surprises here.