Nowadays, all we see on TV and read in the newspapers is associating Islam with Terrorism. This constant input of negativity leads to a shift in perceptions about Islam, not only among non-Muslims, but also within our Muslim community. Being confronted with all these comparisons that have no ground whatsoever can be very stressful, as we ourselves, know our belief and feel angry when listening to what is been said. It is not possible for us to change the news, however, what we can look at, is what we should start focusing our attention to. Speaking of myself, I often catch myself dwelling in anger and frustration over the picture, the media and people, who think they represent Islam, are giving us. I try to debate with people to convince them that Islam does not preach terrorism at all. However, I slowly start to miss the days where we did not need to justify ourselves for being Muslims, the days where people found a different religion interesting, rather than being scared of it, the days were Muslim countries impressed tourists and travellers with their amazing architecture, history and stories, rather than with news that tell us we bring ourselves in danger when we visit those countries.
I caught myself lately, while trying to book a holiday, that I subconsciously exclude places like Tunisia, Morocco or Oman as they are too close to dangerous places. Then I realised how much I am controlled by the media. We might not believe what it is been said, but a non-stop negativity towards something that we hold dearly to our hearts, in this case our religion, effects us subconsciously, as well. This is not to say that we should underestimate what happens around the world or ignore it. It is still important to make people around us aware of the wrong picture the media is giving about Islam as we need to defend what we believe in.
This is rather an appeal to ourselves to shift the attention, shift it as often as we can, and focus on the incredible beauty that was revealed to us in the holy Quran, the wisdom and perfect example of behaviour that was lived to us by our beloved Prophet (saw) and thousands of people of our community. I believe, it is important for us to constantly remind ourselves of this privilege we are given, to call ourselves Muslims, so that we find the strength to represent it in the way that people will not only hear about what Islam is through what we say, but also see and experience it through how we live. I believe, the only way of addressing people who are critical about Islam, is through showing them what Islam really teaches us by being one of these Muslims that support, care, help and give positivity to the world. People will, as a consequence, automatically see why Islam, under no circumstances, is equal to terrorism or any kind of violence.
We have to bear in mind, despite the anger and frustration we might feel about people, who just blindly follow and believe what the media is telling them, that those people normally do not come from an Islamic background and probably never read the Quran. They probably do not have any Muslim friends, or even contact to Muslims, and are often not even aware of the simplest teachings of Islam. Possibly all they know about Islam comes from the media and with that they build up a wrong and negative image. We have to understand that in most cases, they cannot be fully blamed for their beliefs and hate against Islam. The media used to be, and still is, a reliable source to millions of people. Only a few start to question the credibility of the media, as they start to see that Islam and other topics are being denigrated on purpose. With that bearing in mind, we can understand why it can be very difficult for people to find the way and the strength to question this source of information. We know that terror has nothing to do with Islam at all, but they cannot differentiate and can only believe what is been told to them, as they do not have the background that we might have.
I hope for myself, and all others, that we try not to be controlled by the media at all and that we try to focus on the beauty of Islam and how we can portrait that beautiful picture to everyone around us, who is struggling with wrong and delusive information from the media.