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As the grand finale of their Jihad Week, the MSSN UCH Branch held a symposium last week, titled ”The media and the muslims”, the lectures were delivered by professionals in journalism. Even though I arrived quite late, I was quitefascinated with this topic.

The first thing I saw as I entered the Paul Hendricks Lecture Theatre was the sparse population in the Hall. I kept asking my friend where the UCH ummah went, they alone would almost fill up the Hall. It bothers me how the ummah does not appropriately appreciate discussions like this. Even if a person knows enough about a topic, additional information wouldn’t hurt, right? I know there may be excuses for the absence of many but when I think of the Christians having such a programme, I see a fuller hall and this is not just because of their higher population but because of their zeal.

If anyone wanted to be truly informed about Islam and he relied totally on the media, he would be totally misinformed. The media is not a good source of information on Islam,only a few times do you get the right kind of information. This is quite expected since the major controllers of the media are non-muslims. Whether print, electronic or the internet, the world is plagued with many people who degrade Islam, promote Islamophobia, denigrate Islam and do not care less what it means to be tolerant and respect one other’s religion.

The word Jihad is popularly misinterpreted and despite the number of times it has been corrected, journalists still prefer to use it in a way that misconstrues the meaning. It would interest you to know that the word crusade is not misconstrued that way even though it was historically used during the time the medieval Christians went on a rampage to clear Muslims off Jerusalem and the other lands around it. They injured, killed and committed other atrocities during the crusade,further use of the word connotes such

meaning and should be scarier than jihad, yet Christians throw it about a lot.

As the first journalist said, “Silence no more”, it is time high time we started to talk. Keeping quiet in the face of injustice is not the behavior of a muslim, the prophet said we should change a wrong thing with our hand, if we can’t then with our mouth and if we can’t do that,then at the very least in our heart and that is the weakest of faith.

We all need to start talking, we all need to increase our knowledge, know a lot about our deen and ask questions from the right people. Any part of the religion that is not understood should be asked as this is what the non-muslims use against us most. We should be strong and defend what is right. One of the ethics of journalism is to be truthful and objective, even in reporting NEWS that doesn’t quite support what you believe, report it truthfully and objectively, then you may write an article on your own viewpoint. Do not, in an attempt to get back at others report things untruthfully or in a biased manner, just because others are doing so does not mean you should, remember you are a muslim.

You’ve heard many times that the pen is mightier than the sword, but if the pen is not wielded then it has no power at all. A writer has the power to change the beliefs, perception and ideas of people, he can do this positively or negatively depending on what he writes. As muslims, we have the duty of disseminating the right information about our deen to the muslims and we can do this effectively through the media.

We should represent ourselves well and be armed with the right kind of knowledge to defend ourselves and our religion. We need to spend our money in the path of Allah, we can do this by sponsoring Islamic programmes, buying and distributing books, making little pamphlets and handbills, lectures, articles in Newspapers etc. Freedom of religion is a human right and nobody should take that from anyone. Muslims, it is time to be “silent, no more”.

Salam alaykumwarahmatulllahwabarakatuh

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