Some time back I saw a Tamil movie where 3 robbers intended to kidnap a rich man’s son for ransom. The three in their wise way decided that they will not use their names but to refer to the three as Mr A, Mr B, and Mr C. Well, Mr C gets sick and they had to bring in a substitute, called Mr D, but after realising there was no Mr C, allotted Mr D the title. There was a lot of hilarity when the alphabets got mixed up and all viewers had a good laugh.
I had another good laugh today at the antiques of one Dr Haja Mohideen Mohamed Ali, a lecturer from the Communications Department of International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM).
I respect Muslim scholars and Dr Haja must be one. He must have gone through various phases of his study to reach his present position, but in the eyes of my old English teachers, he would be told “speak to the point, don’t pad your arguments.”
Basically what he wanted to convey was simple and straight forward. What he and the other Indonesian lecturer wanted to say was:
“He said, when a negative act was done by non-Muslims, the media did not label their act by their religion but only focused on their act alone unlike Muslims’ negative acts, where they are always associated with the religion they profess.
He said the media should give a neutral representation of Muslims by not giving any reference to the doers of the act, rather by referring to the act itself.”
Get the drift. Corruption, rape, sodomy, murder, khalwat, incest, adultery, stealing, robbery, and what have you, in all such cases if it is a Muslim, one should not mention who committed the crime.
Take the latest alleged sodomy case. Mr A sodomised Mr B. Then Islam is not vilified and not brought to shame. Or to be more dramatic, a masked man in pink sodomised a masked man in violet. How exciting.
Carrying it a bit far, in the court all Muslims are referred to in alphabets, For example if you two are with the same A1 A2 solves the problem. The idea is anonymity.
A couple are caught for khalwat, no names here, a man and a woman were caught for close proximity. Only a fool in Malaysia will not know both are Muslims. A lot of rituals in Islam is exclusive to the religion, even without names the identity is known.
Seven other countries attended the International conference, what message are they taking back, only Dr Haja knows.
I don’t want my readers to think I am biased but rather call a spade a spade whatever the religion is. These religious bigots must spend more time teaching Muslims the ills of wrong action, rather than sweeping it under the carpet.
Malaysia Today has something on two Muhammad’s in his name, please read it.
Call To Media To Stop Portraying Islam, Muslims Negatively
KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 (Bernama) — The media must give fair coverage and balanced representation on Islam and Muslims in reporting conflicts involving Islam and Muslims, said Dr Haja Mohideen Mohamed Ali, a lecturer from the Communications Department of International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM).
He said distinctive choice of words, phrases and terminology used by the media in reporting on Islam and issues concerning Muslims could have a negative impact on the perception of Islam and its followers by the global public.
“Some of the media are responsible, they like to look things from a proper perspective but a lack of understanding of Islam and Muslims cause them to use negative terms when reporting on the religion and Muslims,” he said when presenting his paper “Linguistic (MIS)Representation of Islam and Muslims in Conflicts Reporting in the Print Media” at the International Conference on the Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Media here, Tuesday.
Haja Mohideen said the misrepresentation of Muslims could also be found in the media from Muslim countries, although at a smaller scale compared to the media from the West.
His views was shared by another scholar, Dr Zulkarimein Nasution, a lecturer from the Communications Department of the University of Indonesia.
Zulkarimein said bias against an ethnic or religious group such as Muslims in the mass media had negative impacts on peoples beliefs and perceptions and that the best approach to minimise the effects was through education.
“The public, especially the younger generation, should be taught how to analyse the mass media. They should be made aware that the representations made by the media are not always appropriate, and that what they see or hear in the mass media is not always the reality,” he said.
He said, when a negative act was done by non-Muslims, the media did not label their act by their religion but only focused on their act alone unlike Muslims’ negative acts, where they are always associated with the religion they profess.
He said the media should give a neutral representation of Muslims by not giving any reference to the doers of the act, rather by referring to the act itself.
More than 27 communications scholars from Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Canada, Qatar, Indonesia, the United States and United Arab Emirates are participating in the two-day conference which ends tomorrow. The conference is organised by IIUM.