How is Terrorism and the religion Islam related? why these two terms are always connected together in some way? is Islam really a religion of peace? does it support terrorists acts? you will know more by reading this essay.
For a long time, terrorism has been the main attraction on news channels around the world. Horrible images of people doing terrible things in the name of God. Some non-Muslims might mistakenly believe that Islamic beliefs supports terrorism, but this is not true. Most Muslims are just as shocked by the inhumane acts that terrorist do in the name of religion. However, the world mistakenly believes that most Muslims support what the terrorist are doing. The Holy Quran does not support violence as a solution. The Quran clearly teaches that Muslims should promote peace and prohibits Muslims from participating in “terrorist” acts; especially against innocent people. Actually, the western media’s obsession with stories about terrorism is the main reason why “terrorism” exists. Moreover, terrorist acts are not only carried out by Muslims, but also by many other political groups around the world; however, these other groups do not receive as much media attention, as the Islamist terrorists do. Regardless of what the media says, most “real” Muslims are just as much against terrorism as westerners. Therefore, the idea that Islamic beliefs support terrorist activities has been misinterpreted in western society due to misleading information in the media.
The Holy Quran does not support violence. The Quran clearly states that such violent acts like those carried out by “terrorist” are strictly forbidden. The Quran teaches Muslims that they should live in peace, respect the beliefs of others, to fight only if attacked, and to never involve innocent people. Most non Muslims might find that hard to believe, but this is a fact. Many of the teachings in the Quran are misunderstood by non Muslims, because they have never read it. For example, some westerns believe that the word “Jihad” means “Holy War”. Therefore, since the Quran mentions “Jihad” they believe the Quran supports it violent conflicts. “Jihad” actually means, “Struggle”; to struggle against the temptations which cause us to do bad things against others. When the Prophet Mohammed was asked about the meaning of “Jihad”, he said, “It was the struggle “against oneself.” (Hadith) Therefore, the word “Jihad” can be interpreted as “self refinement”, which is an idea that all religions teach. In addition, the armed struggle which is mentioned in the Quran is not “Jihad”, but “Qital.” For a “Qital” to be justified it must follow many strict rules which cannot be seen in the actions of the “terrorist” that the western media features so often. Therefore, the terrorist’s war is not justified according to the Quran. One of the rules that must be met is that women, children, and old people must not be harmed during armed conflict (Quran 2:190). This is evidence that those would claim to be fighting a “Jihad” are mistaken, because the Prophet Mohammed said that these rules must be followed strictly. Therefore, the actions of “terrorist” should not be attributed to all Muslims, but to a few with a misguided political ideology against the West.
The western media’s focus on “terrorism” is the main reason why terrorism exists. Walter Zeev Laqueur, an American historian and political commentator, said, “the media are the terrorist’s best friend….the terrorists’ act by itself is nothing, publicity is everything.” (Harpers Bazaar 1976; p104(http://cscc.scu.edu/trends/v21/v21_1.pdf ) The acts of terrorists are meant to create fear in the people, and without the medias’ help they would be unsuccessful, because no one would pay attention to them. Armed struggle by a small group against a large, well armed, one has been a part of history for thousands of years. The only difference today is that these often inhumane acts can be seen by people all over the world almost instantly because of the media coverage. The media coverage is what the “terrorist” want, and the media is very happy to assist them; because the public’s concern with “terrorism” helps the TV stations to get more viewers. The terrorists understand the power the voice of the public has in western countries, so they hope to use this “public voice” to help put political pressure on the governments they are fighting against. Therefore, the more vicious the attack, the more shocking it will be for the public viewers; the main objective of terrorism. The success of terrorist acts is often measured by how much media coverage they receive. The western media should realize how they are being used by the “terrorist” and stop supporting them by giving them media coverage. Ex British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher said, “Democracies must find a ways to starve the terrorist from the oxygen of publicity on which they depend” (New York Times article 1985). By cutting terrorist off from media access to the foreign public will reduce the effectiveness of their actions, and possibly make terrorism a useless tool.
There are so many acts of terrorism that happen around the world, but the western media pays special attention to only those which are committed by Islamist terrorist. Every night on the TV news, stories about various acts of terrorism committed by misguided Muslims are broadcasted. However, very little can be heard about the terrorist acts which are committed by many other non Muslim organizations. Groups like FARC; a Colombian paramilitary organization, ETA; a Spanish separatist group, and the Aryan Nation; a white supremacist group in the US, have been very active in recent years, but received less media coverage that Islamist terrorist. It was just a few months ago that a Norwegian man, Anders Behring Breivik, killed dozens of innocent children and bombed several buildings, however, it appears that he is no longer a big news story, nor was he called a “terrorist”. In addition, when the bombs first when off in Norway, the media were quick to blame Islamist terrorist. Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor at the Observer said, “ a jihadist group is most likely to be behind the blast.” (The Guardian July, 2011) (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/jul/22/oslo-explosion-live-coverage )This was said before any details about the attack were released; an assumption based on a stereotype of Muslims. It seems that whenever an attack occurs, the western media automatically assumes that it must be linked to Islamist terrorists. However, this does not mean that all westerners do not understand what the media is doing. Scottish Solidarity leader Tommy Sheridan said, “Today we see another report on the BBC linking Pakistan and Terrorism. Even though the report is unconfirmed; and there are no details; and there has been no trial; they are quick to report the arrest of a Scottish Muslim in Peshawar. And yet, still, we see no mention of the threats against the Central Mosque in Glasgow where the person who carried out the threats to bomb the mosque and behead Scottish Muslims has already been tried and found guilty.( http://www.new.solidarityscotland.org/videos/speeches/621-media-qterrorq-bias-against-scottish-muslims.html )” It is clear that even some non-Muslim can recognize that there is some media bias concerning the amount of attention that is given to Islamist terrorists versus that of non Muslims.
Most Muslims are just as much against terrorism as westerners. As it was said earlier, the teachings of the Quran prohibit us from waging war against innocent people and ask that we do our best to promote peace. In addition, most Muslims understand that the terrorist are misusing the words in the Quran to fight a war that is politically motivated; not a religious one. Never the less, most Muslims do not support their actions in any way. Good Muslims understand that it is a sin to hurt innocent people for any reason. In the Quran it says, “If anyone slays a person
– unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew all people.
And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people.” (Qur’an 5:32) This idea means that the Quran teaches us to respect and preserve life which is one of the foundations of Islam. However, the bad deeds of a few misguided Muslims have caused the media to stereotype many innocent Muslims; even thought the blood that is shed on the TV news is mostly that of innocent Muslims. However, this is hard to perceive as the terrorist shocking actions draw attention away from this fact.
Islam is a religion of peace and social harmony. The Quran serves as a guide for Muslims to live their lives in a way that avoids conflict with others. In no way does the Quran support the use of violence as a way to settle differences. Unfortunately, the terrible deeds of a few misguide Muslims who use only parts of the Quran’s teaching to justify their evil acts, has help to create many negative stereotypes about Muslims and the Quran. These misguided Muslims would not be so successful, if it was not for the western media attention they receive. The western media needs to rethink what is more important; the number of viewers the can get from broadcasting terrorist activity or helping to make terrorism a useless tool by not helping terrorist to achieve their goal of creating fear in the western public by broadcasting their acts. Therefore, the idea that Islamic beliefs support terrorist activities has been misinterpreted inwestern society due to misleading information in the media.
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