This was originally published at Geo Blogs.
The bomb blast and killing spree in Oslo, Norway on July 22, 2011 set the western media in frenzy where within hours the blame of tragedy was laid upon Islamic extremists. It was headed by Will McCants, an expert on counter-terrorism, adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University and member of many counter-terrorism programs in US.
The blame was laid on Islamic extremists based on vague speculations Will McCants came across on a password protected Arabic forum ‘Shmukh’ (known for its members being vocally supportive of Global Jihad) that was thirstily gulped down by media and soon BBC, New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post and others were propagating this speculation as news even before police in Norway managed to gain control of the situation.
When it was publicly announced and confirmed that the killer was a white, Nordic Norwegian Christian with anti-Islamic views and a history of xenophobic ideas, the western media continued to speculate if the incident was carried out by the individual after getting inspirations from Al-Qaeda’s methods and tactics. The online articles carried word “Terrorism” with Islam and “Extremist” with Muslim until and even after knowing killer’s identity. None in the media acknowledged the incident as “terrorist act by right-wing nationalist” or called Breivik “Christian fundamentalist/terrorist”.
I am probably not the only one who is troubled by the western media’s obsession of blaming the Muslims for any and every act of crime. They find it easy to tag their problems on Islam and Muslims; the overall perception about the Muslims has become extremely negative. European Union released records of “failed, foiled or successfully executed terrorist attacks” that were carried out in European nations. As per the records in 2007 only four attacks were carried out by Islamists (Islamic Terrorists) out of 583 terrorist cases; in 2008 there was no attack by Islamists and in 2009 only one case out of 294.
Despite the empirical evidence, the common perception about any act of crime or terrorism in Europe is immediately associated with Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Islamic Extremists by the media. This heavily influences public opinion and severely affects Muslims security. Both the Muslims and the religion of Islam have become easy targets to blame and speculate upon even when there is no relation to the actual incident; they have taken the form of ‘safe bet’ the media won’t have to apologize or even fear repercussions if proven wrong.
The power of the media is already quite strong in the west and the severely negative image of Muslims that has been sketched and etched into every person’s mind since 9/11 has met with little counter from the Muslim world. The Muslim Ummah has failed to not just face and defeat the terrorist allegation against Muslims and Islam but also unable to filter out factors responsible for deterioration of Islam and Muslims image. We only have to look in Pakistan where teenagers strap bomb and blow up in mosques, killing fellow Muslims, with the concept that they are killing infidels, doing a service for Islam and will be rewarded with place in Paradise, status of Shaheed and 70 virgins.
The lack of self-correction and media counter has caused problems for Muslims around the world and Norway’s incident highlights how little a reason the media needs to start Muslim-bashing. Not only we at an individual and collective level need a proper policy to improve image and remove misconceptions against Muslims and Islam but also weed out those who are playing with innocent lives on the name of religion.
Update: Watch these shows from Jon Stewart and Colbert on Norway that exposes the bias of Western media and so-called experts that come and blame every on Muslims.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|In the Name of the Fodder|
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Norwegian Muslish Gunman’s Islam-Esque Atrocity|