Some Muslim-Canadian leaders wonder why does media attention appear to be focused mostly on Muslims who use violence to achieve their political aims and rarely on Muslims noted for their tolerance, kindness, love, and understanding. Many Muslims do not understand the reason behind many media outlets for concentrating their reporting on the minority of violent-driven extremist Muslims while the majority of Muslims who work hard for the public good are almost ignored.
In addition to the widely known – or assumed – “explanations” having to do with control over media ownership and certain sentiments of Islamophobia among many public opinion trendsetters, especially in the western hemisphere, there are two major reasons that can offer some relevant explanations. We need to understand. Otherwise, theories of conspiracies concocted in dark rooms behind closed doors by strange-looking (mostly ugly) people probably with “short horns” would flourish.
First, media does not see it as its mission to report on the tens of thousands of safe flights that take off from one airport and land on another every day; but it sees it as its mission to report on the exception of a near miss somewhere or an aircraft crashing somewhere else. Norm is not an attractive subject for reporters; exceptions are, and the greater the rarity the more attractive the news becomes to reporters. That is simply the nature of the beast.
Second, it seems – to me at least – that most Muslims do not recognise the fact that this is their fight and therefore decided to withdraw from assuming responsibility in confronting this danger. Many Muslims around the world do stand up against those other Muslims who use violence to achieve their political aims but not enough and not in a high enough percentage that would close the door for others to dwell on the subject. If Muslims are to succeed in eliminating this danger, they must take ownership of the problem, confront the likes of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and be the first to condemn them; the first to disown them; and the first to fight them. Mainstream Muslims must be seen and known to be leading the fight against this danger to humanity. Moreover, Muslims need to recognize those extremists as a danger to them before anyone else on the planet. That is not happening. The one thing we need more than any other in that regard is for Imams to take the message of true, peaceful, respectful, and human Islam to the public and lead the fight in their sermons each and every Friday clearly and loudly until we rid ourselves and humanity from this cancer.
It would be risky for Muslims to let non-Muslims lead the fight against those extremists. Muslims must lead the fight and take on the struggle themselves before non-Muslims. If others lead the fight, it would be very difficult to change future public perception that most Muslims were accomplice to ISIL and other extremist groups or at least tolerant of their message to the world. This is our problem; we must assume responsibility and lead the fight, and all of humanity will be with us.
When that takes place, we will be better equipped in confronting those who paint Islam as a whole with the brush of ISIL. Until then, we have a job to do with our own and a message to deliver to all “true Muslims” to own the problem and lead the fight against the likes of ISIL whose aim is to rule over others in the name of Islam and with a permit they claim they obtained from God.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!