Friday, February 24, 2006


Muslims all over the world are rioting. Like, all of us. Everywhere. At perceived American imperialism, at insulting cartoons, at each other (and - allegedly, I have my own suspicions - bombing each others’ mosques to boot). I find it really, really embarrassing. In fact, when I’m sitting watching the news switching between Muslims rioting in Iran to Nigeria to Syria to Iraq to London to Indonesia, I can’t help but feel that if I weren’t Muslim, I’d probably be thinking something along the lines of, “What the hell is the matter with these guys? All they ever do is get angry about stuff and shoot guns and riot and bomb things and kill people. I don’t like Muslims”. And I’m not exaggerating in order to make my point – I’d really be thinking that. I think I would be able to draw a distinction between the Muslims here and the Muslims abroad doing all the rioting, but the basic sentiment is there.

So that’s one point – we Muslims really need to sort ourselves out and start showing a much, much more professional, media-savvy face. And, nicely, that leads me smoothly on to my second point, which is that all we seem to see in the media is images of Muslims rioting and marching and protesting. Of course, it’s fair to say that that’s because there’s a fair amount of that going on. And I also have to say that some of the pictures – even on ITV news – have been of peaceful demonstrations, for instance of Iraqi Shi’ites and Sunnis jointly calling for peace and calm, and condemning the bombing of the Mosque over there.

But also, it doesn’t help when that’s all that we are seen to do by those watching Western media (again, I concede that we largely have ourselves to blame, but it’s not all our fault, either). When all people see is pictures of angry mobs shooting guns and chanting things in Arabic and burning flags, they forget that there are hundreds of millions more Muslims just trying to get on with their lives in a peaceful manner; people just trying to earn a decent, fair living, to put food in their childrens’ mouths and to improve their lot in the world. People like you and me (OK, so sans children for most of us!).


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