Jihad is actually a Christian term meaning ‘justifiable war’. According to Islamic teaching Jihad means ‘struggle’ and ‘strive’ against evil thoughts and aggression against person, family, society or country. If a so called Muslim involves in any terror activity, media uses the term ‘Islamic Terrorism’ for such incidents. However, there is no such phrase or term in Quran or any religious book of Muslims by which these inhuman acts are justified. Media and other people misunderstand Jihad as ‘Holy War’ but in Islam there is no such evidence. Actually this terminology had originated in Europe during Crusades and their war against Muslims. Islam respects all humans and faiths as long as there is no religious oppression, forbidding Muslims from serving Allah.
Jihad is usually associated with Islam and Muslims, but in fact, the concept of Jihad is found in almost all religions including Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and political/economical ideologies such as Capitalism, Socialism and Communism etc. Islam is the religion of peace and harmony and didn’t support violence or terror in any form. Islam welcomes the enemy with open heart for the sake of peace and brotherhood.
“But if the enemies incline towards peace, do you also incline towards peace and trust in Allah. He hears and knows all things. ” [Holy Qur’an 8:61]
The word ‘peace’ is mentioned 58 times in Quran and it is one of the attributes which Allah has named Himself in Quran.
“He is Allah beside whom there is none worthy of worship, The King, The Holy, The Peace, The Watcher, The Almighty, The Compeller, The Supreme. Glory be to Allah, He is above all that they try to associate with Him as partners.” [Holy Quran 59:23]
Islam is essentially and basically concerned with establishing societies in which the rights of freedom of belief, human rights and protection of life, dignity and property are secure from internal and external threats.
Media and the World
Western and biased media propagated Islam as ‘militant religion’ and people have termed it as ‘religion of blood, fire, sword and terrorism.’ In the Nazis’ Holocaust against Jews which was done by Hitler and more than 60,000,000 Catholic Christians died is termed as an example of terrorism. Operation ‘Agent Orange’ which was undertaken by US Vietnam is not terror incident but 9/11 and Peshawar Military attack was highlighted by act of terrorism by biased media.
After 9/11 attacks international media tend to negatively depict Islam by associating it with terrorism especially the media houses located in UK and US. By doing so they want to justify the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine etc. TV news and newspaper are the most important source for people to be aware about the incidents happening in the world. They believe in what is aired on television and published in newspapers. According to Mc Quail (1995), in certain conditions, media can help the government dealing with terror issues by giving a negative label or name to terrorist groups and generating some panic situations for terrorists through the information spread. Lowenthal (1989) claims that without the collaboration of the media, terrorism would become impotent.
Terrorism is an indirect psychological strategy which avoids direct contact with opponents. So, without media coverage terrorism disappears. After 9/11 the terms “Muslim” and “Terrorist” became synonymous in many western countries. Since this event, many experts and activists in the field of human rights have warned of the escalation of Islam phobia and racism against Muslims in many western countries.
In India, media is following the same trend like the one adopted by its western counterpart. Indian print and electronic media is totally biased in the name of Muslim and propagates false things.
“There is no changing to the creation of Allah. That is the right religion, but most men know not.” [Holy Qur’an 30:30]
- Lowenthal, G. (1989) The Role of the Media in the Struggles Against Terrorism. In Nentanyahu, B.(ed.) International Terrorism: Challenge and Response. California: Transactions Publishers.
- Mc Quail, D. (1995) Media Performance: Mass Communication and the Public Interest. London: Sage.
- The Holy Qur’an
- Yusof, S. A. (2013) The Framing of International Media on Islam and Terrorism. European Science Journal. Vol.9, No,-08
(The author is a Contract Lecturer at Department of Applied Geology, National Institute of Technology, Raipur)