Some concerned Muslims in Rivers State have frowned at the use of the word “Islamist” to describe militants or rebels who are active in various parts of the world.
One of the concerned Muslims, Tunde Salihu said in Port Harcourt that it is worrisome that press statements and news broadcasts are now extending the term Islamist to almost every Muslim involved in negative issues.
“I am convinced that if you consider my request, it would engender better understanding of Islam and bring about mutual trust among our people, thus avoiding the inevitable genocide that will result from the current media war on Muslims and Islam, worldwide”.
“As you must have noticed, the western media such as VOA, BBC, CNN, DW and so on, generally twist their stories and news features to support the foreign policies of their governments and so you are not likely to hear/see any good information about governments/people of a country or community opposed to their government’s policies, on their channels. As we all have now discovered, they are thoroughly biased and unprofessional when pursuing their government agenda as demonstrated in the sack of many journalist who have attempted to give a different impression/narrative of events. We can see this in the many activities of these countries in the militarization of Africa in recent years,” he said.
Salihu wondered why the press uses the word Islamist to tag terrorists.
“As you must have noticed, Islamist is widely used to describe extremist Muslims and groups. My worry is that the religion of the perpetuators of crime is always accentuated when there is a conflict in largely Muslim populated communities, but it is played down in non-Muslim areas. Mexico, Congo, Columbia, Rewanda and the gun problem is America are examples of places where the religion of the criminals are blunted out entirely. Even during the Kenya Election crisis 5 years ago, many Christian pastors and Reverend fathers were indicted, but were never labeled “Christianist”.
Over 95% of the of 1.5 Billion Muslims worldwide have condemned the activities of these Terrorist groups, who use and trade in drugs/alcohol against the well known Islamic tenets as stated in Quran 5:90-91 and they kill people indiscriminately against the Quranic injunctions which states in Q5:31 “…… whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. ……”. They are not Muslims and so should be called what they are; terrorist, rebels, militants, gun men and so on, but not Islamist or Islamic Terrorist. Most of them have been found not to know how to pray, let alone observe the other tenets of Islam and so cannot impose Sharia as some of them attempt to do. It is wicked and unfair to selectively associate Islam with violence, as adherents of other religions also perpetuate numerous acts of violence.
In the same way, the western press continues to call these evil people Jihadist in a wicked twist of the meaning of Jihad as personal struggle with oneself to avoid doing bad things for the sake of God (Allah).
What is however more worrisome is that they (Western press) are now extending the term (Islamist) to almost every Muslim they don’t like. For example, President Morsi who belongs to Freedom and Justice party, of Muslim Brotherhood is also called an “Islamist”. In contrast, Angela Merkel, who belongs to Christian Democratic Union, of Germany, has never been labeled a Christianist, nor has any of the extremist Jewish groups ruling in Israel been labeled, Jewist”, he explained.
Salihu urged media houses to stop the use of Islamist in describing groups who do not represent Islam.
“With the wide spread use of this word ÏSLAMIST”, most people (including otherwise educated ones, who see CNN as Holy Grail) would always associate Islam with violence and develop congenital hatred for Muslims. A little problem that may occur in future may lead people to commit genocide on the Muslims out of this germinated hatred, retaliation, and may be, fear, as it happened in Rewanda; incidentally a broadcaster was convicted later for calling the Tutsis cockroaches that should be crushed or killed.
For the sake of our nation, I strongly urge you to stop the use of “ISLAMIST” to describe these groups of people who do not represent Islam. If however you insist, I want you to recognize the danger of being an accessory to a course that is not in the interest of your larger organization or the Nigerian nation. Businesses thrive in a peaceful atmosphere. The most dangerous social milieu you can impose on a people is distrust and mistrust, which is a time bomb that may consume all of us; as I witnessed over a decade ago, when Hausas were killed in large numbers, in ABA over a period of 7 days”, he said.