The Truth Behind the Headlines   Leave a comment

I have been having a few technical issues with my internet service provider over the last 2 weeks, it is (fingers crossed) sorted now, but means I need to back-date a couple of my posts to catch up!

This is the post that should have gone live the weekend of 11th September.

The Koran/ Qur'an

As I’m you’ve heard this week – after all, it has received major news coverage – a pastor in America called Terry Jones had planned to hold a “Burn a Koran [or Qur’an] Day” to mark the anniversary of 9/11.  However, this did not happen in the end when the pastor at the Dove World Outreach Centre in Florida announced the cancellation of the event following much media attention and apparent to-ing and fro-ing with leaders involved with the creation of a Muslim centre a few streets away from Ground Zero.

The media is of course well-known for moulding news stories by fashioning the narratives in such a way as to put across their point of view – or the view that they think their readers will have.  Journalists also have a habit of oversimplifying complicated matters because it makes their work much easier and produces more attention-grabbing headlines.  With this 9/11 ‘protest’ story, I want to get straight to its heart and separate fact from fiction to provide you with a more balanced piece; below you will find the core issues explored in more depth.

As the world’s political and religious leaders all rushed to condemn the plan, we should be taking an important lesson away from this: there are extremist – but relatively tiny – groups of Christians out there, just like there are a minority of extremist Muslims who exist.  In the same way that Christian leaders, such as the Pope and other church leaders around the world, have released statements to distance themselves from the pastor of this small church community, the majority of Muslims wish to distance themselves from those who practice or encourage terrorism using the guise of Islam.

Interestingly, the members of the Dove World Outreach Centre believe that Muslims are evil simply because they don’t believe that Jesus was the son of God.  This seems extremely odd to me because they are singling out one group of people who don’t share the Christian beliefs about Jesus, when I can easily name many other groups of people who don’t value Jesus as highly as Christians: atheists, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and there are other, smaller, religious groups too.  So is there some other reason why Muslims are being considered worse than the rest?  I wonder if it is because the media (especially in America) has put such focus on terrorism being linked to Islam that this church has decided Muslims are – at least currently – the ones journalists claim we should be most scared of.

The recent reports surrounding the decision to create a Muslim centre near Ground Zero have seen many journalists proclaim: “Mosque to open on Ground Zero” (or something similar), but this is far from the truth.  The intended site is several streets away from the actual ‘Ground Zero’ site and it is not even a mosque, but rather an Islamic cultural centre.  It shouldn’t matter even if it was true though, because the type of Muslim who chooses to live in America is not the same as those radical Muslims who wish to bring harm to those in the West.  The whole “Ground Zero Mosque” story has been moulded to fit a certain agenda which will inevitable cause some members of the public to be whipped up into a frenzy of outrage.

However, it is the headlines and the ways in which stories are covered that sell a newspaper because they are what draws an audience in and makes them want to read the articles and so buy the paper.  Maybe we need to be more demanding of our news providers – we should make it clear that we value the truth more than a ‘good story’: substance over style please!


Posted 21/09/2010 by thinkmindy in Media, Politics, Religion

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