Constructing Islamophobia: The Hate Preacher

Let this post be an example of how snippets of seemingly-innocuous details quoted by the Media add to rising suspicion and hatred of Muslims in the West.

The Daily Telegraph alleged earlier today that a cross-Government working group on anti-Muslim hatred contained radicals or former radicals. The group, it was stated, is “pressing to lift bans on foreign hate preachers from entering Britain, including Zakir Naik, who has stated that “every Muslim should be a terrorist”.”

warsi

That is one, evil preacher-dude, right? Who, in his right mind, says something like that? Unequivocally, I advocate that hate preachers be excommunicated, especially ones calling Muslims to terrorism. But here’s the thing. As a Bangladeshi Muslim, I have seen the lecture in question. In fact, it’s on YouTube (see transcription below).

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(Preacher) Zakir Naik’s talk: complete sentences vs. phrase quoted by The Daily Telegraph

Aware of the common media trickery of cherry-picking phrases, Naik goes on to add, “I am aware that ‘terrorist’ – more commonly – is used for a person who terrorizes an innocent person. In this context, no Muslim should even terrorize a single human being.”

While there are controversies surrounding Naik’s views, they are theological, not political, in nature. He certainly isn’t advocating Terrorism in this particular case. Yet, anyone who hasn’t seen the video, would take The Telegraph’s summation of Zakir Naik at face value. And why not? What does the Telegraph have to gain by smearing a lisping, Muslim preacher?

Let me repeat that question for you: What does the Telegraph have to gain by smearing a lisping, Muslim preacher?

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3 comments

  1. Let me repeat that question for you: What does the Telegraph have to gain by smearing a lisping, Muslim preacher?

    The approval of its Islamophobic readers and sponsors?
    A distraction from the current scandal over its failure to cover the HSBC tax avoidance story? (HSBC is one of its major sponsors. One of the Telegraph’s most senior journos recently quit over it and badmouthed the paper in other news outlets. A recent Telegraph story accusing one of its rival papers of driving its own journos to suicide is widely regarded as another such distraction).

    I don’t know how it is in Bangladesh but here all mainstream news outlets – including ‘respectable’ liberal ones and the publicly funded ABC – regularly do stories pitched at the bigotry of the public that are built on distortions or outright lies. Such stories often win Walkley awards (a sort of Australian Pulitzer).

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