On October 12th 38 highly respected and theologically diverse clerics from the Muslim world wrote what is widely considered a respectful and engaging "Open Letter" to the Pope in response to his controversial comments about Islam made during his Regensburg address in September. Not only was the letter of historical significance, but it also represented an articulate and reasoned invitation to dialogue from Muslims with the Papacy on matters of theology and faith. The signatories included top scholars from Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, the United States, the United Kingdom, Jordan, Kosovo, Oman, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Iran.
Around the same time, a single Muslim cleric in Australia, Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali, delivered a sermon to about 500 followers where he allegedly compared some women who do not dress modestly to uncovered meat being left out for a cat.
I wonder which story received more news coverage.
If we follow the Google news aggregator as a gauge, at the height of the news coverage of the Open Letter to the Pope, the story appeared in about 220 different news sites across the world. The only major English language news web site to carry the story on the front page was BBC. Most notably, the major US media outlets almost entirely ignored the event. With the exception of a front page story that week in the Christian Science Monitor and a small story aired on CNN, the letter came and went without much fanfare.
As the fury over Hilali's remarks continue to gain momentum, according to Google there are currently over 800 news services carrying the story. That is quadruple the coverage of the Open Letter. I would expect this to increase before it subsides. The cleric's remarks are drawing furious reactions from around the globe, and the life of the story is likely being extended by the already tense debate over Muslim women who wear veils in the UK.
The open letter signed by 38 scholars, who represent all eight major schools of thought in the Islam, is more representative of the global Muslim community than this one lone Australian cleric. However, judging by the prevailing media coverage any casual reader would think the exact opposite.
When Pat Roberston or Jerry Fallwell make embarrassingly ignorant comments, they are dismissed as the ranting and ravings of old senile men. When any Muslim cleric does something similar, in the court of public opinion Islam is guilty of the offense until proven otherwise. When it comes to the media, Muslims can hardly catch a break.
The sad reality is that if the 38 scholars who wrote the Open Letter really wanted the world to hear what they had to say, they should have first congregated in Cairo and burned an effigy of the Pope.
Firas Ahmad is Senior Editor of Islamica Magazine
Scholars and community leaders must learn that pandering to the whims of others, especially the media will bring no good. Read the seerah! Read about Sa'd bin Mu'adh! You will be hard pressed to find examples of either the Prophet (PBUH) or the Sahaba cowtowing to the pressures of the media of the time.
Of course diplomacy and wisdom must be employed at all times by our Imams, but some times harsh warnings are required. Moreover, Islam will always be attacked regardless of how much we try to sugarcoat our deen for the sake of others.
How come we do not talk about women wearing bikinis, mini skirt, showing of cleaveage, tight pants and phonography showing their meat to men.
It is women who are attacked by men. Women do not attack men sexually. Allah has given quick arousel in men first, for a reason.
By women covering themselves brings safety and respect for women. It is for their own good if only they knew.
Zionist Jew media hype, is only to keep Mulameen on the defensive while they hide what is Satanic evil practiced and written in Zionist Jews' Talmud. Please see
Talmud: Role of the Talmud in Judaism
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TALMUD
A Documented Expos of Jewish racist Hate Literature
Dark Secrets Inside Bohemian Grove (Reprise) (Alex Jones)
Alex Jones at American Scholars Symposium
TerrorStorm Deluxe High Quality (Alex Jones)
the true face of your enemy... The "global socialist" bankers using money and power to entangle the world, and make us their private slaves. http://www.bcrevolution.ca/bilderberg.htm
Total Truth Sciences
Shukran Jazilan, Jaza
there is very good Idea at the end of this article :). this scholars should sign a tready with the Mujahedeen: whenever someone about to blow something, please contact us to give you a note so the nazis propaganda can speak about it.
Normally any Good thing about islam in Western societies is "not suppose to be made public" but as long as it is controversial every media has to put it up to gain acceptance from the "big fishes" No doubt 38 scholars are less than 1 scholar.
We may complain but we muslims must live our lifes in accordance with the example of the prophet Muhammad (saw) and his companions and many will turn to understand and become Muslims. We should be the best in the society and the most honest ones and that will in future over turn the tables.
Please don't compare Apples with Oranges. The proper comparison is -- who got wider News -- Pope or Islamic Cleric in Australia.
The pope got wider news coverage in the Islamic world because the issue was more important to the islamic world; the muslim cleric got wider news in the west because the issue of veil is more important in the west.
If both, Pope and the Australian Cleric, were careful in choosing their words, even if the issues were important, nobody would have noticed their sermons and speeches.