Mediernes vrængbillede af islam

Den ægyptiske forfatter Alaa al-Aswany (som du givetvis har hørt om, hans bøger er over det hele) skriver i dagens Guardian om de vrængbilleder, der florerer i mediernes dækning af de islamiske lande og påpeger de meget let gennemskuelige interesser, der ligger bag den vrængen verden på hovedet:

This western double standard is widespread, and there are countless examples. Elections recently took place in Iran and the winner was President Ahmadinejad. But there were allegations of vote-rigging. Western governments were up in arms, issuing strongly worded statements in support of democracy in Iran.

Yet Egyptian elections have been rigged regularly for many years and President Mubarak has taken office through rigged referendums, so why hasn’t that provoked such anger? The outcry is not to promote democracy but rather to embarrass the Iranian regime, which is hostile towards Israel and trying to develop its nuclear capabilities, which are a threat to western imperialism. The Egyptian government, on the other hand, in spite of being despotic and corrupt, is obedient and tame, so the western media overlook its faults, however horrendous they might be.

When the young Iranian woman called Neda Soltan was shot by an unknown assailant, her death quickly became global headline news. Western politicians were so moved that even President Obama, close to tears, said that it was heartbreaking. A few weeks later in the German city of Dresden, an Egyptian woman called Marwa el-Sherbini was attending the trial of a man who racially abused her because she was wearing a hijab. Fined €2,800 for insulting her, the extremist then went on a rampage, attacking Marwa and her husband with a knife. Marwa died on the spot.

The murder of Marwa and the murder of Neda should be seen as crimes of equal barbarity and of equal impact. But the murder of the Egyptian woman in the hijab did not break Obama’s heart and did not receive front-page coverage in the west. The murder of Neda incriminates the Iranian regime, whereas the murder of Marwa shows that terrorism is not confined to Arabs and Muslims – a white German terrorist kills an innocent women and tries to kill her husband simply because she is Muslim and wears a hijab. The western media do not care to convey this message.

Al-Aswany gør dog opmærksom på, at mange muslimer bærer et betydeligt medansvar for denne skævhed.

Det er fuldkommen rigtigt, at der kun er én eneste forklaring på, at mordet på Marwa el-Sherbini ikke har udløst lige så stort et ramaskrig som morden på Neda Soltan gjorde, og det er: Galopperende hykleri.

Og der er kun én eneste forklaring på, at diktaturets valgsvindel i Iran vækker forargelse, mens det tyranniske regimes valgfusk i Ægypten forbigås i stilhed, og det er: Galopperende hykleri.

Men samtidig er de reaktionære, bagstræberiske og med oliepenge velforsynede wahabitter og fanatiske fundamentalister i færd med at tage millioner af almindelige menneskers mere fredelige tro som gidsler – og som al-Aswany påpeger, er disse millioner af almindelige muslimer selv ansvarlige for at tage den tilbage:

If an ordinary westerner decided to find out the truth about Islam through what Muslims do and say, what would he find? Osama bin Laden would look out at him, as though emerging from a medieval cave to announce that Islam ordered him to kill as many western crusaders as possible, even if they are innocent civilians who have done nothing to merit punishment. Then the westerner would read how the Taliban has decided to close girls’ schools, arguing that Islam bans the education of women on the grounds that they are as intellectually and religiously deficient.

After that, the westerner would read statements from those who call themselves Islamic jurists, saying that a Muslim who converts to another faith must repent or have his throat cut. Some jurists will assert that Islam does not recognise democracy and that it is a duty to obey a Muslim ruler even if he oppresses and robs his subjects. They will welcome women covering their faces with the niqab so that those who see them are not driven by sexual desire.

The westerner will not find out that Islam gave men and women completely equal rights and obligations. He will not find out that in the eyes of Islam if someone kills an innocent it is as if he has killed everyone. He will never find out that the niqab has nothing to do with Islam but is a custom that came to us with the money of the Gulf from a backward desert society. The westerner will never find out that the real message of Islam is freedom, justice and equality, and that it guarantees freedom of belief, in that those who wish may believe and those who do not, need not, and that democracy is essential to Islam, in that a Muslim ruler cannot take office without the consent and choice of Muslims. After all that, can we blame the westerner if he considers Islam the religion of backwardness and terrorism?

Last year, I had to make a speech in Austria about the reality of Islam. I told how the Prophet Muhammad was so mild-mannered that when he knelt down to pray his grandsons Hassan and Hussein would often jump on his back in play. He would stay kneeling so as not to disturb the boys and then he would resume his prayers. I asked the audience: “Can you imagine that a man who stopped praying for the sake of children would advocate killing and terrorising innocent people?”

Men det er selvfølgelig også rigtigt, at de vestlige medier vitterlig kunne gøre et væsentligt bedre arbejde – hvis de ville. Men al-Aswany er milevidt fra nogen form for “offermentalitet” og understreger, at et egentligt opgør med de bagstræberiske kræfter, der i hans øjne forvansker og vanhelliger religionen, kun kan komme et sted fra, nemlig fra tilhængerne af islam som fredens, retfærdighedens og lighedens religion selv:

It is our duty to start with ourselves. We must save Islam from all the nonsense, falsehoods and retrograde ideas that have attached themselves to it. Democracy is the solution.

Link: Western hostility to Islam is stoked by double standards and distortion