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Poisonous Propaganda
Time magazine, in its June 15th, 1992 issue, once again gave itself the "freedom" to pour forth its venom against Islam and Muslims. Its front cover and headlines were enough for any independent-minded person to grasp the depth of its hatred for Muslims. The front cover showed a minaret on the left hand side and a person holding a gun on the right hand side with the gun towering over the minaret. Since the main article was "The Sword of Islam", it would perhaps have been more instructive to show the sword rather than the gun, and the sword could have been drawn side by side with the thousands of nuclear bombs of capitalism. Then the question in the front page headline "Islam: Should the World Be Afraid?" would have been answered without writing a word. But Time magazine obviously had other aims. It wanted to have a go and as usual it spread its poison with rare abandon, as the following sentences and phrases indicate.... "terrorism, intolerance and revolution for export - the revival movement's three scourges", "Algeria suppressed the Islamic Salvation Front with a vengeance in January", "austere dictates of Islamic law", "repression without fervor" and "The wild card of Kabul".

Once again, Salman Rushdie, the heretic, is paraded as a hero of the West.

Why this unceasing hate propaganda against Islam and Muslims, it might be asked, especially at a time when the West is trying to atone for its crimes against other peoples it oppressed through centuries. For example, these days, euphemisms like "short-list" and "parallel market" are used for what used to be "black list" and "black market", so as not to hurt the feelings of Africans. It is true that while such cosmetic changes are taking place, the poor and the oppressed continue to be trampled. But the way the likes of Time magazine seethe against Islam is something else. Some reasons for such behaviour immediately spring to mind.

1. It is an exercise in deception, to turn the attention of the public away from the real issues.
2. The ideology of capitalism has almost killed Christianity, but has not been able to shake the staunch faith of more than a billion Muslims. Time magazine is bewildered at this and its utter helplessness leads to such outbursts.
3. The inequalities and injustices of capitalism are leading more and more people to accept Islam worldwide and such an attack on Islam is seen by Time magazine as necessary to counter this.
I will elaborate on each of these in turn.

An Exercise in Deception
It could be argued that it is an exercise in deception. For example, it diverts attention from the carve up of Bosnia by Serbia. How can they explain to people that indeed among Europeans as well there are Muslims when all along they have demeaned Muslims as backward peoples of what they refer to as the Third World? How can they accept the fact that a Muslim Republic of Bosnia exists in the heart of Europe? So, they let Serbia walk right in; commit genocide, bomb masajid; kill men, women and children; set up concentration camps; herd whole villages into neighbouring Croatia so as to cleanse Bosnia of Muslims, reduce its Muslim population so that in the end Serbs form the majority; while the United Nations watches from the sidelines. Indeed Bosnia's Muslims have complained that the United Nations has been helping Serbia in all this. But does anyone listen? Now it has come to light that the United Nations withheld information about Serbian concentration camps where Muslims were imprisoned. Why did it do that? It is common knowledge that these days the U.N does not move and cannot move without the approval of U.S.A. Here is a sovereign country, Bosnia, being overrun by another country, Serbia, and the U.N just watches. Why? Is it because Bosnia does not have oil? Is it because Bosnia is not a subservient client state of the West?

Surprise, Surprise! The United Nations does sanction the use of force, but only to make sure that food is delivered to the strife-torn region. The United Nations did not sanction use of force to stop the killing of Muslims. Its own food is more important to the United Nations than the lives of Muslims.

But they should make no mistake. If they kill one Bilal, a thousand more Bilals will be born.
Once a sizeable part of Bosnia has been overrun, then serious attempts at a cease-fire start because Spain, a member of the European Community, is worried about Macedonians. In the meantime, one journalist gives an opinion that the Western Allies should insist that the boundaries not be redrawn, otherwise a Pandora's box will be opened and we will not know where to end. In other words, Bosnia should remain Bosnia with the original boundaries. That set their minds racing. They do not want Bosnia to exist, do they? So what is to be done? At once, various experts from Strategic Arms Institutes and Universities are called for a question/answer session to assess the situation. They say that the situation will become much like Palestine! They say only a rump will remain. The moderator heaves a sigh of relief. Meanwhile, other commentators will continue to shed crocodile tears for Bosnia to complete the circle of deception (some will be genuine though).

And in this exercise at international deception, Time magazine does its bit by asking the question: "Islam: Should the world be afraid?".

Capitalism Has Destroyed Christianity
But perhaps the greatest frustration of Time magazine is that capitalism has destroyed Christianity and ironically it has been Time magazine, as one of the instruments of captalism, that in great measure has wreaked this destruction. Christianity preaches to people to turn the other cheek when attacked, but the western political elite destabilizes countries whose leaders do not toe its line, leading to death and destruction.

Another naked attack of capitalism on Christianity is the making of obscene movies on Sayyidina Nabi ‘Isa (Jesus Christ), peace be upon him, and the likes of Time magazine would publish its rave reviews with a flourish. The only people to demonstrate against such movies are Muslims because they love Sayyidina Nabi ‘Isa, peace be upon him, one of the greatest Prophets of Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted. But then, obviously Time magazine would dismiss them as fanatics!

The media and the political parties in the West are destroying Christianity every day by waging a relentless war on the institution of the family, supporting common-law relationships and unnatural sex, and championing the cause of prostitutes. Sayyidina Nabi ‘Isa, peace be upon him, stood for the poor. The likes of Time magazine stand for the rich only. They are very happy that the democratic contender for presidency in the U.S.A. has promised that he will channel more public funds as subsidies for rich businessmen rather than for the poor. When communism fell in the U.S.S.R, their greatest joy was not that people would now be more free to go to church, but that MacDonald's (a fast food restaurant) was established in Moscow! Is it any wonder then that what remains of Christianity in the west is the buying of Christmas gifts to boost business?

It has to be admitted though that Time magazine, as part of the capitalist media, is not the only one responsible for destroying Christianity. The church as an institution is no less responsible as it has destroyed itself from within by operating as small business. More serious in recent times have been the many revelations of sexual molestation of boys in orphan homes run by Christian brotherhoods in western countries.

Islam Has Stood The Test Of Time
Muslims are not surprised that Islam has stood the test of time because Allah has Himself chosen it as the only acceptable religion till the end of time.

While Time magazine surveys the destruction of Christianity at its own hands, it is bewildered to see Muslims grow in numbers and faith across the world. Instead of explaining this phenomenon in a cool-headed and rational manner as the church recently did in South Africa, Time magazine abdicated its responsibility and laid bare its fanatic intolerance. The front page headline is Islam, but Islam is not explained. If Islam had been explained and a comparative perspective presented, things would have stood out focussed in a very different light.

The significance of the Qur'an as The Word of Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted, and the living miracle of Sayyidina Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is not explained. The challenge to non-Muslims to produce even a small chapter like it, is not answered. Allah has Himself promised in the Qur'an that He will preserve it and that it has been so preserved is not even mentioned. Its spiritual power, its linguistic beauty and its captivating qualities are not touched upon. Then there are the ahadith (Sayings) of Rasulullah, Sallallahu 'alaihi wa alihi wa sallam, one of which is on Arkan-al-Islam or the five Pillars of Islam. These are to bear witness that no one is worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is His Prophet, to establish salah (Prayer), give zakat (obligatory charity), fast in the month of Ramadan, and to go for Hajj for those who can afford to. A related and very important institution is tahara (ritual purity). In comparison, what institutions do other religions offer and how do other religions compare? Why is it that people in the West are beginning to appreciate the simplicity, decency and dignity of Muslim burial compared to the extravagance and waste of non-Muslims? Why is Islam the fastest growing religion? Why did giants like Al-Hajj Muhammad Ali (formerly called Cassius Clay) and Al-Hajj Malik Shabbaz (formerly called Malcom X) become Muslims? What did the X stand for in the name Malcolm X, and why did Al-Hajj Malik Shabbaz say "Only if we believe in the unity of God can we believe in the unity of mankind"? Could Time magazine really explain all this and not increase the chances of people converting to Islam?

If someone takes upon himself the onerous responsibility of teaching Islam, he has to start with explaining the Sifat of Allah, the Asma Allah ul Husna (the Beautiful Names of Allah) and the husn khuluq (exemplary character) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him; about his piety, the intensity of his worship; his zuhd (abstinence); juhd (exertion in the way of Allah), jihad (fighting to eradicate polytheism, oppression and evil and to establish justice); his unshakable faith in Allah; his generosity; his magnanimity in victory; his charitable, forgiving nature; the comprehensive nature and the range and depth of his 'ulum (knowledge); how his prayers were answered instantly and his prophesies came true; about his miracles and how he completed his mission to convey the Religion of Islam. Then he would have to explain about the Glorious Khilafat of the Khulafa ar-Rashideen al Mahdiyyeen, the four Rightly Guided Khulafa of Rasulullah, Sallallahu 'Alaihi wa alihi wa sallam, that is, Sayyidina Abu Bakr, Sayyidina ‘Umar, Sayyidina ‘Uthman and Sayyidina ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with them all. Then come the awliya (the saints) and the saleheen (the pious) and their spiritual stature and their achievements in piety. Add to that the complete, balanced and comprehensive (fiqh and sharia) code of law of Islam as codified by the a'immah of madh-hab. In comparison what can capitalism offer except consumerism, moral corruption and the fanaticism of Time magazine?

Muslim Beliefs and Actions Both Superior
This reminds me of a conversation I had one day with a committed Christian. He asked me what I had to say about Jesus Christ (Sayyidina Nabi ‘Isa, peace be upon him). I told him we Muslims love Sayyidina Nabi ‘Isa, peace be upon him, as a Prophet of Allah; we have to pronounce his name with respect, not just Jesus Christ, but we have to say Sayyidina (our master) at the beginning of his name and ‘alaihissalam (peace be upon him) at the end of his name. I also told him that there is a whole surah (chapter) in the Qur’an on  the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sayyidah Maryam ‘alaihassalam (peace be upon her). As Muslims we have to believe in the miraculous birth of Sayyidina Nabi ‘Isa ‘alaihissalam, that he talked while still a baby, that he cured the crippled and the lepers, and that he made dead people alive with the Will of Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted. Then I asked him, what do you have to say about Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him? For a full half minute he was silent and then said, "Actually we are very intolerant". Can Time magazine be intellectually honest and admit as much?

This is in the realm of the belief system. Then we come to the realm of practice. Compare the way the Mughals and the British ruled India. The Mughals intermarried with Indians, the British never did; the Mughals set up their capital in India, the British never did; the Mughals had Indians as their advisers and appointed them to top positions, the British never did; the Mughals adopted Indian customs and spoke their language, the British never did; the British stole the choicest diamonds and rubies from India and studded them in the British crown in England, the Mughals never did. Similarly, the Arabs in East Africa established their capital in Zanzibar and intermarried with Africans to produce a whole new race, the Waswahili and a whole new language Kiswahili. Not the British, about whom Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the first President of Kenya said: "We had the land and they had the Bible. Then they told us to close our eyes and pray. So we closed our eyes and prayed. When we opened our eyes, we found that we had the Bible and they had the land". Apparently, Time magazine's 6 gram brain is not up to such analysis.

Islam Completes Women's Liberation
The famous hobby horse of the likes of Time magazine is to say without presenting any analysis that Muslim women are oppressed, in the hope that if this is said long enough, people will begin to accept it. Imagine how maddening it must be for Time magazine to find that in spite of so much propaganda, Muslim women are totally rejecting the licentiousness, immorality and exploitation of the West, and adopting the Muslim hijab (veil) to preserve their chastity, human dignity, noble culture and historic tradition. Muslims have realized that the so-called women's liberation movement is a ploy by the male elite in the West to intensify the sexual exploitation of women. Those in the West who champion the institution of the family are now beginning to lash out at those who wish to destroy it. Muslim men and women are especially critical for the following reasons.

(a) The western male elite gives very light jail sentences to rapists, ranging from 6 months to 2 years. When it is announced in the media that a serial rapist is soon to be released from jail, all the ladies begin to shiver. How can women's liberation be complete while they coddle rapists? Only Islam completes women's liberation in this instance.

(b) The greatest cause of wife bashing is drunkenness. Islam has banned alcohol and completed women’s liberation in this respect as well. How can you talk of women’s liberation while at the same time promoting alcohol?

(c) Some of the more sensible women in the feminist movement are now convinced that the male elite is using them just to promote business. Consider female nudity in advertisement. Why are girls presented half naked or in sexy clothing while men are not? Where is the equality? In a circus, women performers are always half naked, men are fully dressed. Where is the equality? In gymnastics, it is the same. Can you really talk of equality in the face of such differences? And in beauty contests, the sexploitation of women to promote business of make-up products is unbelievable. A large majority of women have already begun to see through all this.

(d) It has now been revealed that by and large, men in the West are really polygamous; they have one spouse and many mistresses. Gossip magazines routinely reveal the pranks of politicians and actors with "the other woman". Once in a while, the politicians have a go at the journalists and ask them: "What about your other women, eh?" Given these realities, the Islamic institution of limited polygamy (up to 4 wives), legalized, solemnized and sanctified in marriage, is beginning to escape their wrath.

May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala give those in Time magazine, and indeed all non-believers, the hidaya (right guidance) to accept Islam, fill their hearts with nur (spiritual light) and with the love of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And may Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala bestow on all of us His maghfira (forgiveness). Ameen, Ya Rabbal Alameen.

Siddiq Osman Noormuhammad
1992, Toronto

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