The phenomenal growth of mass media would revolutionize politics, with the flood of information and discontinuous facts overwhelming any sense of historical context. Media in Islamic worlddefinition it is difficult due to the restriction and differences in the faith of all countries.
The past few decades have confirmed his predictions. Because religion and politics have frequently become publicly entwined, the lack of historical context is a major issue now more than ever.
We have grown accustomed to this sad circumstance, where the parade of data frequently lacks the necessary context, particularly when it comes to religion.
In addition, most of the media in the Arab and Islamic worlds have difficulty defining what constitutes a fact, which is problematic if it is difficult to make sense of the facts that emerge in the Western media.
As an example from recent events, when Pope Benedict XVI delivered a speech on faith, reason, and the university on September 12 in Regensburg, the Western media focused on one specific paragraph as breaking news, disregarding how it fit into what the Pope believed to be the profound coexistence between faith and reason in Christianity, which he did not see in Islam.
Many experts, both Muslim and non-Muslim, have refuted that exclusivist claim. Furthermore, the Church's guiding document Nostra Aetate, which emphasizes the striking similarities between Islam and Christianity, was not being replaced by this speech by the Pope ex cathedra, nor was it a new doctrine governing relations with Islam. Practicing Muslims "respect the moral life and worship God notably via prayer, almsgiving, and fasting," according to the Nostra Aetate.
A theologian for theologians, the Regensburg paper advanced a view of the militantly secular modern West that many of the same Muslim theologians doubtless share with the Pope while making other arguments that many Muslim theologians would disagree with.
My argument is that the phrase was easily misinterpreted as a papal insult to Islam when it was taken out of context. You get what you get when you combine this with the unwillingness of the Arab journalists, in particular, to obtain information.
First, they ignored context, and second, they ignored not only the official papal perspective on Islam and the long collaboration and dialogue between Muslims and Catholics, which was started by John Paul II, but also the comments made by Pope Benedict a year ago when he met with representatives of Muslim communities in Cologne, Germany.
The Pope underlined in Cologne that Catholics and Muslims must look for avenues of reconciliation and that dialogue is an urgent imperative.
Even the academic paper's sidebar about the connection between Islam and violence featured as its most direct reference recent remarks made by Pope Benedict honoring the 20th anniversary of the interreligious gathering known as Prayer for Peace, which was started by John Paul II..
However, the Western press has a remedy: the follow-up article that tries to create a different narrative from the initial breaking story and the op-ed column, despite our own journalistic drive to conflict and confrontation and our own immediate discontinuity from the backdrop.
So, both the pope's explanations and his well-thought-out analyses got a lot of attention in the Western media.
In contrast, once the state speaks, there is minimal room for protest in the Arab world, with very few exceptions. One of the most recent examples of a media-driven "Muslims vs. the West" drama that descended into violence was the opportunistic overreaction to the Danish cartoons last winter, in which several Arab and Muslim states played a demagogic role. Additionally, there hasn't been any evaluation after the "Arab street" has spoken.
Most Arab media outlets have shown little interest in obtaining information beyond one isolated paragraph and have made little or no mention of the historical development of Catholic-Muslim ties.
It is also notable that the two violent incidents that followed immediately after the initial press reports the burning down of Catholic churches and the murder of a nun took place in two of the three most lawless regions of the Muslim world: Somalia and the West Bank.
The most obvious and absurd aspect of the violence in the Muslim world in response to the Pope's remark is that it is all being done in protest against a Pope who is allegedly claiming that Islam is violent. Burning the Pope in effigy is metaphorical violence.
But let me also remind you that the confrontation line frequently limits the facts that are conveyed.
The difficulty in reporting any facts once a confrontational line is drawn, whether it be with Europe, the Pope, America, or Israel, or elements within that state who are then portrayed as the spokespeople for some monolithic Israeli society, is a problem in much of the media of the Arab and Islamic world.
For instance, there is the propensity of Yusuf Qaradawi, a well-known sheikh closely associated with one of the Islamist movements, to refer to "the Jews" when discussing a particular issue in the Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His popularity in the Arab world has been greatly increased by his regular appearances on the Al Jazeera satellite news channel. Of course, in part, this reflects how a conflict that was fundamentally between two competing nationalisms Arab and Israeli, or Palestinian and Israeli has been transformed into a conflict between Judaism and Islam.
This viewpoint has gained popularity not just in Palestine but also throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds. This is completely reflected by the ultra-rightwing religious nationalist elements in Israel and their followers in America, as is always the case with radical viewpoints.
At a conference a few years ago, I made Sheikh Qaradawi aware that among "the Jews" there were a few thousand peace activists who were risking their lives and their reputations as devoted Israelis for the benefit of West Bank Arab villagers who were being forcibly prevented by religious nationalist settlers from harvesting their olive crops.
The Israeli Defense Force in the area was forced to intervene and defend both the Israeli peace activists and the Arab villagers as a result of the activists' peaceful presence as the victims of settler violence.
These Israeli peace activists did more than anyone else in the area to keep Palestinians living on Palestinian land. They did this by trying to stop the settlers' secret plan to get rid of Palestinians.
This story, which has been going on for a while, hasn't been covered much or at all in the Arab media.
The story was covered by the Jerusalem Bureau of Al Arabiya, and it at least made it into the Cairo press courtesy of one of my former journalism students at the American University in Cairo (AUC), who now writes for major Arab media. However, the Arab media, which frequently encourages the viewpoint of the street towards Palestine, finds this story to be inconvenient.
Of course, if the subject is local a matter involving the sizable Coptic Orthodox Christian population in Egypt and their interactions with Muslims, or perhaps one of the few remaining Jews in Egypt then we shall hear about the heavenly religions in Egyptian state media.
Other subjects are off-limits when it comes to media and religion. I think Pope Benedict desires an open and cordial interaction with Muslim religious leaders as well as Arab and other Muslim countries even more than his successor. The topic of reciprocity is discussed in that conversation.
The Arab and Muslim states supported by European Muslims pushed for and won approval for the construction of huge central mosques in Rome, London, and Washington; Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among others, generously sponsored these mosques.
However, as of last year, neither a church nor a mosque could be built in Saudi Arabia or Qatar. The majority of Arab media will never bring up this topic.
However, there is little to no feeling of equality, of equivalent, or of an elementary quid quo pro, as in the instance of church buildings in Arabia and mosque buildings in Rome.
This is why the Arab press is outraged at even the smallest kind of discrimination that Muslims experience in Europe and America. In fact, the norm is frequently the contrary.
The managing editor of the AUC student newspaper from Egypt traveled to New York shortly after 9/11. This young lady is a muhagaba, which is a type of Egyptian woman who covers her head and neck in a thick scarf.
Since 1967, Egypt has experienced a very broad religious revival that is now reaching into the ranks of many highly Westernized upper middle-class youth, whose older sisters would not have worn the hijab. For the majority of women who choose to wear the hijab, it is a matter of piety or public conformity.
At JFK Airport, she breezed right through security and customs. A reporter and photographer from one of the two major Egyptian newspapers met her right outside the gates.
The reporter inquired as to whether she had experienced any hassles or inconveniences from Homeland Security agents at Passport Control or Customs. She retorted, "No, not at all." The news crew left to look for a new potential victim.
The majority of American media is morally upright by nature. Stories of perceived injustices against Muslims who have Muslim names, a Middle Eastern appearance, a beard, or a head scarf are published in the American press.
Muslims are treated fairly in these tales, with the exception of the Islamophobic fringes of our media (the majority of which is online rather than in print or broadcast).
Then there are the success stories, like when the Justice Department supported a Muslim student who was challenging a school district for denying her access to classes because she was wearing a hijab by intervening as a friend of the court.
According to the Justice Department, the exclusion violated the first amendment's right to religious freedom. To my knowledge, neither the Egyptian press nor any other Arab media outlet has ever covered this issue.
Al Arabiya's national bureau is based in Washington. This year, we have covered stories about the first American Muslim woman to be sworn in as a judge in the state of Michigan and possibly the entire country; a young Saudi-American man's valiant but unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination in Texas; and, most recently, an Interfaith Unity march in Washington the day before the 9/11 anniversary a march that started in a scuffle.
Kicker daily also cover all this topicsabout muslim world.
By emphasizing the universal ideals of Islamic teachings, the appropriate dissemination and comprehension of Islam can be improved through the media. The Muslim world could use the media as a very important way to spread Islam and communicate with each other.
Through media, we can communicate with anyone on the globe. We can employ them to advance the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (PBUH), preach and teach the Islamic ideology of peace and love, and disseminate the real message of Islam.
While some Islamic religious leaders discourage their followers from using social media, the vast majority of scholars and preachers take advantage of social media's effectiveness and efficiency to interact with the community of believers and strengthen their commitment and loyalty.
The media in the Arab and Islamic world has, until recently, generally tended to aggravate many political and religious pathologies through their disrespect for truth and veracity, a tendency shaped by their literary and propagandist forefathers.
They have been the least devoted to upholding Islam's own norms, which has caused hazardous misinterpretations of this faith
Ironically, the CNN effect has prompted a counteraction by amplifying these identical inclinations. Such countervailing trends indicate that the media in Arab and Islamic countries will not only adhere more strictly to norms of objectivity and truthfulness but will also become more faithful to Islam's own demands. That may be the most exciting development.