This talk was conducted last 28th Oct 2010 at H0.52 in Uni of Warwick. To find out more about the speaker you can google it up or click the link here -> x
Well Mehdi Hassan managed to deliver the talk in a very interesting and yet informative way. Cracking jokes from time to time, I didn't feel bored. The good part is, the jokes were all related to the topics we were discussing.
Now, is Muslim being demonised in the West? Mehdi conducted a survey in UK at few places. Some statistics mentioned involving words that are always associated with Muslim or Islam in the media in the West are, Islamophobic, terrorist, bombs and etc. All of these words bring negative meaning to Islam and Muslim. I failed to register the exact statistics mentioned but Mehdi did said out loud the statistics to all of the audiences.
Next he told us about another experiment he did with his friends. They took newspaper headlines or articles that are negative on Islam or Muslim and bring it out to the public. They then changed the word Islam with other 'minority group' words such as, Jews, Hindus, Blacks, Negros etc etc. They showed this to the public and watched and recorded how they responded and there were outraged and lots of angriness in the public when they showed this 'altered and changed' articles. After that, they show the original article with the word Islam/ Muslim on it to the enraged public and their response were like, "Oh really. this is normal." and suddenly all the outrage and anger were gone. This shows the double-standard and difference mentality of the public in the West towards negative stories about Islam and negative stories about other minority groups.
Mehdi Hassan also pointed out that almost all negative stories about islam printed by the media here were untrue and exaggerated. There were quite a number of summons won by Muslims when they fined the media for telling untrue stories. One interesting case was when the media reported "Muslim bus driver asks passengers to go out of his bus because he wants to pray." Well, the real situation behind this issue was the Muslim bus driver was told to stop as his manager wants to transfer the passenger in his bus to another bus because of some technical problems. While the transferring process goes on, the bus driver decided to perform solat on the bus as he has some free time and it is time to pray. This was then reported by a media saying that some sort of evil muslim tries to get rid of everyone, to pray.
After his speeches, some Q and A session was opened up to the floor with many interesting questions asked. Mehdi was asked what should we do being Muslims to face this demonisation problem in the West? He gave quite a resonable answer. He said Muslims should train ourselves not only spiritually but also to become people who are academically and socially capable of facing the public and speaking on behalf of Islam. We need more scholars and people who can answer all the accusation being thrown to us by others. We need people who can educate the public about the real value of Islam. Hence I urge all of us to equip ourselves and improvise so that we can become soldiers of Allah and fight through the way of Islam. In this modernise world, words and letters are stronger than swords thus we need to be intelligent, wise and capable to efficiently fight for the cause of Islam.
Good thing about this talk is, there were quite a number of non-muslims attending the talk too. May all of us benefited from the talk and this review.