SHAFAQNA – If mainstream has long sold its journalistic soul to the pragmatism of capitalism and on the altar of propaganda sacrificed facts, many still lived under the impression that certain lines remained still too sacred to be crossed. As the saying goes: not all things are for sale!
I guess that was counting without the attraction that globalism holds on this media complex we call mainstream.
The Rubicon, ladies and gentlemen has been well and truly crossed … Congratulations mainstream you may now claim to have hit rock bottom!
On May 2nd 2017, the Mail Online – a tabloid whose claim to fame has been to spin scandals and spin inconclusive allegations to inflate its bottom line, took it upon itself to defile, belittle and altogether demonise an entire faith: Shia Islam, on account a Shia cleric based out of Australia allegedly made crude comments against women. Emphasis on allegedly!
While I will never attempt to rationalise misogyny – and yes any attempt to objectify women, whether through hyper liberalism, or religious bigotry qualifies as misogyny, I refuse to accuse a man – in this case a cleric, of wrongdoing on mere conjecture.
What happened to due process and the burden of proof?
Could it be that slander today has replaced truth so that our daily bread would be the sensational and the crude? Have all our lives become scripts on a badly written “reality” tv show?
Although I can appreciate how alluring it is for any newspaper to break a story starring men of God behaving badly – how entertaining it is to see men fail in their efforts to be held to higher standards, I draw the line at sectarianism!
Actually I draw the line at the Truth! Fact-based accusations are one thing – baseless fabrications are another, especially when wielded as weapons of war against a people on account of their faith.
I will say this to Mr Stephen Johnson, the author of that wannabe exercise in journalism: “Sir you just bought into the very narrative Daesh radicals have played against those who do not recognise Wahhabism as the expression of God’s will.
Not only that but you have managed to parrot word for word the hateful propaganda that has led to the massacre of my religious kin … Shame on you somewhat does not cut it!”
Johnson wrote: “Muta is the term for a temporary marriage in Islam, which can also mean prostitution.”
No Mr Johnson the word “muta” is not a euphemism for prostitution … but of course your journalistic integrity prevented you to conduct a simple internet search, or better yet, to ask those whose traditions you chose to sully.
It is interesting how the language you choose to enact echoes of that of Wahhabi radicals in Saudi Arabia and those militants who call for genocide in both Syria and Iraq!
I also find quite revealing how you exploited one man’s alleged “sleaziness” to then paint Shia Muslims under the brush of your ethnocentric ignorance … you fall short sir of drawing a cartoon – others, maybe more refined individuals, resorted after all to such ploys to back their theories.
Beyond guilt … which guilt needs to be established before we go about grandstanding on morality, lies one painful reality: mainstream journalism has become a tool in the hands of Wahhabi radicals.
And still you cry tolerance as your birthright! And still you claim to be tolerant in your scanting of the truth, when in truth you would much rather bask in your hate to shun a people for they dared live a truth that is not your own.
Do not judge upon a faith, any faith, without attempting to appreciate its traditions and read upon its beliefs. Do not think yourself so arrogant as to believe yourself privy to the intricacies of Shia Islam when all you see is ethnicity and dare I say “colour”.
Your allegations are vile, and your tone hateful – especially since all you have to support your argument, and what an argument but to fan sectarianism and Islamophobia, are mere speculations, digged out youtube and facebook videos and unsubstantiated gossip.
If the matter was not so tragic we would laugh … maybe not with you, but certainly at you.
And yet it is difficult to find humour in the selling-out of a people to butchery. Yes butchery! Have you missed sir the thousands, nay, the tens of thousands who, for being Shia, have died by the hands of violent Wahhabi-inspired radicals? Or is it that their faith made their blood cheap?
It is hate I read in your article and hate you scribed so that maybe your siren song would echo loudest of all.
What a beautiful exercise in western journalism sir!
By Catherine Shakdam – Director Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies