Translated by: Manal Samhat
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will develop a media workshop, the first of its kind, in Brussels, Belgium, on 15 and 16 February, 2012 to develop media-related mechanisms to address the smear campaigns of Islam in newspapers and media institutions in the West.
The media workshop on stereotypes of Islam and Muslims in the media, which will be attended by Muslim and non-Muslim leading civil society organizations, journalists, intellectuals, and academics, represents a quantum leap in media action as it discusses, beyond rhetoric, the practical steps to address the phenomenon of Islamophobia.
The workshop is of particular importance as it will be held only weeks before the convening of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March, which will put Resolution 16/18 to a vote for the second time after its unanimous endorsement in the previous session.
Resolution 16/18 aims to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief. The resolution came as an outcome of bilateral talks between the OIC and a number of Western countries including the USA.
It is about time that such resolutions, which aim at fighting the smearing and distortion campaigns against Islam, be practiced on the ground through clear and agreed upon mechanisms. In addition to confronting the distortion campaigns, these mechanisms should present the bright and civilized image of Islam and integrate all efforts so as not to waste any effort or time.
The late Religious Authority, His Eminence, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra), says: The Islamic media has a big role to perform. It must concentrate on the general framework that has to do with the image of Islam and its concepts that were distorted and smeared by international governments and big institutions. The Islamic media should be committed to presenting the bright and civilized image of Islam to the entire world. It should also be concerned with safeguarding and promoting Islamic unity in all what it produces.
This unity, the Sayyed adds, would be established through a big media institution that embraces the Sunni-oriented and Shiite-oriented satellite channels, for Islam is bigger than anyone else; thus, serving it with loyalty and devotion is more important than serving certain sides, states and parties, and defending it and its concepts is the firm and constant basis that cannot be rebuffed at any time or place
[Upon the reception of a delegation from the Union of Islamic satellite channels on 24/3/2009]
In a related context, His Eminence confirmed that the Muslims should aim at winning the people in the West. They ought to study how to reach and open up to them. They should also improve the cultural and political rhetoric they address these people with in order to attract them.
[Extracted from the book “Challenges of immigrant countries, p: 24]