Yesterday I came across two articles that really brought home to me how much of what is printed about Islam and Muslims has no basis in fact, and how difficult it is to make any dent in the general negative attitudes such articles generate.
Dhimmi Watch had an article â€œUK: Nurses ordered to drop everything and turn Muslimsâ€™ beds toward Mecca five times dailyâ€ in which they pointed their readers to the original article about this â€œissueâ€ from the British paper The Daily Express. This was totally untrue as reported by more than one source.
Another article â€œUnited States Stamp Honoring the Muslim religionâ€ claims that â€œThere is a Muslim sword through the 41-cents mark on the stamp, because the Muslims do not recognize the unholy money of America and the only way they would allow a stamp honoring their religion is to put a Muslim sword through the US monitory symbol the 41-cents marking.â€ This one is simple to check, just look at one of the Eid stamps. There is no mark at all through the 41 cent marking, and no sword anywhere on the stamp. Although, every year someone comes up with something new to denigrate the fact that such a stamp exists.
The same article about the Eid stamp also makes another claim that is often repeated: â€œRemember the Muslim Assassin Sirhan Sirhan in 1968 who still lives after depriving us of Bobbie Kennedyâ€. Again, any brief fact check would show that Sirhan was a Palestinian Christian.
Bernard Lewisâ€™ claimed that Iran would attack the U.S. and/or Israel with nuclear weapons on August 22, 2006. This Nuclear Apocalypse turned out to be milder than expected, and in fact never happened.
Many articles make the claim that all terrorists are Muslims – and this has been repeated so often that most people simply accept that it must be true. Again, a little research will show that this is not true.
Another of these ubiquitous claims is that Muslims donâ€™t speak up against terrorism or violence. The American Muslim has devoted a whole section to debunking this nonsense.
Lots of other things never happened, or are simply not true. Arabs didnâ€™t celebrate 9/11 at a Dunkin Donuts in New Jersey. Budweiser did not pull all its product from the shelves of a convenience store where there was celebration of the terrorist attacks – this never happened. An American Missionary in Africa didnâ€™t face possible murder charges and hanging because of a traffic accident. There is no verse of the Qurâ€™an on â€œThe Wrath of the Eagleâ€. The supposed bomb threat made by an Arizona student that led to an evacuation of the school was a hoax by non-Muslim students. The story that Iran was considering forcing Jews to wear a yellow star appeared in several publications and it was totally false. The slaying of the New Jersey Coptic family was falsely charged to Muslims. The story about the British banks banning piggy banks so as not to offend Muslims never happened. Muslims are not more likely to support terrorism and violence than Christians or Jews. Muslims did not destroy the Library of Alexandria.
The fact that these â€œnews storiesâ€ and articles are simply wrong doesnâ€™t change the fact that they are â€œout thereâ€ and that they will be read and believed by many of the same folks who believe the supermarket tabloids. They will be forwarded or passed on, and commented on, and the stories will grow and more and more people will accept them as â€œfactsâ€.
When Muslims are charged with something the word Islam or Muslim is attached to whatever crime they are accused of, and the story makes the front page headlines, when they are found not guilty or innocent, that goes somewhere on the back pages in small print.
The comments left on internet sites by the readers of these sorts of articles show the sort of response this sort of propoganda provokes. What I donâ€™t understand is who gains by such demonization of an entire faith.