Labeling Islam with terrorism helps recruit for ISIS
As an American Muslim who honorably served in the US Army and wrote several books on Islam, I can affirm that the media’s generalization can lead to extermination. American Muslims aren’t naive to war propaganda tactics as in the days of Nazis labeling Jews as ‘Christ killers’ to pacify European Christians concerning the Holocaust. Most American Muslims see through the war mongers’ agenda, thus branding Islam with terrorism helps recruit for ISIS in three key ways.
First, stereotyping used by Judeo-Christian media as motive to bomb Muslim families worldwide causes American Muslims to feel like Jews in Germany pre-world war II. In a court of law, it would be ruled premeditated intentional murder to use labels and images that persuades the American majority to be passive towards destroying Muslim countries and supporting apartheid in Israel as proven in the Nuremburg trials.
America responded to 9/11 by bombing Iraq into political destruction causing the death of over two hundred thousand men, women and children. Since then, America has been bombing Islamic countries into political devastation such as Sudan, Libya, Yemen, etc… While the general American population is more upset about Beyoncé photos without makeup because that’s what the media features as a story alongside “Islamic terrorist this and that” instead of featuring stories on how the neo-conservative agenda has caused a humanitarian crisis threatening millions of people similar to neo-Nazis from the past.
Most American Muslims clearly see the intentional demonizing done by the media. It’s obvious when the thousands of serial rapists and serial killers in American prisons and on American streets are not labeled as Christian terrorists or Jewish terrorists who they overwhelmingly are, otherwise they’d be called Islamic terrorists. It’s also obvious to American Muslims that Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a neo-conservative who also funds pro-Israel politicians and helps pick Republican Presidential candidates. This is one of the three prongs that spur American Muslims to give thought to the question; is America at war with Islam? If so, what are the many options available to respond when your brothers and sisters in Islam are being bombed by American rockets?
The second pillar that helps ISIS recruiting when the media smears Islam with terrorism is positive reinforcement. Many psychological studies have proven that daily affirmations can sway behavior. A child, teenager, or adult told on a daily basis that they are evil can compel them to fulfill expectations. These studies have been conducted with all races and genders in America and have concluded that both nature and nurture have an effect on decisions and behaviors individuals make. Therefore if a Muslim grows up in America and sees his or her religion on every other show portraying the believers as terrorists and consequently brainwashing our classmates, co-workers, and social circles to suspect us as terrorists, then this can impulse an American Muslim to join ISIS simply for the sake of fulfilling societies anticipation of him or her.
At this point, fewer than a dozen of the millions of American Muslims have joined ISIS, but how many are pondering being an ISIS affiliate in America or a ‘lone wolf’ because the mass media is telling the public and ourselves to believe we are terrorists? The media’s intentional war propaganda worked in lining the pockets of warmongers with billions of tax payer’s money and having my religion and name synonymous with terrorism but can it backfire by having more than 2 million American Muslims, young and old, also convinced they’re terrorists? Of course American Muslims are sorry for any innocent lives taken on either side, but where is the equality, why the hypocrisy when 3 young Muslim students are shot in America and the killer is not labeled as a terrorist and no Jewish or Christian or Agnostic groups condemn that violence? The best and the worst is expected from American Muslims and when these expectations are reiterated over and over, then it may be fulfilled.
The third way that media vilifying Islam with terrorism helps recruit for ISIS is transfer of energy. Americans were so angry after the 9/11 attacks that their rage towards Muslims vilified by the media helped US military recruiting break records. This fury was transferred from America to Iraq, manifesting itself in places such as Abu Ghraib prison, where the current leader of ISIS was a former tortured prisoner. The transfer of negative energy, generated by media misinformation, transmitted from the brain washed American soldiers who poured their rage and torture onto the Iraqis, thus becoming the new carriers of the negative energy, and then converted to ISIS. Americans are surprised or bewildered as to “why do they hate us” because the media leaves out the storyline of how America radicalized most of these terrorists; Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Hamas, etc… were all American made radicals.
American Muslims are not as radicalized by decades of war as most ISIS members are, so recruiting us for ISIS is not as easy as it would be in Iraq. Although we are stirred by the news reports and I am worried that just as Chris Kyle of American sniper was stirred into killing over 100 Muslim men, women, and children, that transfer of energy can and does travel in both directions like the currents of electricity. Chris Kyle was an average American Christian turned radical by the media propaganda, so what would be so shocking if an American Muslim was also turned radical by the media marketing mass murder by associating evil with the world’s largest religion, Islam.
In conclusion, whether an average or naïve American Muslim, the media is saying “War” when Islam is equated with terrorism and if Islam is the enemy then logically America would be the enemy to followers of Islam. Personally I believe the pen is mightier than the sword and that spending your life being creative for Islam is vastly more productive than being violent, but the question is real; is America at war with Islam? When the media brands Islam with terrorism, the answer is yes.
If Americans and the media are really interested in stopping terrorism, then use the trillion dollar pentagon defense budget (the war mongers’ wealth) towards promoting democracy, fighting corruption, and career education in the countries that have had European and American colonial puppet leaders for decades. Decades of dictators who raped the Islamic countries of their resources while leaving the citizens starving only helps ISIS, even if it’s witnessed from thousands of miles away.
America produced the legendary singer Marvin Gaye singing “Only love can conquer hate”. America also produced the most profitable warmongers such as Halliburton who Dick Cheney was CEO. One must decide to promote love or hate, labeling Islam with terrorism or not is that choice. The first step to loving is understanding, growing up in America I was made to understand Christianity via the Christmas songs I had to sing in public schools, thus learning the joy of being Christian, if Americans can be raised also learning the joy of being Muslim, then there can be better understanding and love of nearly 1/3 of the world’s population.
Mohamed Ghounem is founder of Jews for Allah and author of How the Quran corrects the Bible; 200+ Ways Islam Unites Jews and Christians”