Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Talking Heads and Ticker News

It’s been years now since the consumers of CNN and other 24-hour news behemoths have had to split their minds between talking heads and ticker news that rolls across the bottom of the screen – at a pace much slower than necessary. It’s arguable that a new human skill set will emerge from this, namely, the capacity to make simultaneous conscious sense of two streams of information, which neurologists may say should be impossible.

When I waste time watching the news, I keep an eye out for the words “Muslim” or “Islam.” In any given ten yards of rolling script, we come across these watch words. A few days ago I read this (or close to it): “Muslim cleric says women without the veil are like meat.” The meat comment is unfortunate, but is it news? One guy says something stupid and the ticker editor must make a news judgment. Sheikh Taj El-Din Hamid Hilaly, head religious authority of Australia's biggest mosque in Sydney, made the comment a month before it was reported. Firas Ahmad, senior editor of Islamica Magazine, questions the news value of meat-gate. You may read what he says in a brief article on He wonders why Hilaly’s comment has received more media attention than, say, the Open Letter to the Pope signed by 38 prominent Muslim scholars around the world.

The article right above it, however, is far more disturbing, and its exclusion from national headline news is mind-boggling. Imam Zaid Shakir writes about "Alia Ansari, the Afghani-American mother of six who was gunned down in central Fremont last Thursday as she walked to pick up her children from school." God grant Alia mercy and give her family patience.

The refrain is predictible but still relevant: What if a woman of any other ilk (fill in the blank) had been gunned down while on her way to a school in what has all the signs of being a hate crime?


Anonymous irving said...

The news that draws readers and thus advertisers, is sensationalistic news, so meat makes it while 38 Muslim leaders writing to the Pope does not.

I had a post about Alia Ansari also, and there is now a fund being set up for her family. Go here to learn how to contribute, if you wish to.

Ya Haqq!

11/01/2006 4:16 PM  
Blogger Celal Birader said...

He wonders why Hilaly’s comment has received more media attention than, say, the Open Letter to the Pope signed by 38 prominent Muslim scholars around the world.

Dear Ibrahim,

I only learned of the Open Letter from your blog (and if you look at the sidebar on my blog you will see that i follow quite a few Muslims blogs).

That is rather unfortunate since it the best piece of Islamic apologetic i have come across. Considering the list of signatories that should not be surprising.

If you will forgive me for pointing it out,however, i must say the arguments under the follwoing heads were weak :

.There is no compulsion in religion
.Forced conversion
.Something new

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Pope did make himself an easy target.

Much, of course, could be said about the role of reason in Islam which would demolish his botched argument.

His praise of Hellenism is much too effulgent. In moderation it is good but in excess it leads to the kind of paganism which encrusts the Church of Rome.

The true Christian (as opposed to the flawed papal) perspective is , of course, found in the Bible.

Peace to all

11/07/2006 12:48 PM  

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