By Syed Farid Alatas

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Extra info for Covering Islam : challenges & opportunities for media in the global village

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As it happens, in the past few years, incidents involving terrorist groups that espouse some form of Islamist ideology have made the news fairly frequently, and this has led to some rather poor writing, produced as an instant response, although there are distinguished exceptions. Some journalists uncritically picked up handouts and commentaries from various groups and institutions without having much understanding of their thinking and aims. They are learning, it seems, and the active interventions of some Muslim writers and institutions have played a big part in countering the worst deficiencies.

4 I have a different view. It is such articles that create the conditions for dialogue. Singaporeans would not have benefited from Saharudin Kassim’s correction of Dhondy’s views had Dhondy’s article not been printed to begin with. Many Singaporeans may have held such erroneous views and here, there was an opportunity for these to be corrected. In a sense, the printing of wrong opinions has their functions as well. I would encourage more of such discussions in the media. Another problematic dichotomy is that of modern Muslims who regard the United States as a benign power versus anti-modern Muslims who regard United States as a malevolent power, as if to say a Muslim could not be modern and highly critical of United States’ foreign policy at the same time.

S. and UK, are presently concerned to encourage diversity in employment and remain very open to hiring Muslims. I have elsewhere proposed the establishment of an Islamic institute for journalism, with campuses around the world, to form new cadres for the profession. Muslim as well as non-Muslim governments and media enterprises should contribute to the creation of such institutions. 23 Stephen Schwartz In addition, moderate Muslim authors should do more to patiently, intelligently, carefully and competently write, so that they may become trustworthy and authoritative sources for Western media.

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