Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

How the media avoids tackling extremism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Once more, the Arab and Muslims worlds are in confrontation with the West. After the recent attacks in London and Egypt, and the many before that, and the several expected around the world any time soon, the media in Europe have devoted their efforts to respond to the demands of their societies to discover who the culprits are, these suicide bombers who believe there are glorifying their religion and ending global conflicts by spilling the blood of innocent civilians.

Newspapers across Europe and the United States have featured a number of interviews, reports, and analyses in an attempt to comprehend the behavior of suicide bombers and understand the religious motives used to justify these heinous acts. The current vwave of iolence poses a problem for the West. After all, the young men of Pakistani origin who bombed the underground in London and the Moroccan man who murdered Dutch film director Theo van Gogh were born and raised in Europe . The continent is now riveted with a fear of the enemy within.

Important questions are being asked directly relevant to the Arab and Muslims worlds yet the events they describe seem detached from our lives. In the Arab world, readers and viewers discover these patterns of extremism through the Western media; the pictures brought to us by our newspapers and televisions are partial and blurred.

In our journalistic minds, despite condemning the suicide attacks, an analysis of who these bombers are affiliated to and what they purportedly represent is barely mentionned; an attitude which can be sometimes described as collaboration.

Wit is imperative we draw a political and social map of this new breed of terrorists beyond discussing their behavior as a reaction to global events. Of course Arab media organizations should be intimately involved with such an endeavor; we will cease to be associated with terrorists only when we begin discovering who they really are.

These men are the products of our culture and our values, whether we accept it or not. It is no use for us to say these men have been lost to relieve ourselves of responsibility. Suicide bombings and jihad propaganda (holy struggle) have frozen the contributions of Arab media in a debate that concerns us for the most part.

Just as the Western media asks if the suicide bombers are European or Muslim, we ought to ask ourselves how responsible our religion and culture is in raising such men!

It is no use hiding behind mainstream Muslim and Arab figures from across Europe and the United States every time a terrorist operation occurs. If we do not act quickly, our screens and newspapers will continue to be highacked by individuals who think the bombs in London represent the defeat of a superpower.

Such beliefs, often mixed with casual condemnations, are not discussed on air or in print. It seems our media do not consider it as one of its duties to refute such talk which is a threat to Arab and Muslims communities in the West. Just as Arab and Muslim societies have failed to tackle extremists in their midst, so have the Arab media failed to present a clear analysis of the problem of extremism. While in the past it was left for Western governments to tackle extremist violence, so today it seems the Arab media is surrendering its duty to its Western counterpart.