In one of the largest organized marches in the history of the world, reportedly 20 million Muslims march against ISIS while the media kept silent?. In November 2016, millions of Shia Muslims risked their lives and traveled through war-stricken areas to allegedly stand against ISIS. Somehow, this massive event was almost entirely ignored by mainstream media. Perhaps, the country was too focused on a “proposed” ban to pause and acknowledge this dangerous feat. Otherwise, how could the media miss this positive Muslim story?
Unfortunately, mainstream media has a history of “missing” news that does not seek to divide the country. In July 2016, a Muslim hero named Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi saved hundreds of lives by hugging a suicide bomber to avoid mass death, but the news missed a chance to celebrate his efforts and remained silent. The attack at the Sayyed Mohammad Shrine in the town of Balad was poised to be a mass murder scene, but, thanks to a selfless hero, the death toll was far less. How did the media miss such a courageous act?
Reportedly, the Arbaeen March has taken on a dual purpose. Originally created as an annual event marking the end of the 40-day mourning period following the religious ritual named Ashura, and now also encompasses the Shia resistance and alleged protest against ISIS terrorists. Men, women, children, and the elderly made their way to the city of Karbala despite recent ISIS attacks. They marched on, knowing that an ISIS suicide bomber had just struck near Karbala the previous week.
Not all Muslims are killers; contrariwise, many detest and fear ISIS as much as the next person. Those who judge an entire religion based on the actions of a few create a narrative that puts billions of innocent lives in jeopardy. A volunteer at the 2015 Arbaeen March said:
Unfortunately media outlets have gone for stories that to some extent can be divisive. If a group of Muslims does something good, it is not mentioned or the religion is not mentioned. But, if someone does something negative it lands on the front page and their religion is mentioned.
History paints a picture where most religions have at one time or another perpetuated violence in the world. Today, ISIS has successfully controlled the perception of many Americans and made them see things in black and white when it comes to the Islamic community. Any establishment that drives hate toward an entire religion is the enemy of peace and unity. Is that how the media missed this Muslim story?
A series of threats against Muslims have left many Muslim-Americans fearful and open to the victimization of hate crimes. America’s leading man and his team have instigated much of this fear and has caused them to ostracized and even attacked. A mosque in California received an anonymous letter that stated:
There’s a new sheriff in town — President Donald Trump. He’s going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And, he’s going to start with you Muslims.
Has mainstream media missed positive stories surrounding the Islamic religion because of the drastic focus to ban them all? This is not the way to offset ISIS; instead, it continues to fuel this organized mafia. The way to sway the mission of ISIS is to demonstrate that freedom and tolerance are far more powerful than hate and bigotry ever will be. Did the mainstream media really miss the opportunity to report on the millions of Muslims who risked their lives marching against ISIS?
Truth is, millions of Muslims did participate in a mass pilgrimage to Arbaeen, an annual religious holiday, despite the presence of ISIS in nearby areas. However, it was not designed to defy ISIS. It was completed in spite of the risk that ISIS posed against the area and not a direct defiance against ISIS as some alternative media sites have reported. Contrariwise, Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi’s is true, and unfortunately, mainstream media was nearly silent.
The irony of this article is it contains many truths that confirm society’s obsession with hating what and who they do not understand. It is time to stop being so judgemental and instead become curious and open to new information and lifestyles. All Muslims are not bad. All black people are not dangerous. All white people are not racists. It is time to find ways of instituting peace, instead of war while creating opportunities to demonstrate unity in diversity.
Satire by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
The Independent: 20 million Muslims march against ISIS
Free Thought Project: Muslim Man Dies Saving Hundreds of Lives by Hugging a Suicide Bomber
Time: Hate Toward Muslims Is Growing and It’s Donald Trump’s Fault
Snopes: Million Muslim March
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Featured Image Courtesy of David Stanley’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License