Published On:21 January 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Ridley urges Indian Muslims to join media

Hyderabad, India: Award winning British journalist Yvonne Ridley has urged Muslims to join the media since it is the most powerful and effective way to spread the message about the purity of Islam and also to counter Islamophobia around the world.

The London-based journalist, who was captured by the Taleban while on an undercover assignment in Afghanistan in 2001 and converted to Islam in 2003 after her release, was addressing a gathering of women and journalists at the “Spring of Islam” conference organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami in the city. Yvonne’s address was through video-conference since the Indian government had denied her visa to participate in the three-day conference.

Pointing out that ‘ambitious’ parents wanted their children to become doctors, scientists, engineers and lawyers, Yvonne wondered why they were not encouraging their sons and daughters to join the media as writers, photographers, filmmakers and documentary makers.

Stating that Muslims, by joining the media, can counter lies and distortions about Islam, she said: “We need to lift the veil of ignorance towards Islam from the face of the West and the best way is to create more and more journalists from within our ranks.

“Misinformation, deliberate or otherwise, and negative stereotypes, heighten tension and legitimise imperialistic wars, brutality and torture of Muslims, We can make people see Islam as a religion which promotes peace, encourages education and does not discriminate against women.”

The war journalist, who made headlines following her capture by the Taleban, said: “The pen is mightier than the sword, and I truly believe it is. We must arm ourselves and be prepared to use it as a potent weapon in the war of words.”

Stating that the 9/11 attacks changed her life forever, Ridley said: “9/11 brought us to the war on terror and the media began to portray Islam as an enemy towards mankind, especially the West.

Islam became the new face of the public enemy, and Muslims, whether young or old, became targets of physical and verbal abuse. Men, women and children were targeted in work places, schools, universities and in streets in the West.

I know similar abuse has been meted out to my Muslim brothers and sisters in India... Islam is not a threat to India. It is not a threat to mankind or humanity.”

On the Indian government’s denial of visa to her, Ridley said in her post on Facebook: “The Indian government is refusing to give me a conference visa to address 50,000 women in Hyderabad about women’s rights... I would have thought that the catastrophic handling of the Delhi rape case, politicians would be more sensitive, but it seems not. “We women continue to be sidelined and treated as second classcitizens.”

(Courtesy: The News)

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