The Media’s Bias against Islam’s Preachers

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وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.
[Holy Qur’an, 8:30]

In light of the recent barbaric massacre in Orlando, various political activists and presidential candidates have shown their true colors by their method of grievance after the shooting. Some used it to further propagate their anti-Second Amendment agenda while others used it as another means for spewing the all too often baseless, prejudiced and counterproductive hatred for Muslims and Islam alike. In ether case, there’s absolutely no hope for sincerity as everyone’s looking out for themselves and the ideology they’re subjugated to. However, this multibillion-dollar business sponsored channeling of hatred is occasionally partial in spreading the same news when it’s perpetrated by different groups. This biased attitude towards condemning bigotry creates an unprecedented negative perception against the group that’s unconditionally berated, day in and day out. For whatever reason that shall be discussed at another time, Muslims are the unlucky hapless victim of media’s favoritism. Expectantly, these hatefully ignorant sentiments towards Muslims – carelessly wandering in the minds of the laymen – occasionally manifests itself in dangerous hate crimes that have stricken the Muslims Community in North America far too many exasperating times.

Only hours after the Orlando shooting by a paradoxically closeted Islamist, ISIS praising and Al-Qaeda supporting extremist, renowned media outlets commenced an unprecedented smear campaign against a reputable Shia scholar and British doctor, Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar, in hopes of establishing an irrelevant link between the two. Besides the obvious nonconformity between a Shia scholar and a sexually confused ISIS fanboy, the academic statements of Dr. Sekaleshfar were taken out of context with the intention of mislabelling him as a homophobic, hate-preaching Shia cleric. Given the medias tainted reputation of serving an Islamophobic agenda, the story was picked up by myriads of outlets – some of the few being: Daily Mail, ABC, Lybio, The Daily Beast, The Telegraph, The Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, Fusion, Herald Sun, Advocate, WFTV Channel 9, News Australia, WND, Breitbart, IB Times, The Star, BBC News. Breitbart, a racist alt-right “conservative” news outlet, went as far as to headlineWeeks Before Orlando Terror: British Imam Visited Central Florida To Preach ‘Death To Gays’” even though Dr. Farrokh Sekaleshfar’s academic speech was given in 2013, 3 years prior to the horrendous mass-shooting incident in Orlando. Breitbart’s misleading title is nothing in comparison with Inquisitr’s well-intentioned blunder of the lecture being given “days before” even though it was given 1095 days, give or take, before the shooting.

Then came the deceitfully baseless accusation of International Business Times that Dr. Farrokh Sekaleshfar, a Shia cleric, was linked with Omar Mateen. It only takes a high school World Religions class’ understanding of Islam to figure the fallaciously antithetical correlation between a Shia cleric and an alcohol consuming, gay club attending , pornography watching, wife beating, drug abusing and sexually confused ISIS fanboy. For starters, the terrorist organizations Omar Mateen affiliates with don’t even consider Shias to be Muslim – hence ISIS’s insistence on shedding Shia blood to being halal (legally permissible). On logical terms, the chances of Dr. Sekaleshfar and Omar Mateen conspiring together is just as slim as mainstream medias ability to enact as an objective news source – zilch! If anything, provided with the means, this brainwashed lunatic would’ve first killed Dr. Farrokh before going out of his way to brutally massacre those present in his frequently visited gay club. It should however be needless to say that in either scenario, both acts of terrorism would equally be an attack on humanity.

This time, the Daily Mail outperformed Breitbart on bigotry by hitting two birds with one stone. Not only did it claim Dr. Farrokh “called for gays to be ‘executed’”- although no verdict or personal statement was given, his lecture was purely based on Islamic jurisprudence – but it also mimicked Breitbart’s dirty lie of Dr. Farrokh lecturing only “weeks before” the shooting in Orlando.

I won’t be spending any time defending Dr. Farrokh Sekaleshfar as he has done it himself thoroughly with two statements and a YouTube video. What I will be spending time doing is shedding light on the homophobic hate preaching’s of evangelical pastors subsequent to the Orlando massacre that was shy of any media attention, relative to the underserved amount Dr. Sekaleshfar was a victim of. Bear in mind that what follows has more to do with the media’s biased condemnation of homophobia (even though there is no legitimacy in the case of Dr. Sekaleshfar) and less with whether the following homophobic pastors represent true teachings of the bible.

Our story kicks off with Pastor Roger Jimenez from Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento who delivered a passionate yet inflammatory speech regarding the Orlando massacre. Luckily for Christians, when a non-Muslim spews hatred or commits any sort of violent act, he/she is only representative of themselves, not the religion/political group they affiliate with. Therefore, it was anticipated for these stories to not be picked up by major outlets and left for the minor leagues to entertain themselves with. Pastor Jimenez told his congregation that “People say, like: Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died? Here’s the problem with that. It’s like the equivalent of asking me — what if you asked me: Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” This poor excuse for a human being isn’t alone in these vile opinions, Pastor Steven Andersen, too, further endorsed Jimenez’s words. Worst of all, Jimenez went on to also say “If we lived in a righteous government, they should round them all up and put them up against a firing wall, and blow their brains out.” If this doesn’t count as a provocative hate speech – inciting violence on a group of people on the basis of sexual orientation – I don’t know what would.

As one would expect from these agenda driven deceitful media outlets, Muslims are only given a platform to either defame themselves – as Anjem Choudary proudly voluntarily undertakes – or the job is passed onto right wing pundits to do. Sadly, an innocent Dr. Farrokh Sekaleshfar fell victim to the media’s deceitful smear campaign. However way they plot against Dr. Sekaleshfar, Allah is protective of His servants and is the best of planners.

فَسَتَذْكُرُونَ مَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ ۚ وَأُفَوِّضُ أَمْرِي إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ

فَوَقَاهُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِ مَا مَكَرُوا ۖ وَحَاقَ بِآلِ فِرْعَوْنَ سُوءُ الْعَذَابِ

“And you will remember what I [now] say to you, and I entrust my affair to Allah. Indeed, Allah is Seeing of [His] servants. So Allah protected him from the evils they plotted, and the people of Pharaoh were enveloped by the worst of punishment.” [Holy Qur’an, 40:44-45]

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Amir Ghafarian

Amir M. Ghafarian, born in Iran, has an unconditional affinity towards shawarma and kabob. He reads too, sometimes, and occasionally writes.

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