By Siti Baaqiah Mamat
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 -- The setting up of a dedicated television channel will provide a strategic platform to launch counter-narrative against Islamophobia faced by the Muslim community globally, said Prof Dr Zaid Ahmad from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
Zaid, a lecturer at the UPM’s Faculty of Human Ecology, said the setting up of a dedicated television channel would be able to dispel the stereotypes often portrayed by the western media when comes to Islam which had influenced the thinking of the world population in general.
“Islamophobia has now become a mainstream discourse in the West as it permeates into various segments of thoughts and is seen as influencing every attitude, decision and action, particularly in issues involving the Muslims.
“Hence, once this television channel is established, it will provide a platform to launch counter-narrative, apart from disseminating a more accurate and credible information, thus, attracting more people to understand the true meaning of Islam,” he said.
Zaid said this to Bernama ahead of the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 scheduled to take place from Dec 18 to 21.
The setting up of a dedicated television channel is expected to be among the highlights of the summit that will be chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad with the presence of Islamic world leaders, apart from thinkers, scholars and ulama (religious scholars).
Zaid stressed that the involvement of scholars and ulama crucial in the efforts to correct the news and false information that tarnished the image of Islam and Muslims.
Efforts to eradicate negative perceptions of Islam and Muslims required solid knowledge base and quality research as well as the ability to clearly understand the issues that were being played internationally, he said.
It will also help bring Muslims to return to the true teachings of Islam as set out in the Quran.
The summit, which is scheduled to take place at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, aims at, among others, discussing and finding new solutions to the problems facing the Islamic world, and to contribute towards enhancing the image of Muslims and the Islamic nations.
It also aims at establishing a network between Islamic leaders, scholars, ulama and thinkers worldwide, and to revitalise Islamic civilisation.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Chamil Wariya said in order for the television channel to succeed, it must offer balanced programming that not only limited to the Muslim community.
The television channel also needs to be friendly towards the non-Muslims to make the content more accessible for everyone.
Chamil said any talkshow or discussion programme to be produced should also be conducted in rational manner.
“To ensure a balanced content, non-Muslim academics with expertise in Islam can be invited to provide constructive views on the issues raised,” he said.
In addition, he said, the contribution of Islamic civilisation to the modern world, often ignored or downplayed by the western historians, could also be presented in the form of a documentary that could entice people to watch and learn.
Among the highlights are the Islamic banking and business ethics as well as achievements in sports.
He also suggested that the costs of developing and financing the television channel be shared among countries with similar goals in realising the idea.