Media negative about Islam US Professor
LAHORE- The US Supreme Cony ruling on separation of the state and religion has led to a renewal interest in religious studies in the United States, Prof Carl W. Ernst of the University of North Carolina told the Lahore High Court Bar Association. Elaborating, he said the judgment had an interesting impact on the question of religious studies when the court ruled on a series of cases involving schools sponsored prayers and the teaching of anti-evolutionist doctrines in schools. The court held that ‘teaching religion’ is unconstitutional in public schools since that amounts to endorsing once religion over others.
The court, however, also ruled that ‘teaching about religion’ is not only valuable but also necessary in a pluralistic and democratic society. The doctrine encouraged the study of world religions in the US universities.
He regretted that Islam got a raw deal, mainly because of the negative media presentation. It was equated with extremism, fundamentalism and terrorism. One of the main stereotypes involves women. From haram to veil, Europeans and Americans alike have strongly reacted against the alleged maltreatment of Muslim women. It is for the Muslim religious scholars to dispel such misconceptions, though it would be difficult for them to compete with the media.
Certain cultural phenomena, the professor said, are already working against the negative images of Islam. Foremost among these are the translations of the Persian poetry of Jalaluddin Roomi, who has become the best selling poet in America. The music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is also widely admired. But a large number of their fans do not know that Roomi and Nusrat were Muslims.