Police block off access to Parliament Hill after shots were fired at Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa on Oct. 22. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Police block off access to Parliament Hill after shots were fired at Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa on Oct. 22.
Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Picture this: you receive a breaking news notification on your phone about a shooting that took place in Canada’s Parliament, and the first thought that comes into your head is “Please, God, do not let him be associated with Islam.”

That was the first thought that came into my head. 

Although the shooting triggered this thought for me, the tragic situation also had me wondering why American media outlets are such biased opportunists when it comes to Islam and Muslims?

As soon as the shooter was identified as being remotely associated with Islam, the words “terror,” “Jihad,” “terrorist” came flashing on the television screen. 

Please do not tell me these words were used without deliberation and thought, because these words were used in a purposeful manner to strike fear about Muslims. 

The thing is, though, the shooter was not even part of the Muslim community in Canada. He was kicked out of the mosque, which is a place where Muslims go to worship. 

As a Muslim myself, I know that the doors of the mosque are always open to anyone who would like to come and explore or learn about Islam, so to be kicked out of a mosque is very rare, and signals that this man was not normal.  

But the American media don’t let you know that information before highlighting the words “terrorism” across your screen first. 

What happened in Canada was a tragedy, and the solider that died did so as a hero for his country. 

That is something that ought to be highlighted, which is exactly what the Canadian media did through their own reporting. 

Click to expand.

Click to expand.

While scrolling through and watching different news clips from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the reports identified the shooter without the use of the word “terrorist.” 

They were in fact cautious to use the word, or associate the shooter with a religion without seeking out the facts, which sounds to me a lot more like what journalism and reporting itself ought to be about. 

Through jumping to conclusions, the American media are only doing a disservice to the ethics of journalism. 

Through this realization, one can see that the American media took a topic that, of course was tragic, and sensationalized the event by using these negative trigger words. 

Words such as “terrorism” and “Jihad” are used by many American media organizations, such as CNN, MSNBC and FOX, as a way of bringing a negative image to Islam and Muslims. 

This is not journalism, not the journalism that I love and respect. 

This is something else, something that is personal to me, which is that Muslims and Islam always seem to unfortunately be thrown under a bus for the sake of raking up some views. 

The shooter had nothing to do with Islam, and the fact that he murdered a soldier only shows that he is violating an essential, core principle of Islam, which is peace. 

But where is the media when it comes to talking about the true meaning of being a Muslim and Islam?

In reality, if Islam were such a “violent” religion, the acts of murder against innocent civilians would more frequent and widespread because of the high number of Muslims throughout the world. 

The media do a remarkable job of causing viewers to associate Islam with violence, when in fact, Islam is the exact opposite of the image they seem to work so hard to portray. 

Even if one was to give the media the benefit of the doubt, there always seems to be a catch when they attempt to explain Islam. 

One can see this during the shooting, as the media used the word terrorism or terror, but then later they clarified the shooter was kicked out of the local mosque. 

So I ask all my fellow media watchers out there to use a rational mind before jumping to conclusions.

While the media might be working hard to destroy the name of Islam for the sake of views, I ask that you to not let two-minute or three-minute news clips define your entire understanding of a religion.