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Oxford University Press
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How does the media view Indian Muslims in an age of global Islamic extremism? How far is jihadi pan-Islamism a part of the popular Indian Muslims consciousness? How are Indian Muslims dealing with media distortions of a delicate, nuanced issue? This volume discusses these pertinent questions.
The contributorswell-known media commentators, scholars, and activists, - focus on the politics of Muslims identity, the portrayal of the community in the media, and its relationship with civil society. They anlyse the contours of mass politicsespecially prevalent in northern India - based on the stereotyping of Muslims.
The essays also discuss the challenges and concern of a people wrecked by powerful internal churning and debates on identity. In facts, the increasing radicalization in the community in the face of heightened global mistrust and isolation is attributed to some of these tensions.
The volume will interest student and scholars of politics, history, and religious and Islamic studies as well as journalists and general readers.
Ather Farouqui has a PhD from Jawarlal Nehru University, and is a freelance writer based in New Delhi. He earlier edited Redefining Urdu Politics in India (OUP 2006).
In this post-9/11 (2001), post-Iraq invasion (2003), post-London blasts 7/7 (2005), post-Glasgow world 30/6 (2007), and following the serial blast in local trains in Mumbai 7/11 (2006), and recently in many cities of India (2008), the topicality and relevance of the theme of Muslims identity are universal because of the aspect of pan-Islamic identity. If we discuss Muslims in India, most of the broader aspects are applicable to the rest of the world and vice versa. Being Muslims in today's world often means carrying a special burden of suspicion and prejudice on the one hand, and social, political, and religious conservatism on the other. The common Muslims is caught between the increasingly strident anti-Muslims propaganda of the West and the equally strident religious fervour of the 'jihadi' Muslims. Both sides are pushing the common Muslims towards making a clear choice between either being anti-Muslims or being pro-jihadi. However, this is not a choice that every Muslims wants to make. But it is a dilemma that has driven many Muslims to become followers of militant Islam. The situation is the same for Muslims in India and so is the impact of fringe extremism, though it is manifested differently because of a Hindu majority and the secular nature of the Indian Constitution; this makes the case of Muslims in India more complex.
While civil society is often suspicious and distrustful of Islam and Muslims, Muslims believe that non-Muslims society is no way out for a person who does not wish to belong to either party or subscribe to either point if view. His/her situation epitomizes the old saying: 'Those who are not with us are against us, and therefore our enemies; Although most Muslims do not at all subscribe to the extremism of militant Muslims groups that are growing alarmingly I believe it is important to understand the reasons behind their formation and increasing aggression. This is the quest out of which the volume has emerged.
This ideology, besides being obviously destructive and suicidal, has plenty of contradictions. It aims at destruction, carnage, and upheaval in the modern world. These so-called Muslims want to destroy the civilized world-to the development of which they have contributed little, while enjoying its comfortsterming it anti-Islamic in justification of this aim. However, there has never been one sole model of Islam even in the past and there certainly is none in the modern pluralistic world. It is difficult to imagine that these militant Islamic groups are advocating a world compatible with a desert culture of 1,400 years ago. Even in those times Islam was already divided, resulting in the murder of three caliphs out of four immediately after the demise of Prophet Mohammad! Thus the cause of Muslim antagonism against all other groupsreligious, culture, and social might be said to be based on ideological among various sects and sub-sects of which there are hundreds, if not thousands of Muslims. There remain unresolved contradictions and conflicts within Muslims society from the very time of the advent of Islam.
It is apparent that no exclusivist culture, especially the 'Muslim' culture dreamt of by Islamists, would be able to survive in the free market economy that dictates contemporary geopolitics. Muslims are participating in and enjoying the fruits of global activitysocial, cultural, economicboth IT- and diaspora-driven; yet they are often engaged in the quest for an exclusive Muslim society or culture with supposedly 'Islamic' characteristics and this defies logic; The entire civilized, cultured, affluent, and educated world is perceived to be in the hands militants have nothing practical to offer as a constructive alternative to what they want to destroy.
|List of Tables||ix|
|1.||Muslims and Media Images: Where Things went Wrong||25|
|2.||Muslims and the Press: Some Reflections||36|
|3.||Muslims and the Indian Press||40|
|4.||Indian Press: The Vernacular and the Mainstream Babel||46|
|5.||Contested Representations in Historical Perspective: Images of Islam and Australian Press, 1950-2000||58|
|6.||The print Media and Minority Images||91|
|7.||Minority Images in the Indian Print Media||100|
|8.||Muslims and the World Forum||117|
|9.||Of Fish and Beef, the New Recipe of the Muslim Identity: A Journey through the Cultural Prism of West Bengal||125|
|10.||Issues of Geon Muslims as see in the Geon Press||140|
|Charles J. Borges|
|11.||The Ayodhya Controversy in the Czech Press of the 1990s||158|
|12.||Indian Muslims and Free Press||167|
|13.||Islam and the West: Ominous Misunderstandings||202|
|Susan B. Maitra|
|14.||Urdu Newspapers in India: Waiting for Citizen Kane?||221|
|15.||Urdu Press in India||237|
|16.||Muslims and the Press||253|
|17.||Is Urdu Journalism in India a Lost Battle?||262|
|18.||Bollywood Films with Special Reference to Urdu Politics and Muslims||295|
|19.||Indian Muslims and Indian Films: Some Observations of Contemporary Indian Art Cinema||301|
|John W. Hood|
|Appendix I: Medium is the Image||327|
|Appendix II: Who's the Real Muslims?||330|
|Notes on Contributors||336|