Social. Political. Economic. Career| Seyed Ibrahim

Serious issues & ideas. Trusted Sources.

Smear Campaign Against Muslims

with 2 comments

Q: Why do people have negative feelings/opinions about Muslims and Islam?

A: Primary reasons are

  • Smear Campaign by vested interests (those who don’t like peace on earth), and
  • Attitudes and actions of a few Muslims

Q: How will this problem affect me, my family and my relatives?


A: You mayn’t get the job you are qualified for, because of your faith. Your lecturers may not give full marks for your internals or assignments, though you did a great work. Shabana Azmi and a few other Bollywood stars aren’t able to buy the apartments in Mumbai, as they are considered “Muslims”. You will face hatred in some places, and bias/discrimination in promotion, in government handouts, and other aspects. People may refuse to sell or rent their apartments/houses to you. You, your family or your house may be targeted. Your shop or company may be boycotted. You may be persecuted for no fault of yours, and worse, Lawyers may refuse to represent you (It has happened).


Q: What is a smear campaign?


A: An intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual’s or group’s reputation, credibility, and character. Smear tactics differ from normal discourse or debate in that they do not bear upon the issues or arguments in question. Smears often consist of ad hominem attacks in the form of unverifiable rumors and are often distortions, half-truths, or even outright lies. {Wikipedia}


Q: How to counter these smear campaigns?


A: Please read, discuss, act upon at least one of the action items listed below, and share/forward these. Here are a few specific action items to protect yourself, your family, and your community. Please help strengthen peace and reduce the hatred others have. This page is not meant to be read like a short-story. Serious problems/issues demand serious reading and consideration.


_______________________  The Beginning  ____________________________


Here is a verse from the best of speeches:

Verily, God does not change the condition of a people unless they change their inner selves; and when God wills people to suffer evil [in consequence of their own evil deeds], there is none who could avert it; for they have none who could protect them from Him” {Al-Qur’an 13:11}. The topics covered are



  1. Intellectual impotency (Or, lack of reading)
  2. Dawah
  3. Outreach
  4. Legal Work
  5. Media
  6. Politics

I. Intellectual impotency (Or, lack of reading)

By and large, we are an angry community. And we have real and perceived reasons for our anger. But, how many of us can really explain (to others) the reasons for our anger. Try to answer these questions:


What is wrong with POTA? Why shouldn’t the government bring back POTA? If your answer is “It is targeted against minorities”, do you think it will convince others? [There are many answers to this question; one among them is the fact that the conviction rate under POTA is 1%. That means 99% of POTA cases are fabricated/false. They are no weak cases (or benefits of doubt), as the provisions were mainly against the accused. Here is another argument from a Hindu, published in Economic Times


All the laws are failure because of non-implementation, and not because of no law. The terrorist problem is because of diversion from main stream, because of misguiding youth by terrorist mullahs, and because of injustice done to them by people. So a very big effort is required from all of us to undo that. We all know that how inefficient our Police force is. Not only state police, but CBI also. When ever there is pressure , these people frame charges on innocent people will punish them and then simply sit idle. Corruption, inefficiency, unaccountability, insufficient resources, inadequate compensation is eating our police force. How many of you have faith in Indian Police. Majority of you will say no faith. And if you will give these people with laws like POTA then do you expect it will do good for society. Talk to people who had faced harassment from Police and you will understand the issues because of such Laws. I think there is need to tackle above mentioned problems rather than making laws like POTA“]



What is wrong with printing the cartoons of The Prophet? If you answer “It’s against my religion” or “It hurts our feelings”, do you think your Hindu and Christian friends will be satisfied with that answer?



[Watching TV News, in my opinion, doesn’t improve your knowledge. Some of you will disagree. But the fact remains that in the race for TRP (or Nielsen or whatever) ratings, the quality of news and analysis gets a beating. I’d even say that News programs are bait for you to get hooked to other commercial / filthy items. Be honest to yourself: Is your TV turned on only for News and turned off immediately afterwards? TV time eats into the hours you (and your family) spend on praying, reciting Quran, talking to family members, reading books and good magazines etc ]



Across the Muslim world, reading habits are slowly dying. NY Times reported that all the book shops in a whole street in Rawalpindi had become video libraries or shut down. It’s a sad commentary on the Muslim community who were the beacons of knowledge light a few centuries ago. Before you dismiss this item as something that happened in a foreign land, ask yourself: Do we have thriving book shops or active lending libraries in Muslim towns? Do you read? Does your family, wife/husband read good newspapers, magazines, books?



Read, in the name of your Lord and Cherisher who created” {Al-Qur’an 96:1}


The lack of reading also affects us in many ways. Two examples:



a) How many times have we read the same criminal trick (மயக்க மருந்து பிஸ்கட் – bandits giving biscuits laced with sedatives in the train, and decamping with the victim’s valuables; knocking the door, posing as service technicians and committing robbery once inside the home etc) reported in the papers? If people had read the newspapers, the volume of these crimes wouldn’t increase.



b) I recently spoke to a rural guy who graduated in BBA 2008 batch. Forget BIM, XLRI and others. He had no idea of CAT exams or IIMs. All he could tell me was that the lecturers were telling the class “BBA is useless, and you need an MBA to get a job”. So, here is this guy, willing to pay a couple of lakhs to join (a worthless) MBA in some engineering colleges. I asked him if he reads English newspapers. No. I asked him the reason. “Our village gets only a limited number of The Hindu or Indian Express”. I leave it to you to make your own conclusions. But, I must say this: When i was a Student, I read the English newspapers in the Public Library or my college library. Every college library will have many newspapers. Studying in a rural college isn’t an excuse for not reading or for not knowing top institutes for MBA.



When we don’t read, we don’t thoroughly understand the issues/problems confronting us. When we don’t understand, we don’t know the right way to act/react. Reading à Understanding à Right action.



After an Ifthaar, while discussing about the recent attacks on Churches, one of my colleagues said “Have you seen the advertisements on the back of the Chennai local buses? They seem to be like straight from professional Marketing departments. If it had been Masjids (and not churches), a few people may be burning the buses rather than advertising on the buses” In those ads, the Christians are calling for “Prayer Meetings” to “protest against the burning of churches and attacks on Christians”



Note: The terms Newspapers, Books, and Magazines refer to both printed materials and online.



What to read? Read analytical Newspapers or magazines. Some examples: Radiance Weekly , NY Times,,  Frontline from The Hindu. While analytical magazines are important, i wont suggest we should read only them. We can read lighter ones too, like அவள் விகடன் for Women.


Read serious (NON-Fiction) books – Muslim History, Leadership, Management, Research reports, economy, Aqeedah, Fiqh etc.

Do the Presidents of US, CEOs of Corporations read books?

You bet. I read somewhere that many CEOs spend an average of FOUR hours a day reading books.

US President Barack Obama carrying Fareed Zakaria’s “The Post-American World” book. The other favorite books he has read include the below. (I wont recommend reading all these. Just wanted to give the width of topics a US President reads)


  • The Bible
  • “Parting the Waters,” Taylor Branch
  • “Self-Reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Gandhi’s autobiography
  • “Team of Rivals,” Doris Kearns Goodwin (Abraham Lincoln’s decision to include former opponents in his cabinet)
  • “The Golden Notebook” Doris Lessing
  • Lincoln’s collected writings
  • “Song of Solomon,” Toni Morrison
  • Works of Reinhold Niebuhr (which emphasize the ambivalent nature of human beings and the dangers of willful innocence and infallibility)
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Shakespeare’s tragedies

His predecessor, George W. Bush, has read 95 books in 2006, while his advisor Karl Rove read 110 books in 2006. (In just one year). Like them or hate them, they are good readers despite running the country. And, we complain “We are too busy to read books”. BTW, Barack Obama has also written books: This is my count. I dont know if he has written more books. But, keep in mind that he was the President of Harvard Law Review (a Journal). So, he must have written a lot of articles and/or research papers.


  1. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
  2. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
  3. Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise
  4. Barack Obama in His Own Words

If you are wondering, how come George Bush committed so many crimes (Economy, Regulation, Environment, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc), despite reading a lot, the probable answers are


1) he read wrong books

2) he listened to neoconservative blockheads

3) he was and still IS arrogant


Infotainment: Information + Entertainmentis the next level of knowledge exploration. We should try to make full use of it. It is a great form for learning some history. It is also good in the form of documentary to learn the contemporary events. Some examples:


  • Islam: Empire of Faith
  • Tipu Sultan – Sanjay Khan’s Serial in DD
  • The Message – Holy Prophet’s Life History
  • Lion of the Desert – Libya’s Umar Mukhtar
  • Kingdom of Heaven – About the crusaders and Salahudeen Ayubbi
  • Steven Spielberg’s Munich – About the Black September (Israel Vs Palestinian)
  • Nandita Das’s Faraaq – Post Godhra Incidents


A word of caution: If you (or your kids) watch films like ‘The Message’ too many times, you may start to associate the Actors’ images to the Sahabas  / Companions

II. Dawah:


There has been an acute shortage of Dawah works in India. Besides the Dawah centers, individuals and groups too need to pitch in. Though there are various definitions/ways/forms of Dawah, the focus is on two items, in this context.


1. Preventing apostasy of Muslims: The damage caused by Muslims who converted to Christianity for monetary reasons is severe.

2. Explaining the goodness of Islam: Even if they dont embrace, they mayn’t become pawns in the hands of hate-mongers. They wont hate us and Islam.



Let there arise from you a community [of people] who invite to righteousness, encourage goodness and forbid evil. These are the ones who are successful” {Al-Qur’an 3:104}


Here is an example, an edited case study:


There are quite a lot of Muslim families in the slum area close to Nxxx, who had no idea about Islam, and were mixing with their neighbors, too close to keep their faith. Br xxx used to hear these types of feedbacks from Nxxx Masjid imam.


Actions Taken:

Rented a small hut for Rs. 000 per month in the slum. Hired a local imam who is concerned about the state of those dwellers. The rent is taken care by xxx, and the Imam will be paid Rs. 0000.


Some volunteers also decided to take turns to visit the slum. This would boost the morale of those students attending the classes there, as well as the Imam.



The Imam raised a concern about the continuity of the program. xxx replied in affirmative – that sources of funds are in place.



Lessons Learnt:

1. Even a daunting task requires only a small step to be brought under control. It all started with renting a room + appointing a suitable guy.


2. Encourage the Imam, as well as the students. They feel good when visited by rich / educated people.


3. During the first visit a lot of members visited the area attracting the attention of the locals which should be avoided. Discretion in the future visits and limiting the number of visitors each time is requested.


The above experiment is not expensive (and not full-time for us) but more effective than the works of Thableegh people, May Allah Bless them, in those areas. Actually, we work with a few of them.

III. Outreach:


Call people to the path of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and reason/argue with them in the most respectful/courteous manner. Certainly, your Lord knows best who strays from His path and who is guided.” (Al-Qur’an 16:125)


This is closely related to Dawah. Invite others to your homes, Islamic institutes/schools, and Masjids. Judges, Senior Police officers and Journalists are three groups who need special attention. Here is an example set of activities:

  • Open House (A tour of facility, brief introduction to faith and culture of Muslims, followed by Refreshments, Q & A, and socializing)
  • Campus Dawaa
  • Special Event Booths
  • Banners on Big Highways
  • Ads in Major Newspapers
  • Faith Based Outreach

Full details at The invitation for Open house is here. Also, download and review the Guides for the employers, law enforcement officers, educators etc from Though these are prepared for North America, you may find some good talking points with your guests.


Here’s an example on how advertising on Bus works- 18 Chicagoans embraced Islam thanks to the ad campaign


IV. Legal Work:


  1. Our community needs to create some of the finest lawyers and jurists, besides journalists – if we need at least a sense of protection. This doesn’t contradict the fact that all things, good and bad, come from God. We know, we’ll get food; but don’t we work to earn?
  2. Being a lawyer doesn’t mean being a liar. And, good lawyers make decent money. Get over the generalizations and preconceived notions about legal profession. We need excellent lawyers not only to defend our rights, but also to bring the hooligans and communal/inflammatory speakers to justice.
  3. We need to establish an organization on the lines of Muslim Legal Fund of America MLFA Rather than individuals defending themselves, an organization should deal with the cases. Here are a few points about the MLFA.
  • MLFA aims to preserve, safeguard, and promote the civil & legal rights of Muslims in America.
  • MLFA works with a coalition of national Muslim and non-Muslim organizations.
  • MLFA works with a network of hundreds of civil and criminal lawyers nationwide.
  • MLFA conducts civil rights and educational seminars nationwide.

If you still think, “Come on, we can always get the services of lawyers. Let my brother / son / daughter study IT, so he/she can earn a starting salary of Rs. 50,000”, please be cognizant of the fact that in some Indian cities Lawyers have refused to represent the accused. Though some lawyers may want to help, some unruly lawyers’ agitation prevents them from coming forward. Remember, even if 1% of workers strike, the other 99% are forced not to work. Are you sure this will not happen in Chennai or Madurai, in the future?


Note: The Rs.50,000 i quoted wasn’t my imagination. That was from a Chennai Masjid Imam who told a brother, “I know about you IT guys. You start off with 50,000 per month. Since you dont know how to spend, you goto ECR on weekends, and do horrible things”. Those brothers and sisters in IT dont like this generalization / stereotyping / preconceived notions about IT employees. The point is “What is your opinion about being a lawyer or Journalist? Do you think that lawyers and journalists are poor?”.

Where to Start the career in Law?


Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) for admission to the LLB programme in seven Law Universities – National Law School, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Raipur, Bhopal, Gandhinagar, Jodhpur.
Application Forms Sale Starts: January. CLAT Test Date: May


Unlike the old government law colleges, Studying at the NLS is quite exciting. The teaching methods adopted for the degree program are such as to promote multi-disciplinary inquiry and practical appreciation of problems. The method of teaching involves lectures, discussions, case studies, Moot Courts and project work.


More Details: For details on CLAT entrance training, please search the internet, or read The ‘Education Plus’ supplement that comes every Monday with The Hindu. One training provider is Spread the word on CLAT and National Law schools to the 10th and 11th standard students. Please STOP complaining about the injustices and START doing proactive things.


Q: What will be your advice to those who want to pursue law as a career?

Answer by Ankoosh Mehta (A solicitor belonging to the fourth generation of a family of solicitors and Author): Today the field is far open than what it was less than 10 years ago. On the educational side, institutions offer diplomas in various fields such as information technology law, intellectual property rights laws etc. Law graduates can choose from a variety of options available to them. One can join a law firm, a legal department of a company, or start her / his own practice. Also, Indian legal outsourcing firms are offering good opportunities to young law school graduates as legal outsourcing business is gaining momentum.

V. Media


New media refers to Web, Web 2.0, Satellite Radios, and TV Channels

Old Media refers to printed Newspapers and magazines



The term media, in our context refers to those related to News, Analysis and Views. So, I’m not bothered about IT Websites, Medical journals or Local classifieds newspapers.



  • There’s a decline in the old media, and an explosion of new media.
  • There is a lot of consolidation happening in the media world. A few individuals, institutions, and industrial houses control a vast majority of media.
  • There’s a general decline in the number of independent old media.
  • Not all newspapers are the same. Every newspaper is read by a niche segment. For example, WSJ is widely read by influential policy makers.

Rather than lengthy paragraphs, I thought Q & A format would be better.


Q: Isn’t the world media controlled by Jews, to spread their hatred against Islam and Muslims?


A: Some newspapers, magazines, websites and TV Channels are in the hands of Jews and neoconservative Christians, like Rupert Murdoch who owns 175 Newspapers (According to The Guardian, UK) besides various FOX & Star TV channels,, WSJ, etc. There are many others that are owned by other people or organizations/houses.


Q: How can we use the media to tell our views / stories / analysis?


A: You don’t need to own media. Create a group of Muslim Reporters, Anchors and Writers. When they get employed by the newspapers and TV channels, you’ll see more unbiased reports and views. If we focus only on business, Engineering and Medical – we can only keep complaining.


Q: You are advising others. What are you doing? (This is not to brag about me. Sometimes the best way to motivate / induce action is to tell/show what you do. Fund raising in US is a public affair – your $5000 donation will induce me to donate at least $500. When I tell you what I do, that may generate new ideas. More info on publicizing good deeds is at the end)


A: I’m sending emails (Letters to the Editor) to The Hindu. I comment on the articles I read in the Economic Times and Times of India websites. I’m also sharing my thoughts on these topics with you now, and discuss them with my coworkers during breaks. I have this website where I post my thoughts on certain topics.


Q: What can we do?


A: Whenever you see/read news items that are defamatory, you can write to the newspapers, call/email the TV stations, blog on the internet, upload rebuttal videos on YouTube, translate/convert good articles or videos into PowerPoint and upload to slideshare and share with your friends, discuss in cafeteria with other students or coworkers etc. Use your creativity and the skills & resources you have.


Here is an example: There is a series of Dr. Zakir Naik’s videos on the YouTube about the topic “Is Terrorism A Muslim Monopoly”. A brother created powerpoint slides/ presentation using those videos and posted it in .


That is an excellent idea, because videos have some accessibility problems, like

1. Anyone with dialup connection can’t watch the videos

2. You need to be online to watch the videos on YouTube, while the PowerPoint slides can be downloaded and viewed any time

3. Some cities / companies may have blocked video sites. (I’m not encouraging wasting office resources)

4. If you are good in translation, you can convert those English videos into Tamil/Malayalam/Hindi PowerPoint slides, and reach a wider audience


Another example: Some brothers have translated the debate between Dr. Zakir Naik and Sri Ravi Shankar into Tamil, and made audio CDs of it.


The least you can do is email this page to your friends. If one person (Male or Female), who receives your email, and does any of the following, you have contributed something, and you’ll get the rewards for spreading good. (I’ve intentionally mixed “he” and “she” in the examples, to drive home the point that Women too have a role):

  • She starts a small lending library (with a few magazines) in her home {I. Intellectual impotency (Or, lack of reading)}
  • He initiates efforts to start a Dawah centre (in a hut) in a slum area, and stop the Muslim families from sliding into Christianity. This denies the missionaries an opportunity to vilify/degrade Islam using Muslim names. {II. Dawah}
  • She calls a few female journalists (or TV News Producers) to her home for Eid celebrations, and tells them the truth (our side of the story) or sensitizes them {III. Outreach}
  • He prepares for CLAT, and joins the National Law School to become a lawyer committed to the society {IV. Legal Work}
  • She writes to the Editor-in-Chief of a newspaper a letter like Journalistic Standards in reporting to stop a malicious writer from writing horrible things about Muslim leaders and suspects. {V. Media}

If you are a Believer like me, we know we’ll be asked,in the Hereafter, about how we spent our time and money. You will get rewards for every little thing you do to defend / spread peace, or remove the misunderstanding.


Q: But my writing skills are poor. What to do?


A: That’s not an excuse, Sir/Madam. Every skill is improved by learning + practicing. Read, Read, and Read more. Write, Write and Write more. Keep writing and your writing skills improve. It applies to any language. We need people to write in Tamil to Dinamani and Tamil news websites, as much as we need people to write to The Hindu or NY Times. Don’t worry about the mistakes you make. If we want to write a single letter, with no mistakes, we’d probably die before that. No human can make/write a perfect speech/email/blog/call/SMS/letter, and there is no perfect human specimen on the earth. Perfectionism is an attribute of God. Just do your best.


Q: Do you have any other ideas? Or, Do we need an organization to respond to local media?


A: We need a “Media Watch” – an organization staffed with brilliant writers, lawyers (with expertise in Laws and judgements related to Media) and analytical minds. The objective is to counter the false propaganda in the media, including taking legal action against the irresponsible media houses. Besides defending Muslims and Islam, they will also proactively work for better understanding of Islam.


Want to know how a ‘Media Monitor’, ‘Hate Watch’ and ‘Civil Rights Centre’ works, click here


VI. Politics

[2008: This was written in the context of Tamil Nadu, India, but it’s applicable everywhere. If you dont recognize some names, that’s fine]. In India, and most democracies, it is the political party with largest number of seats in the legislatures that form or control the government. It is they who

  • Pass legislation (like POTA, Reservations in education and jobs),
  • Control Police who lathi-charged the Muslims in Mosques waiting to break the Ramadhan Fasting in Muthupettai,
  • Release only non-Muslim prisoners on the occasions of birthday of leaders (like Anna),
  • Give away lands and houses (Samathuvapuram, for those who need specifics) only to Non-Muslims
  • Rewrite History textbooks. And, so on

So, it is obvious that we need to increase our influence in Politics. There were a handful of potent and honest Muslim politicians during and immediately after the Indian independence. My understanding of the current Muslim League leaders is that they aren’t up to the task expected from them. I read an interview of Mr. K.M. Kader Mohideen, President, Tamil Nadu Indian Union Muslim League. Don’t get me wrong, but some of his answers are ridiculous.


An example: “Like other parties, we didn’t organise any road agitation or Jail filling programmes, but we always put across the government our demand”. Well, anyone can put his/her demand to government – so what? Does this mean TN govt provided 3.5% reservation only because of IUML demand? Muslim League did agitate/demonstrate in the Shabanu case verdict, and fought for Shariat Law (During Rajiv Gandhi period).


My intention here is not to attack an individual leader or a party or the reservation issue. I just wanted to point out that we need powerful, articulate and trustworthy leaders.


I commend the political (3.5% reservation etc), social (Ambulance, relief etc) and human rights advocacy (seminars, conferences including one by UN in Geneva) works of TMMK, and the works of MNP like Independence Day parade. Just like you and I, they aren’t perfect. But they deserve our support, for their community causes. When they do something for the welfare of the community, let us try to donate to and participate in that specific event. Though TMMK and TNTJ are kind of adversaries, the political scenarios require that we need them both for now. Currently TMMK is allied with DMK, and so they probably can’t demonstrate against the DMK for certain issues, while TNTJ will be happy to do it.


TMMK is coming up with a political party named MMK (Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, I guess) in December 2008. It’ll be wiser for us to support that party. I understand some of us like IUML or INL (break-away from IUML). It is no good to live in the past. Think about this – What did IUML or INL do to our Muslim community, in the last 3-5 years, in terms of

  • Releasing Muslim suspects who were languishing in jails for over 10 years
  • Countering the malicious campaigns done by RSS, BJP, VHP, and allies
  • Educating the community on our rights
  • Highlighting the atrocities against our community

Why and when we should publicize our deeds?

__________________________ End of the Article ______________________________________

The final Q & A:

Q: What if – I stop praying, shave my beard or stop wearing Hijab, will the people who hate Muslims treat me well?

A: You will be targeted for your faith. It doesn’t matter if you abandon all Islamic prayers, or wear a gold chain with a cross. Shabana Azmi is considered a secularist, activist and cinema actor. She couldn’t buy an apartment of her choice. A large number of Bosnian Muslims (in the erstwhile Yougoslavia) didn’t have a trace of Islam in their lives. Some dated (and married) their non-Muslim neighbours. Though they forgot their religion, their neighbours didn’t. Those Muslims did not escape the genocide, by the Serbs. Barack Obama is a Christian. Even he is targeted (as terrorist-sympathiser, unfit for becoming a President of US) for his middle name “Hussein”. The only option we have is to sincerely educate ourselves and sensitize fellow humans, and counter the hatred in a peaceful manner.


Final thought: Everything has a price tag. When you have less money, you can afford only a small house. You can’t buy a palace-like house with the little money that you have. It is the same case with food (road-side eatery Vs Star hotels), clothes and everything else. You know how big and luxurious the paradise (Jannah) is. The only currency acceptable for buying a place in Jannah is our good deeds. Do you think, you can get paradise for a cheap price? So, let us do some more good deeds, help spread peace and reduce the hatred. The rewards will be enormous.


Written by S Ibrahim

2008-11-07 at 4:13 PM

2 Responses

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  1. Mashallaha A very good and inspiring article



    2010-11-24 at 6:31 PM

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