Islamophobia in Full HD
Anyone who is familiar with history of Islam and its development is well aware of facts that fear of Islam begun at 610 CE. After very first public call towards Islam (Dawa) people oppose it and slander its Messenger peace be upon him. At that time fear was not from one preaching the Message nor Message itself, rather there was fear that belief system that secured ruling tribe (Quraysh) stays on top would collapse. Many of Quraysh tribesman indeed believed in the Message but what stop them from accepting it was fear of losing their status and influence in society.
In time of Quraysh rule same as in today’s societies money was running force for everything, abandoning religion of their ancestors meant no pilgrims and that meant no trade. With all this being said islamophobia is nothing new and fear mongering against Islam and Muslims is really an old topic.
After fall of Berlin wall and Iraq-Iran war, western corporate interests turn towards Middle East and islamophobia got its place in the news and popular culture. “Bad guys” in movies and video games that were once Japanese and Russians became Arabs and Muslims.
Audiences worldwide were able to witness heroic figures, bearers of democracy and freedom saving innocent Arab Muslim women and children from oppressive and despotic leaders. Everyone wanted to be them and everyone identified with them. After 9/11 attacks and invasion in Afghanistan and Iraq mainstream media and movies narrative took different turn. Portrayal of Arabs and Muslims could have been as good and innocent, but after 9/11 they were all portrayed as guilty. Confirmation of this claim can be seen in recently released American war drama “American sniper”.
What audiences missed in this movie and rest of islamophobic propaganda is that most of “heroes” came to another country to fight for freedoms of their country which is miles away. If audiences would draw comparison between all propaganda movies of the West and movie Red Dawn (Movie in which USA is occupied by North Korea and war veteran who fought rebels who’s countries USA occupied, copies guerrilla warfare tactics to save the country.) they would understand that they have been lied to their face all the time. Even children in kindergarten could make conclusion that invading someone else’s country is bad and defending your country from invaders is good.
Events of 9/11 brought “enemy” to screens in our home. Organization called “Al Quida” and its proclaimed leader “Osama bin Laden” released video and audio messages to the world. It was direct contact of the viewer with “movie like” villain. Gruesome videos of executions followed soon and war propaganda could be lunched. There was no more need for that many movies and video games related to Middle East alto they didn't stop producing, there was long awaited boogie man from the cave that wants to take away our freedoms. Moscow theater siege came in perfectly and stereotypes and racial profiling of Arabs and Muslims was in full blow. Everyone who wore traditional Arab clothes became possible treat and everyone who has dark complexion became a suspect. All mentioned events ensured that support for wars in the Middle East is there and that “War on terror” is only option.
Many more terror attacks happen, not all were portrayed by people claiming association to Islam, but they didn't fit mainstream narrative so they were left out from public eye. Over the years veterans from Middle East wars came and told the truth of their involvement.
Majority of public seen it as another Vietnam and support for another invasion or sanctions was not there. Events of Arab spring proceeded and corporate interests seized their opportunity. War in Syria broke out and everyone rose against Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. Rebels were financed and situation was expected to end like it ended in Libya and other countries in the neighborhood. However due to expectations and red lines crossed by Assad regime, new and better boogieman rose.
On 29th of June 2014, Caliphate of so called “Islamic state” was established with Ar-Raqqah in Syria as its capital. On this day Islamophobia became full HD. For those who are not familiar with technical term “Full HD” it refers to full high definition resolution of video footage. What is different with “Islamic state” and their materials is that they revolutionized propaganda of terror. Back in the day doggy, phone quality or standard definition videos of beheading were present but didn't have much impact and giving attention as “Islamic state” PR has today. What characterizes “Islamic state” from its predecessors is that everything is directed and “movie like”. In matters of software they use “Final Cut Pro” for Mac and professionals and amateurs from video industry gaze at their work.
For their propaganda speeches and supposed executions they use multiply cameras and different angles and lenses. It seems pointless because it’s just “bunch of terrorists killing someone” however, everything is used precisely to get dramatic effects and focus eyes of the audience on suffering of their victims. If these videos were not on the news it would seem like we are watching movie produced in Hollywood. Apparent is use of software’s like “Adobe Premiere Pro” and “Adobe After Effects” in their promotional and documentary videos.
Web is full of analysis and reenacted videos of execution with use of “green screen” (green or blue background on which video is played as background mostly uses for weather forecast reports) and mentioned software’s which doubt authenticity of executions. Nevertheless, that doesn't concern majority of public and they are lead to believe that executions and victims are real.
“Islamic state” and its PR campaign will last till need for new boogieman comes, but long lasting effects of this madness will hardly be erased. Talking with my fellow Muslims concerning this topic I came to shocking discovery. Word Caliphate is no longer associated with nostalgic wish, rather something which is threat to whole humanity. Name Abu Bakr is associated with Al Baghdadi rather than As Siddiq r.a. Glorifying chant Allahu Ekber (God is The Greatest) is associated with killing of other Muslims. Pillar of Muslim faith Shehada (There is no God but Allah and Muhammed peace be upon him is His servant and His Messenger) and seal of Prophet peace be upon him are associated with beheading and destruction. I doubt that foot soldier of “Islamic state” know that they helped islamophobia triumph. They succeeded in installing stereotypes of dangerous Muslims inside of mind of Muslims, they installed disgust towards phrases and symbols of glorious Islamic history. Establishment of so called “Caliphate” did great damage to state of mind of ordinary people and Muslims in general and they did more harm than good. Islamophobia will continue to exist and it will be continues phenomenon but with its servants like “Islamic state” it advances rapidly.
This article is submited by Haris Heljo, also published in Safina magazine. You can follow write on his Facebook page, Bosnia Muslim.