DUBAI // The image of Islam has become tarnished, as the word terrorist has become interchangeable with the word Islamist, experts said on Tuesday.
“In general, the word terrorism has been closely linked to Islam and Muslims,” Dr Haitham Al Hity, a research and political analyst, told the Arab Media Forum in Dubai. Dr Al Hity was speaking at panel on terrorism and its portrayal in the media.
Chaired by Mohammed Tomaihi, a presenter on Al Arabiya, the panel also raised the issue of the definition of terrorism.
It raised the fact that certain acts across the world were defined as terrorism, while similar acts were not.
Some governments justify brutality by saying they are fighting terrorists, the panel heard.
“Terrorism has increased in the region, but initially, society doesn’t really feel it has happened, said Salman Al Dosary, editor-in-chief of Al Sharq Al Aswat. “It’s only after living with it for years that they feel it.
“Today, we’re involved in a third world war, but it is not being recognised.”
Al Dosary said that terrorism was not dealt with now, “finding a solution will take much longer”.
The rise of social media and the ease with which terrorist groups have exploited it also debated.
“Half of the battle against terrorists is conducted on social media,” said Aisha Sultan, a writer from the UAE.
“The war is not just against those who bear arms, it’s also against those who are behind the social media propaganda.”
Tomaihi asked the panel if they thought a media charter would help in the fight against terrorism.
Abdul Wahab Badrakhan, a writer from the UK, said: “The issue is not just exclusive to media.
There could be a code of ethics but that won’t help with the fight against terrorism.”
“Everyone needs to be involved in fighting terrorism.”
Source: uae news