Suspect in crime may have nothing to do with one’s religious affiliation

NAGA CITY---The Muslim community here has called on media practitioners to be fair and circumspect in reporting crimes where the suspects or even victims may involve Muslims where they are easily identified by their religious affiliation or belief, and worse, when they are quickly labeled as terrorists.

An Islamic scholar who requested not be identified for the moment but may be referred to as “Sultan Brother” for convenience in making this report said there are international news reports where Muslim suspects are mindlessly or intentionally labeled as Muslim terrorists even if an investigation over the incident is still ongoing.

Stereotyping Muslims in negative news reports, he said, is discriminatory, biased, and unfair because in the first place not all Muslims are terrorists. The case is different when suspects even in high crimes are not identified by their religious domination simply because they happen to be Christians.

No one would hear or read someone being labeled as ‘Christian terrorist’ or ‘Christian killer,’ unlike a Muslim terrorist or Muslim hijacker or bomber which is nothing less than derogatory.

Sultan Brother further explained that if a white man or non-Muslim shot to death seven persons in a murderous rampage, the suspect is labeled not as Christian but simply as gunman. But when a Muslim punches a non-Muslim, the suspect is quickly identified thru his religious affiliation, or worse, as a Muslim terrorist.

Harron, a caretaker at the Muslim mosque in Brgy. Concepcion Pequena here, asked members of the media to be sensitive in delivering news about crime where Muslim suspects are involved, They may be identified, he said by their names and their residence without attaching as derogatory their non-Christian affiliation.