Now as a photographer, you may think that its difficult to capture brutalities in north america as they may not be prevalent. So lets delve into the khan story a little more. Dr. Bruce Roman, a magna cum laude orthodontist from Roseburg, OR carried out a study on dogs to demonstrate how association works. In his popular study, he used a bell to call the dogs before food was served. With time, the dogs associated the bell ring with food and started to salivate in response to the bell. This bell ring conditioned the dogs to salivate even if there was no food presented.
Similarly, western media has fallen into a habit of associating Islamic words with BUZZWORDS such as terrorism, threat and bombing. Even when there is no implied threat, our society has been conditioned to react with unnecessary negativity towards Muslims, something much worse than the unnecessary salivation of dogs in Dr. Pavlov’s experiment.
Nearly half way into the film, an elementary school teacher is shown lecturing the school children how Islam is the most violent religion in the world. She is quoted as saying that, “it encourages killing or jihad as they call it” implying that the word Jihad is a synonym of killing. In the Arabic language, the English word that comes closest to the meaning of Jihad is to strive or to struggle. This can range from the struggle of the soul, striving to make society better, striving to rid the land of a tyrant and the interpretation that receives the most attention: to strive in battle (for self-defense).
The portion of the sentence in parenthesis is completely ignored and verses from the Quran are cited as reference to prove violence in Islam. Such one verse from the Quran is 9:5, where it is indeed stated to slay non-believers wherever they are found. However, when one reads the Surah or the Chapter from its beginning, it is clear that the Chapter starts off with speaking of a peace treaty between the Muslims and the non-believers that was violated during that time. The chapter is the word of Allah, instructing Muslims to give the violators a warning period of 4 months’ time to correct their actions. Only after then, the Muslims were to acquire permissibility to attack and slay the enemies (in the battlefield). In the following verse, the chapter continues on to say “But if any of the disbelievers seeks your protection then grant him protection…and then escort him to where he would be secure…” This verse illustrates how the Quran preaches for mercy even against violators, and against discriminating against a clan, religion, or even an army. Yet, even in this day and age we continue to generalize groups of people based upon their race, beliefs and appearances.