Malawi Journalists urged to report positive about Islam

Sheikh: Dinala Chabulika (Center) surrounded by Journalists 

Journalists in the country have been urged to take a leading role in writing the truth about Islam to avoid misleading the masses. The remarks were made by Sheikh Dinala Chabulika who is the National Coordinator for the Islamic Information Bureau when he hosted a one day workshop on Islam and the Media with non Muslim Journalists, in Limbe on Saturday.

Sheikh Dinala Chabulika  who was also the facilitator of the workshop started by giving  opportunity to the participants to ask any questions related to Islam.

The journalists were free to ask different  questions and the most dominating questions  were issues regarding  women in Islam, The Quran, the veil also known as Hijab, Jihad and terrorism in Islam, The meaning of Holy war, Polygamy and HIV & Aids , Funeral burial  and the place of Muhammad and Jesus in Islam.

Unpacking the questions to the journalists, Sheikh Chabulika managed to provide what most of the journalists said were sufficient answers to all of their questions.

For example, on the issue of Jihad, he said that the word Jihad means to strive. It is in the nature of human being to work hard, (strive, make jihad) for the betterment of one’s life. When asked the relationship the word jihad has with holy war, Sheikh Chabulika  said it is the propaganda using  the agenda setting theory from people who do not wish good for the Islamic Faith especially from the western media.

Sheikh Chabulika quoted the Hadith Tradition paraphrased as follows: when for example an intruder comes into a person’s house for a murder of him ,  his family ,  wife,  etc, if the owner of the house dies, he has died a Mujahid ( one who has been striving to serve his life or that of his family ) therefore this is Jihad .

The other time when the term Jihad could be used is in the battle field. This is the time when two groups of people are fighting one against the other. One of the group would be doing Jihad defending their land and he gave the example of Malawi that if it were to be attacked by any country, the people of Malawi would not sit Phwii (idle), instead they will make Jihad strive to defend their Country.

Similar elaborations were given to the above mentioned questions. In the end journalist having been contented with the well amplification of issues, they also asked for a five minutes interview which was provided to them. Among the questions they asked to the learned Sheikh was that what he is doing to some employers or schools who are still denying the freedom of dressing especially Muslim women in their respective working places or students. The Sheikh firstly commended the government for its understanding on this subject matter but also asked for more time in order to civic educate more people on these issues before judging anyone.

Commenting on the efficiency of the workshop, Mayeso Chikhadzula  and  Rhoda Phiri from MBC and Trans World  radio respectively said that it was an eye opener to them because they learned a lot of things especially on the issue of rights of women  in Islam.

Clement Gawani  of Malawi News Agency (MANA) said “ this has been my eye opener as I did not have this knowledge before.”

Other journalists who were present at the workshop are:  Frank Lokote of Radio Maria, Ruth Makande of Star Radio, Steve Chindongo a Freelancer, Rachel of Power 101 FM and Abdullah Kachala of Capital FM . The workshop is a series of workshops to be run by the Islamic Information Bureau in 2012 around the country.

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