Islamic and media scholars have pushed for balance in the media coverage of issues on Islam and Muslims in Nigeria. The scholars including former National Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Chairman, University of Lagos (UNILAG) Muslim Community, Prof Lai Olurode, said this at the launch of books on the Islam and Media series, written by Rasheed Abubakar, maintained that Islam, a faith professed by over 1.6 billion people worldwide, deserves a better treatment in the media than what currently obtains. The books entitled: “Media Narratives of Muslims in Nigeria: Facts and Fallacies” and “Islam and Modern Vices: Issues and Concerns in the News” were unveiled at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Lagos.
The first book reviewer, Prof AbdulRazaq Kilani, who was ably represented by Ustadh AbdulWarith Solanke, a veteran journalist with Voice of Nigeria, said Islam, a faith professed by over 1.6 billion people worldwide, deserves a better treatment in the media than what currently obtains. The professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State noted that Islam, a civilization which has spanned many centuries, is one of the biggest stories in the media. “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. It is the last man standing in global spirituality as others have capitulated to the forces of greed and worldly materialism. Islam has offered the Nigerian public space quality education, social welfare and above all intelligent and peace-loving people.”
He however stated that in most cases, such stories are misrepresentations of Islam and they are about scapegoating the Muslims. He added that many journalists in Nigeria appear to have taken Mark Twain’s quote – “First get the facts. You can distort them later” – as their foundational principle when dealing with Islam and Muslims.
The second reviewer, Dr Qasim Akinreti, Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos Council disclosed that the content analysis of the book: “Media Narratives of Islam in Nigeria” focused on Islam and Muslims in the media. Akinreti noted that the book, of about 14 chapters, reopened two critical issues in the front burner of Nigerian media discourse.