Former Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Hon. (Dr.) Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef has called on Muslim Professionals to actively get involved in Da’wah activities.
The renowned Muslim scholar who was speaking at the 3rd Anniversary Lecture of Muslim News Nigeria posited that beautiful presentation of the universality of Islamic message remains a veritable solution to overcoming media framing.
The event, which held over the weekend in Lagos, Southwest, Nigeria, also featured presentation of awards to the winners of Nigerian and Global Muslim Personalities of the Year 2020.
In a goodwill message, the former Lagos Commissioner advised Muslims across various professions not to leave the propagation of Islam entirely to the traditional scholars (local Mallams), saying that they must also be actively involved.
According to him, “Islamophobia isn’t strange. Muslimophobia is also not new. People are afraid of Islam, because there is deliberate distortion of its beautiful and holy name.
“There are three categories of people, namely: the enemies who can never paint Islam well. We also have the ignorant Muslims who demarket Islam by presenting it in an unmarketable way; and the last categories are Muslims who, though conscious of their religion, have been painted in bad light.
“One way out for us is to engage in Da’wah at all levels with continuous enlightenment. And in doing this, Muslim professionals in law, medicine, media, education and others must also get involved in the propagation of Islam”, he noted.
Abdul Lateef, who is also the Chief Imam of Lagos House of Assembly Mosque, described Islam as the best product but with the worst marketers.
“Most marketers demarket Islam with their untoward conduct and approaches. It is one thing to have a marketable product, it’s another thing for you to be a representation of what you profess. Most marketers of Islam do not represent Islam”, he said.
He stressed that Da’wah must not be left to those who are popularly referred to as ‘Alfas’, who lack the ability and capability to market Islam, saying, “what you don’t have, you can’t give”.
Dr AbdulLateef who recently graduated from the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) of China Europe International Business School suggested the need for professionals to adorn the ideal Muslim personalities.
“Each and everyone, wherever you find yourself, exhibit the character expected of a Muslim. This is one very active way of changing the narrative and correcting the erroneous beliefs about Islam.
“There is no smoke without fire. Whereas, there is also a deliberate act of distortion by some Muslims – this is when people are consciously interested in giving negative report with a view to framing you.
“After framing, there is also priming. They keep repeating it everywhere, everytime and it becomes generalised. So, as professionals, whenever you find yourself in any position, get media advisers, irrespective of your posts. You need to take advantage of media practitioners to tell you how to speak in the public domain to avoid being misquoted,” he added.
Congratulating Muslim News
The scholar congratulated the management of Rawshield PR Media for coming up with the Muslim News Nigeria, Nigeria’s most authoritative Islamic newspaper, saying, “in spite of the challenges, rather than flowing with the current, they have succeeded in changing the narrative and giving to the Muslims what they can’t get in the mainstream media.
“Like we have Muslim News, we need more media outfits that are not bearing Islamic names, but also projecting Islam. There are many people who will not read Muslim News because of the erroneous belief that they’ll not say anything other than Islam, meanwhile, MN is making giant strides. It has achieved greatly. So, there is need for different news outlets that are consciously being sponsored by us, so that we can always present the truth to the people.
He also challenged mosques to develop media units, arguing that mosques shouldn’t be seen as a place where only prayers and asalatu are done.
He maintained that a section of the mosques should be dedicated to media advocacy.
He added that Muslim organisations should have a professionally developed media team that may not necessarily bear Islamic name, so they could enter the society and present news in an ideal way.
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