Dealing with anti-Islamic Websites
Yahya Abdur Rahman
One of the downsides of the internet is that it has given our critics and enemies an opportunity to publicly defame the religion of Islam. I guess this is the price of having freedom of speech. Sometimes you have to read and hear things which are just plain detestable.
The fact of the matter is that its enemies have defamed Islam from the very beginning and this is not about to change anytime soon. What's more, since Muslims are in a very weak position these days, the amount of anti-Islamic propaganda is on the rise from many quarters. I am sure we have all encountered numerous websites that have slandered the Prophet (s), twisted the meaning of the Quran, attacked the companions of the prophet, etc. The more disturbing thing is the ease with which millions of people now have access to this information as a result of the growth of the internet.
Our first reaction is to get angry and get all fired up with zeal to do something about it when we find these offensive sites. It is indeed a good sign of strong faith if we get angry when our faith is under attack, and may Allah always keep our faith in Islam strong. But this is not enough to effectively combat this new attack on Islam.
Her I want to offer a few suggestions on dealing with these anti-Islamic websites so we can more effectively counter this continuing and mounting menace:
1) Keep your cool: As I said before, it is good to be angry when you see Islam attacked, but keep your cool and act with a level head. When we are overly angry we cannot act rationally and thus we undermine our goals. We will do and say things that later on we will regret. For example, we may be tempted to attack the person's religion in a bad way which is not permissible in Islam.
2) Don't write back to the unless webmaster unless you are ready: For the most part these people thrive on confrontation. They would love for you to respond and are ready for a quick answer. Remember, many of these people know a lot about Islam so if you are not ready for them they will soundly defeat you in any argument. Also, if you answer back but don't have the proper knowledge you will end up making Islam and Muslims look worse. Some webmasters actually post all responses on the website for all to read. The sillier the response then the more likely it will be placed on the site. Please note, just because someone wins a particular argument does not mean they are right. The loser may just not have all the information on hand at the time of the argument.
3) Don't try to have the page removed from the internet: Many Muslims try to have the website removed from the internet altogether by writing the company which hosts the site and complaining. In my opinion this is a waste of time. Even if the host removed the site they can open up in a few days under another host, so our time is wasted on such efforts.
4) Don't publicize the site to others: One of the biggest mistakes we commit is to tell others about the offensive website. All this does is give the site owner free publicity which is what he/she wants. If you see an offensive site don't spread it all over the place as you are actually helping the site owner when doing this.
5) Best defense is a good offense: Finally, the best defense against anti-Islamic websites is to develop your own excellent website which presents Islam in a beautiful and accurate manner. Many people are out there searching for answers and more and more are turning to the internet to find these answers. Possibly they could visit your website and as a result become Muslim. Also, other Muslims could use your site to get information they need for dawah or research and Allah will reward you for providing this service. Even if you cannot start a website, you can at least submit articles to existing websites which they can use so that all can get the benefit.
I hope this advice helps. May Allah help us to be more effective in defending Islam.
(Yahya Abdul Rahman lives in Montreal Canada, and is the editor of the online Islamic News and Information Network at www.inin.net.)
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