By: Kathy Malas

* 08:45am : American Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower in the World Trade Centre in Manhattan
* 09:03 am: American Flight 175 from Boston crashes into the South Tower in the World Trade Centre in Manhattan.
* 09:45 a.m.: American Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.
* 10:00 a.m.: The South Tower of the World Trade Centre collapses.
* 10:10 a.m.: American Flight 93 crashes in a wooden area in Shanksville, Pa.
* 10:29 a.m.: The North Tower of the World Trade Centre collapses.

Everyone knows the subsequent of the events. Only one word can be used to describe this catastrophe. A word that the Media avoids to employ when using descriptive adjectives: “Unbelievable!”

I was at the College, in my Physics class when, all of a sudden, one of my classmates rose up and said: “Mrs. There is bombing in America. All classes are cancelled!” All the students were evacuated out of the campus. A total chaos was manifested. People were talking about a bombing. What bombing? I rushed home and jumped on the T.V

CNN, CBC, FOX 44, RDI, SRC, TVA, RDS, CTV, ABC. Just open your T.V and pick a channel. “ America under attack” or “ Terrorists attack America” was some titles utilized. I couldn’t believe my eyes! The scene of the two Boeing 767 booming into the Twin Towers of The World Trade Centres in NY shown over and over. Hundreds or maybe thousands of people were running, screaming and crying in the street(s) of Manhattan.

I had tears in my eyes when these pictures rolled in my head. The only thing I could thing about was: “ Doom’s Day is approaching!” Only few hours after the tragedy, while I was trying to understand what was happening, I heard a lady, being interviewed on T.V, describing what she had seen and commenting on the event. She said that these pigs that did this act of terrorism “back there” should be punished severely.

What did she mean by “back there?” Before the smoke was cleared from the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre, Americans and the Media started unfounded accusing, without even having a slight proven idea, several countries and organization. The Gazette’s front page newspaper (Wednesday, September 12, 2001), stated: “ But in the hours after the horrific attacks on New York City’s World Trade Centre and The Pentagon, the head quarters of the U.S military in Washington had no clear sense of whom to hold responsible. Was it the infamous Osama bin Laden, holed up in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan? Was it Sadam Hussein’s Iraq? Or Moammar Ghadfi’s Libya, or any number of faceless Muslim extremist organizations? Or none of the above?”

The suspicions arising in the mind of Americans and the Media always revolve around Muslim and Arabic countries. These conclusions are always assumptions or guesses pin pointed clearly by the Media. They say that it may be this or that country, organization or individual and then declare that there is no clear evidence yet. These quick judgments results or leads to generalization of accusation through hate propaganda and to severe repercussions on the society as an upshot of media hysteria.

Several T.V channels centred their assumptions on groups of the Middle East; from Palestine, to Iraq, to Syria, to Egypt, to Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan, to Osama bin Laden and finally generalizing all Arabs and even all the Muslim Community. “ You can link just anybody in the (Muslim) Sunni extremist world to bin Laden” said one former senior U.S government counter terrorism specialist, who spoke on condition of anonymity.” (Gazette, Wednesday, September 12, 2001). It is clear how the media links Muslims with terrorism? Why does the Media do so? Even if bin Laden was proven to be the person responsible of the attack, Islam shouldn’t be blamed for that. It is the act of one individual or small group and not the act of a whole nation or religion. Middle East “terrorists” were blamed for the Oklahoma bombing that occurred in 1997. It was then confirmed to be an American citizen. Islam is totally against killing innocent civilians. The word “Islam” means peace. Yet, the Media always portrays Islam as being the synonym of terrorism

The generalization of accusation is used through hate propaganda. The media affirms that they do not want to blame any country, group or religion for these attacks. Nowadays, you have to judge someone by his actions and not about what they say because people are hypocrites. This is what the Media is doing. It assures the public that there is no clear prove of any responsible of the attacks but hitherto they have the audacity to “guess” any country they want to. An article published in the National Post (September 13th 2001) by Alan Philips says: “ Palestinians leaders scrambled yesterday to dissociate themselves from Tuesday’s terrorist attack in the United States, amid fears Western sympathy for the Arab cause had suffered a blow that would be felt for generation”. Further on, it states: “ The pictures are terrible but better than 1,000 ambassadors trying to explain how dangerous Islamic terror is.” Do you see how the media is developing hate propaganda? Alan Philips starts his article by saying that the Palestinians leaders denied their involvement with these attacks. It then states a citation said by Ehud Sprinzak, an Israeli counter terrorism expert, explaining that Islamic terror is dangerous. Why does the media have to link Islam with terrorism? I can’t find an answer to this question that I asked myself several times in this article.

A spokeswoman on TV15 was talking about uniting forces with the Americans and forming allies to fight terrorism. She assured that the world will join this union and that there will be only one common enemy that could be easily destroyed. She assumed that this rival is Islam.

I was happy to hear that Tony Blair stated “ This is not a situation in which we should see this as a cause between the Muslim faith and the world, but between terrorism and the rest of the world, including Muslim faith” (National Post, September 13th, 2001)

As a result of media hysteria, several impacts on the society are making their appearance. Everyone knows that the media has tremendous effect on the society. By blaming, without clear-cut proof, different Arab countries and Muslim countries, the public has then this feeling of accusation. This feeling sinks into their minds and they start rebelling against all Arabs and Muslims. A young Muslim girl, at Vanier College, was verbally threatened of rape and badly insulted by other students. A Muslim woman in Manhattan was being roughed up by and angry and vengeful mob. (Gazette 12/09/2001). A young boy, Thaer Assad, was expelled from Saint-Germain high school for saying: “ It’s good that this terrible thing ….” The teacher, without letting him finish his sentence, sent him to the principle’s office and the young boy was expelled from his school. The rest of his sentence was: “It’s good that this thing didn’t happen here.” The most terrible aspect of this boy’s story, is that his uncle who lives in NY close to the World Trade Centre is still unaccounted for. A mosque located on Boul. Saint-Laurent was firebombed. Some Muslims schools in Montreal even received threats from unknown individuals. They took precautionary measured to protect their students. The principle of the only Muslim secondary school in Montreal, Mr. Samer Majzoub, was quoted at CBC and Radio Canada saying, “we took precautionary measures such as asking for police protection and locking of the school doors during day time after some of our secondary students were verbally assaulted and the general feeling amongst them was one of unease and anxiety ”

Conversely, Israelis took the opportunity to increase the violence in the Palestinian territories. Atrocities increased after the terrible assault that happened on Tuesday. Eleven Palestinians were shot dead on Wednesday and seven other were martyred on Thursday. “ An aide to Mr. Arafat accused the Israelis of “taking advantage of the international situation to escalate the war against the Palestinians.” (National Post, 13/09/2001)

To conclude, the Media has to be objective and fair and has to report facts only. It doesn’t have to jump into conclusions and has to stop generalizing and avoid the hate propaganda that will have negative repercussion on specific ethnic and religious group. When a comment, a guess, a supposition, a speculation or an assumption is made, it is caught by the public’s minds and is hard to deny afterwards. This good epigram that the media should take into consideration “ Be careful of what you say; something that is said can never be taken back.” Islam is not equal to terrorism.