But there is benefit to be had in accepting that major mistakes on the part of Muslims are at hand in this event, and analyzing this. Muslims who have not correctly explained themselves to the West have a share in the current state of affairs, a share that is too large to be trivialized.
Ekrem Dumanlı, the editor-in-chief of the Zaman daily, has collected pieces he had previously published in Zaman’s Cumartesi supplement in book form under the title “Sinemaya Farklı Yerden Bakmak” (Looking at Cinema from a Different Place). These were important essays that explained the necessity for members of the right to connect more with cinema. When you read the book, you understand better how distant Muslims are from cinema and how Islam falls victim to anti-Islamic propaganda through the cinema.
Verily, Muslims staying too far away from mass media organizations has led to their not being understood well enough or misunderstood entirely. They have yet to attain success in creating images through tools of the mass media such as cinema, television, newspapers and advertisements. And it’s impossible to understand why wealthy Muslims, be they in Turkey or the rest of the world, have paid so little attention to art and the mass media. Today, they are paying the price for this distance.
Returning to the topic of Switzerland, there is almost no action being taken by Muslims to convey their message to Western society and to present themselves accurately. It can’t even be said that they are exerting even one-1,000th of the effort that Jews have in this regard. For example, while hundreds of films about Jews have been produced and shown to world audiences, there’s almost no movie in existence that accurately portrays Muslims. It’s nearly impossible to find a documentary or a news segment on television that portrays Muslims correctly! This isn’t just the fault of the Western media. The Muslims themselves don’t trouble themselves with it. You could count the number of Muslim students studying cinema, television and media in communication faculties in Western schools on one hand, while students of the Jewish faith make up a good chunk of the student body in these institutions.
Also, Muslims have no heroes in the Western world. If we’d had heroes that would win the sympathy of the Western public, who could be looked to as an example, the attitude toward the East would quickly change. For example, while Mesut Özil, who has done great things on the German national soccer team and in the Bundesliga, had the potential to become a hero from the Muslim world, the Turkish national team made a huge strategic mistake in not picking him. Özil, who is at peace with his national identity, could be a Muslim hero in Germany.
Muslims need to convey to the West that they are not a mass who wish to constantly struggle against the West and obliterate it. I’m not overlooking the intentional and biased attitude in the current Western media -- I’m just asking why we don’t have our own media outlets, why we don’t have our own channels through which to portray ourselves accurately. Muslims must take a lesson from the events in Switzerland, and understand that they must do something other than get angry at the West for their own representation there.