Da’wah, panacea to addressing misrepresentation, says former commissioner
Former Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef, has called on Muslim professionals to be actively involved in Da’wah activities.
The renowned scholar, who spoke at the 3rd-anniversary lecture of Muslim News Nigeria, noted that a beautiful presentation of the universality of Islamic message remains a veritable solution to overcoming media framing.
The event, which was held in Lagos, also featured the presentation of awards to winners of Nigerian and Global Muslim Personalities of the Year 2020.
In his goodwill message, the former commissioner advised Muslims in various professions not to leave the propagation of Islam entirely to traditional scholars, saying 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 a deliberate distortion of its beautiful and holy name.
“There are three categories of people, namely: the enemies who can never paint Islam well; the ignorant ones, who de-market Islam by presenting it in an unmarketable way and Muslims, who, though conscious of their religion, have been painted in a 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,” Abdul Lateef noted.
Abdul Lateef, who is also the Chief Imam of Lagos House of Assembly mosque, described Islam as the best product but with “bad marketers”.
“Most marketers de-market Islam with their untoward conduct. 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 stated.
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, reminding them that “what you don’t have, you cannot give.”
Abdul Lateef, who recently graduated from Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) of China Europe International Business School, canvassed the need for professionals to adorn ideal Muslim personalities.
“Each and every one, wherever you find yourself, must 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 a deliberate act of distortion by some Muslims, this is when people are consciously interested in giving negative reports with a view to framing you.
“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.
The scholar congratulated the management of Rawshield PR Media for coming up with Muslim News Nigeria, saying “despite the challenges, they succeeded in changing the narrative and giving to Muslims what they cannot get in the mainstream media.
“Like we have Muslim News, we need more media outfits that are not bearing Islamic names but projecting Islam. There are many people who will not read Muslim News because of the erroneous belief that they will not say anything other than Islam, meanwhile, the publication is making giant strides. So, there is a need for different news outlets that we are consciously sponsoring so that we can present the truth to the people.
He also challenged mosques to develop media units, saying they should not be seen as places of prayers alone.
He added that Muslim organisations should have a professionally developed media team to present the truth to the populace.