Mirror Mirror on the Wall: Brexit, Trump & the Media

As a Brit watching the unfolding theatrics of the American presidential election, I cannot help but think of the Brexit Referendum.

Here, the complex social, political and economic context - that created the environment - that facilitated the vote and the outcome were ignored. Instead the arguments and the ultimate decision put forth were oversimplified, the very framework of the debate, and in many ways society, were redefined within these terms.

As someone who has studied or worked in the media for 13 years, one of the biggest culprits – if not the biggest – is the media. We are being failed by our media. Fundamentally and almost absolutely. While online social media has its benefits, for the institution of journalism and media, it has been a nail in the coffin.

The media plays such an unbelievably pivotal role in society. But I increasingly struggle to see how it is doing anything other than taking us further and further away from reality. A reality that we must acknowledge, accept and understand before any real change or progress can be made. 

Of course, it’s not all bad. But...

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As A Muslim, This is How I Feel About Orlando....

Today, I was fasting. And as is usual during this holy month, my focus is more on prayer and reflection than on my newsfeed and my mobile. I woke up and I spent a little time reading the Quran. A verse I read stuck in my head throughout the morning. It was about the Quran itself, and how some people read it. It says “the perverse at heart eagerly pursue the ambiguities in their attempt to make trouble and to pin down specific meaning of their own.” It made me think of ISIS.

Then I spent a few lovely hours talking about Islam with my brother-in-law, who as a recent Muslim is fasting only his second Ramadan. We talked about the fasting of the body and the fasting of the mind.  I am watching a wonderful series of lecture about mindfulness and being in the present, and how ending negative suffering through these means are very much rooted in Islamic thought. We talked about spirituality, and the wonderful universal messages that Islam has to give to the world.

Then I prayed.

Five times a day we call out to “The Lord of mercy, the Giver of mercy.” These are the words we use to describe God in our prayers. We ask him to “guide us to the straight path, the path of those who You have blessed, those who incur no anger, and who have not gone astray.” It is a beautiful and peaceful prayer.

I read some more Quran, and it gave me a sense of peace.

Then I turned on the news.

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