Normalizing False Ideas through Entertainment and Media
American television shows and cinematic movies, at first glance, appear like a harmless way to entertain ourselves. However, Western government institutions use entertainment to influence world intellectual and political opinion, including that of the Muslim World. Entertainment influences minds, justifying erroneous and strange concepts to normalize them. Recently normalized false ideas in society, such as those related to drinking alcohol, taking recreational drugs, fornication, adultery and homosexuality, were normalized with the help of the sizeable entertainment and media industry.
The Normalization of Homosexuality
Hollywood was particularly effective in normalizing homosexuality, whilst giving its movies a touch of comedy or thrill, such as “The Eternals,” “Brokeback Mountain” or “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.” As for television, the immensely popular Friends sitcom aired a marriage of homosexuals, on 18 January 1996, just five weeks after the sitcom Roseanne did. There was initial widespread condemnation within the US. KJAC-TV in Port Arthur, Texas and WLIO in Lima, Ohio even refused to air the episode. However, over time, the episode contributed to a wave that led to reforms in legislation, media and education. Now the marriage of homosexuals is normalized, whilst there are now efforts to normalize incest.
The Promotion of Hedonism
Intellectually, entertainment promotes a core concept of the Western way of life, which is hedonism. Hedonism is a Western ethical theory that pleasure by any means is the highest good and the proper aim of human life. It arose as a reaction to restrictions by the Church in Western society upon personal conduct. Hedonism’s core lesson is that there must be no restriction to the personal pursuit of pleasure by religion, as long as you do not harm others. American entertainment increasingly determines forms of entertainment in the Muslim World.
US Pentagon and CIA Role
It is a matter of public record that the US Pentagon has had an entertainment liaison office since 1948. Through the US Freedom of Information Act, files show that between 1911 and 2017, more than 800 feature films received support from the US Government’s Department of Defence (DoD). These included blockbuster franchises such as Transformers, Iron Man, and The Terminator. On television, over 1,100 titles received Pentagon backing, 900 of them since 2005, from Flight 93 to Ice Road Truckers to Army Wives. When the CIA established an entertainment liaison office in 1996, it worked vigorously on the Al Pacino film The Recruit and the Osama bin Laden assassination movie Zero Dark Thirty. Documents from the US Department of Defence’s entertainment liaison office at the Pentagon reveal military liaison over John Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad,” a ‘heartwarming’ vision of established US intelligence practice. The US intelligence has used disposable criminal proxies to carry out black operations, including destabilizing Latin American governments.
The Nexus of Entertainment, Media and Legislators
In the US, six transnational conglomerates own and control the entirety of the mass media, including newspapers, magazines, publishers, TV networks, cable channels, Hollywood studios, music labels and popular websites. They are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. The world’s largest media owner is Google, followed by Walt Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and the CBS Corporation. The media has strong ties with US Congress Representatives and Senators, whom they lobby and in turn are briefed regarding programming of the masses. Media information inspired by US transnational conglomerates has a dominant impact on news coverage within the Muslim World.
The Promotion of Hedonism in the Muslim World
Western entertainment has an agenda throughout the world, but has a particular slant in the Muslim World. The cultural invasion takes place because the West wants to present its way to live life as an attractive alternative to the Islamic way of living. Youth brought up on the right path upon the mother’s lap are being invited to follow the Western way of life, through entertainment. The message of Western entertainment is to follow our lusts and desires, rather than the commands of Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). It is to impress upon us that as long as we are not harming anyone else, we can pursue any Haraam pleasurable activity.
Displeasure and Obligations
It is true that man does like and dislike things and actions according to how they affect his pleasure. So here man judges upon things from the point of view of their being pleasurable or unpleasant. However, this is separate from the subject of matters being legal or illegal for him. Allah (swt) said,﴿كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ﴾ “Fighting has been made obligatory upon you, though you dislike it. Perhaps you dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.” [TMQ Surah al-Baqarah 2:216]. So despite man judging that he dislikes fighting, he undertakes Jihad in the Way of Allah (swt) because the Legislator has determined it as good (khair).
Acting According to What Pleases Allah (swt)
Islam is not the way of hedonism, in which man indulges and abstains on the basis of his likes and dislikes. Islam determines the performance and abstinence from things and actions on the basis of what Allah (swt) has decided and not according to our desires. Allah (swt) warned,
﴿وَأَنِ احْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَن يَفْتِنُوكَ عَن بَعْضِ مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ﴾
“And judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their desires. And beware, so they do not lure you away from some of what Allah has revealed to you.” [Surah al-Maidah 5:49].
Shaping Our Likes and Dislikes by Islam
In addition, Islam builds likes and dislikes according to Islamic rulings. So a man comes to like fighting as it is for the sake of Allah (swt) and pleases Him (swt). Unlike the unguided man, the believer follows the commands of Allah (swt) with pleasure, as his inclinations are shaped by all that the Messenger (saw) has brought. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, «لا يُؤمنُ أحدُكُم حتى يكونَ هَوَاهُ تبعًا لما جِئتُ بِهِ»“No one of you believes until his desires are in line with all that I brought.” So, the believers dislike drinking alcohol, taking recreational drugs and fornication, even though they are pleasurable. Similarly, they like marriage, Salah and earning by Halal means.
Media in the Khilafah
In the Khilafah (Caliphate) media will propagate the Truth of Islam, the tranquility and happiness it brings to both individuals and the community, the justice it establishes and the military superiority of the state. Moreover, the Khilafah’s media will expose the falsehood and corruption of man-made systems, as well as the weaknesses of the enemy’s military forces. As such, the media will play a major contribution towards spreading Islam through the world. It is upon Muslims to work for the Khilafah (Caliphate) on the Method of Prophethood, which will ensure the media plays its role to take humanity out of the darkness of hedonism, to the light of Islam.