In April, Kori Ali Muhammad is suspected of fatally shooting three people in Fresno, California. When taken by the police into custody, he shouted the now most famous phrase in radical islam civilisation : « Allahu Akbar ». Thing is, the Associated Press subjectively translated this saying into « God is great », which is definitely not the meaning of the arabic phrase in English. A mistake that lead to a huge polemic in the media world.
The obstacles between civilisations
There are many obstacles and barriers between different civilisation. The barrier of language is the most commonly know, but also the differences of religion and civilisation. When several barriers gather to a same issue, this can create big conflicts, even a war.
Regarding islamic civilisation, the difference of culture, religison and language often gather and with the time, have led to huge misunderstandings with other civilisations, which is one of the multiples reason why there is often wars with them. One of the common misunderstanding is about the terme « Allahu Akbar », a term that is supposed to be religious but also carries a huge meaning.
Arabic « Allahu Akbar » in Islam does not always mean « God is Great » in English
Last April, when Kori Ali Muhammad was suspected of fatally shooting three people outside a Catholic charities facility in Fresno, California, he shouted as the policemen were taking him into custody this expression « Allahu Akbar ». Til there, nothing more than any terrorist attack. The problem came when the Associated Press subjectively translated this saying into « God is Great », translation that too many people considered as true.
Now let us clear it up. If the Arabic « Allahu Akbar » is traditionnaly used in islamic religion as an equivalent to the English « God is Great », when praying for food for example, it actually litteraly means « Allah is Greater » in Islam. When used to commit crimes or Jihad, especially when the action takes place just outside a Catholic charities facility, it now means « Allah Is Greater Than Your God or Government ». It is used to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah. Context matters, words matter.
What do we expect from media ?
So why would a trusted news organization like Associated Press subjectively translated what Muhammad said when taken by the police? Maybe it was to protect themselves from any terrorist revenge, like when the French news media Charlie Hebdo was attacked after publishing an ironic picture about Islamic terrorism.
But what do we axpect from media? Not politically correct copy edits, not the watered down, fake news version, that is for sure. What we want is truth, hard and cold. This isn’t the first time political correctness has seeped into the reporting of these attacks. Worldwide media, beware and make it right please. What we need is the truth, regardless of how hard it is to hear.
If you wish to learn more about differences between Catholic an Islamis religion, here is an interesting column from Albert Mohler of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association : « Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? ».