Competitive long-hours and lots of unpaid work is what the start of my journalism career has consisted of, and most of the time the reward has been to have my work published by the placement provider. However, this was expected, and the experience I got was extremely valuable.
When writing for eccentric magazines my days were filled with covering crucifixion re-enactments or writing about gentrification. So, when an editor of a well-known conservative magazine asked me if I would be interested, to pose as a potential recruit of the terror group Isis, my excitement to secure the internship faded immediately, why? As soon as I revealed that I was a Muslim, I was asked to pose as a terrorist, and was badly convinced that doing so would be good journalism. Well, I don’t think this. In fact I think the complete opposite.
I declined because I would play a part in sensationalising Isis, making them out be masterminds who use advanced persuasive skills, when in reality they prey on the most vulnerable. By this I mean people who may not be the most religious, people who are not the most knowledgeable about Islam; but are interested in becoming more religious. So when people who fit this box come across a man or a woman, preaching at them like they descended from the time of the prophet, they will be influenced by that individuals untrue ideologies, which represent extremist views.
Stories like these have been done before and they haven’t had the so-called enlightening, investigative effect, it is click bait, and as a Muslim I will not glorify Isis. Those who have been recruited by the terror group are people who are truly misguided. Trying to contact members of the group and posing undercover will not solve the problem; it will just show how absurd they are, which is apparent.
Some of their most high profile victims were showcased to have been content with their normal lives, therefore only recently practising the religion, and heading to the extreme outlook of “Islam” imminently. It is already known that Isis uses the same methods as paedophiles, to lure in the impressionable.
There is no denying that Isis is a very dangerous group and need to be dealt with, but this is not the way. They are featured on every news platform. So, when I was interviewed for an internship and was asked to investigate them, I wouldn’t actually be helping to defeat them or to be making a difference, I’d be pouring gasoline on an already well-lit fire.
Because I’m a young writer the editor probably thought that they were doing me a favour. But, I’m not naive enough to jump at every opportunity. Other reporters have posed as potential terrorists, and the results have done nothing but identify how immoral Isis is.
I happen to be a Muslim and a journalist. Isis is not the only topic I want to write about. I do not have inside information on them because I am a Muslim. If anything I want them to stop being called Muslims because they are not, regardless of what they say.