Editorial: Bringing taqwa into journalism (Six years of Crescent International)

(Editorial, Crescent International, 16-30 September, 1986. Reprinted in Issues in the Islamic movement, Vol. 7, 1986-87 (1405-06), pp. 49-51. This editorial was written by Dr Kalim Siddiqui.)

Last month the Crescent International slipped quietly into the seventh year of publication in its present role. The last six years have passed in only one pursuit: that of survival. Our greatest achievement is that we are still publishing a newspaper.

Being in the west has its rewards; the greatest of these is that we are not in one of the Muslim States under the tyranny of the present generation of Muslim rulers. One could, of course, live in Iran, and many of our detractors would wish we did! We have chosen the more difficult option of living right where we were at the time of the Islamic Revolution and working towards new Islamic Revolutions in other parts of the world.

As a first step we had to understand the Islamic Revolution in Iran. This understanding, emanating largely from the Muslim Institute in London, we have absorbed and passed on to our readers. We have also taken a fresh look at the world around us in the light of the Islamic Revolution. This has been a most rewarding and absorbing activity. We have reported and commented upon the world with an entirely new worldview. And unlike all other magazines and journals whose stock in trade is politics, we have been blessed with total independence. We are independent of any owner, proprietor or sponsor, big or small. If we have a sponsor, it is Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala alone!

But one lives in this world and we have to deal with real issues and people. In this we have been entirely guided by our own understanding of the demands of taqwa. However, taqwa in journalism is as rare as piety in Hollywood. We have been largely guided by the hadith in which the Prophet, upon whom be peace, is reported to have said that there are three degrees of iman (faith). The strongest iman is to take action to stop evil; the second degree of iman is to speak out against evil; and the third degree of iman is to keep quiet but regard evil as evil. We expect the faith of the Crescent International will be counted in the second category. We have never knowingly kept quiet on any issue.

As for exposing evil, we have done this to such good effect that our writings are reproduced and translated into many other languages. In some countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and India, many new Islamic magazines and journals have commenced publication. Some parts of this new media consist of underground publications issued in defiance of local laws designed to control the press. The main source of their editorial input consists of articles lifted from the Crescent International. A recent visitor from Turkey told us that there are now 20 weekly and monthly journals there relying largely on us for their editorial content. The annual anthology Issues in the Islamic Movement is largely a selection of articles first published in Crescent International. This anthology is a unique record of events and opinions on current affairs.

Crescent International’s greatest contribution is that it has created a new network of writers in all parts of the world who write from the standpoint of Islam alone. A unique combination of professionalism and commitment has been achieved. We have also found readers who not only enjoy reading what we write, but also have a commitment to the cause we serve. They sustain us with their subscriptions and many with regular donations.

We are sometimes criticized for not being more critical of Iran. Here again it is a problem of taqwa. Regarding Iran as an Islamic State as we do, we do not know how far an Islamic State can be criticized from outside. It is not that we are not maddened by Iran’s bureaucracy, some of its policies, and many of its failures. But an Islamic State at war with kufr at home, on its borders and in the world at large needs all the understanding, sympathy and support that we can give it. We must not fail in our duty to the Islamic State even if those in charge of the Islamic State fail in their duty to us.

We have secured worldwide readership and influence by following the golden rule of telling the truth and all of it. There are other ‘Islamic’ publications glossing over the truth to gain acceptance on the news-stalls of the world. They need to re-examine their assumptions, goals and methods. We keep ours constantly under review.