Arab · Media · Middle East

Al Jazeera America is not Al Jazeera English?

It seems Al Jazeera America is not the same as Al Jazeera English [source].

Fox news has its agenda and loyal audience. MSNBC has its agenda and loyal audience. I wonder what Al Jazeera America (different from Al Jazeera English) agenda and who will be its audience?

Thick dough with lots of tomato sauce topped with lots of meat and veggies doesn’t taste like the Italian Pizza. Also, there is a reason we don’t see Asians in Chinese buffets in the USA. Because the food there is not really very Chinese.

To attract audience and most importantly advertisers what new taste Al Jazeera America is going to serve?

I am happy for them and their success but I doubt it will last here in the U.S.

Media · Movies

When it is called terrorism?

Recently, Muslims around the world have been noticing the double standard of the Western media when it comes to describing a person committing an act of terror. Basically, when a man kills people he is a terrorist if he is a Muslim and a madman or the act is described as a domestic violence if he is not a Muslim. Here are some examples:

  • Pilot Crashes Into Texas Building in Apparent Anti-IRS Suicide – Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the incident was a single act by a sole individual, who appeared to be targeting the federal building. He refused to classify it as terrorism. [Source]
  • Loughner pleads guilty to 19 counts in Tucson, Arizona, mass shooting – Prosecutors agreed to a plea deal — and not to seek the death penalty — after taking into account Loughner’s history of mental illness and the views of victims and their families. [Source]
  • 85 killed in youth camp shooting, 7 in Oslo blast – Reports that the assailant was motivated by political ideology were shocking to many Norwegians, who pride themselves on the openness of their society… Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II wrote to Norway’s King Harald to offer her condolences and express her shock and sadness at the shooting attacks in his country… A US counterterrorism official said the United States knew of no links to terrorist groups and early indications were the attack was domestic. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was being handled by Norway. [Source]

So, here it is. The white man might have a different political ideology, or acts by himself, or has a mental issues, or might be affected by the violence he sees on video games but he can’t be a terrorist. Meanwhile, people caught planing an attack are called terrorists even if they acted by themselves.

Anyway, yesterday I watched a Swedish TV Show on Netflix. The show is called “Henning Mankell’s Wallander.” For the American readers Roger Ebert says “Here is one of the year’s best and most provocative thrillers and maybe it says something that it’s a 91-minute installment of a Swedish TV series.” [Source]

Spoiler Alert about the first episode only: Don’t continue if you are going to watch the show.

Each episode is 90 minutes long. In the first episode, a small city is preparing to host an international art exhibit on the prophet Muhammad. Meanwhile, Muslim demonstrators have been holding daily protests and the town is affected by a blackout, killing of the museum director along with other people, five car explosions and taking a Minister as a hostage.

The main suspects behind the chaos were Muslims of course but we find out that no Muslim was involved in these episodes of terror. So far this wasn’t my surprise. My surprise was the following observation made by one of the detectives:

Detective1: [reading the newspaper] Madman who took the Minister hostage is a former soldier. He is thought to be behind the recent chaos in Ystad.
Detective2: So it’s chaos now, eh? Not terror anymore.

Arab · Culture · Feminism · Islam · Media · Middle East · Religion · USA

The problem with Eltahawy’s argument

A good Muslim is the one who is moderate in his belief and practice. I do agree with this statement. Moderation is actually a key teaching in Islam. But the definition of moderate is different according to Americans and Europeans. A Moderate Muslim is one whose ideology and practice are agreeable to the American and European societies.

For example, Muslim women not wearing hijab and out spoken about how Muslim men are using their women as slaves are considered moderate Muslims. Mona Eltahawy, Ayaan Hirsi Al and Irshad Manji are best examples of how a moderate Muslims should be. The west takes them for granted as how Muslim women should be and urge all Muslim women to take them as role models. According to many Westerners, it is a FACT that Muslim men are selfish, abusing, polygamists, and wives beating. Hence, Muslim women should rebel against their masters.

One good thing about Eltahawy’s article is that many women, Muslims and non-Muslims, even Muslim feminists didn’t accept her argument that Muslim men hate women. There were huge numbers of articles against her argument. For anyone who has the slightest knowledge in conducting research can easily falsify her argument. Eltahawy’s based her article on listing some examples of how Muslim men treat women. Don’t you think we can list some bad examples from any culture and conclude with a result that will support our claim? But of course the western media is not interested in such article unless it is about Muslim weirdos. Since 1975 number of abortion operations in the U.S. never falls under 1 million. The total number of abortions performed in the U.S. since 1973 equals 54,559,615 [source]. Did all Americans participate in terminating the lives of 54 million fetuses? Did all Americans support the killing of 1 million fetuses every year? I always say that every culture has its good and bad practices. To generalize about the entire culture is very condescending and simplistic way of thinking.

While thousands of brave Arab men been savagely killed, jailed, and tortured to secure a better life to their families -ironically this includes mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and female relatives- during this current “Arab Revolution”, Eltahawy chose to climb to the top of the media ladder and secure fame in Western media. She took advantage of an old Western cliché that Muslim men abuse their women and built her argument on that. I believe her article would harms and damages any support Arabs would receive from Americans and Europeans to seek freedom from tyrant regimes. She offered a Carte Blanche to the West to not support any change in the Arab world fearing of monsters taking control of the country.

On behalf of Arab husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers who work very hard to make sure that they can put food on their families table out of LOVE for their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters I say you are wrong Mona Eltahawy and those women who celebrated your article. I would like to ask those women to be fair and answer why millions of Arab men cross the borders far away from their homes? And why thousands of North African men put their lives at risk crossing the Mediterranean Sea on small boats?

Although there are many bad practices by Muslim men but Eltahawy’s article was a cheap way to take advantage of abused Muslim women instead of helping their cause. I don’t think trashing a culture and religion, like Eltahawy’s did, is meant to be a positive criticism rather it was a way to secure many columns in Western newspapers and magazines.