19 January, 2007

More Muslim women running? :: Salon

Salon asks.


nzm said...

Also read the comments in reply to the article.

Fear and ignorance rear their ugly heads once more. The people who write this crap should really analyse what they're truly angry about.

Anonymous said...


They're angry about Moslems flying planes into buildings and cutting off hostages' heads on TV.

Anonymous said...

"...but maybe this is a shortsighted view..."

you betcha! I'd personally rather see all female athletes adopt the women beach volleyball attire; but this article is exceedingly ignorant and western-femi-centered; and only more intelligent than anonymous's comment @ 23:03 above!

Anonymous said...

Dredge, why do you deem my comment not intelligent? NZM asked what the commenters are so angry about, and I answered him. Are you implying that my response is somehow incorrect?

Before 9/11, a vast majority of Westerners were generally indifferent to Islam. After 9/11, and Daniel Pearl, a large majority have become very hostile to Islam. It's not too hard to figure a causal link. (The dancing in the Arab street on 9/11 didn't really generate a lot of goodwill, either.)

Or do you think that Westerners should not be unhappy about those events?

nzm said...

Indifferent to Islam?

Most likely ignorant of Islam - and they still are.

What you see on TV news is glorified sensationalism. Did you know that CNN retracted that film footage of people celebrating in the streets and confessed to it being at least 10 years old? I was in the US during the time of 9/11. I saw that footage being screened and I later heard and saw the CNN anchorwoman apologising for it being shown. But by then, the damage was already done - the images were firmly planted in the minds of the majority of people who saw them and believed them to have happened that day.

There have also been TV programs to educate people on Islam and muslim society, but I bet that none of those message board writers/trolls have ever bothered to watch them, or investigate the concept of Islam any further.

Instead they choose to believe that it is an extremist religion based on violence and jihad, because if they learned any differently, they would have to find a new topic to be angry about, or even more difficult, figure out what makes them into angry people in the first place.

Anonymous said...

NZM: too many Westerners have received their Islamic education from bin Laden. This is a problem for Moslems, not Westerners. They are responding what was done to them, nothing else. You asked what they are "truly angry about" as if there is some long and complicated answer. I suggest the answer is as simple as the one I gave in the first resonse.

I live here (happily) in the UAE, and I know how misunderstood Western ideas about the Islamic and Arab world are, but you can't blame them for feeling the way they do.

Could you provide some sort of concrete link about he "dancing in the streets" video being false? Your claim is the first of the kind I have heard. Sounds more like a conspiracy theory to me. I sincerely doubt CNN deliberately pulled out archival footage and falsely claimed it to be current - that would have been a massive scandal.

Anonymous said...

There is a long and often bloody history of Western ignorance and stereotyping of Islam, long before 9/11, with the underlying assumption being that Muslims are barbarians that need to be civilized by the West (if that was possible at all). The misunderstanding, distortion, caricaturing, and sometimes outright contempt of how Muslims speak, pray, eat and dress (including of course the hijab), is part of this long history and was already strong and thriving in Western culture before terrorism and the war against it. The more sinister and ugly introduction to Islam and Muslims was done by Western colonial officers and racist politicians; by Disney cartoons and Hollywood films; and by popular fiction that ridiculed Muslims, insulted their culture and mystified and sexualized the hijab beyond comprehension. The people who engaged in this, for decades and decades, didn’t have to be angered by a 9/11 to do so; and to ignore this whole background of misunderstanding and hostility and assume that only 9/11 and the ‘dancing in the streets’ are the reasons for current Western anger is in my view an ignorant and misleading view. I’m not personally sure the writer of the linked article is motivated by anger, as opposed to sheer ignorance and a misguided feminist fever. There is no question that 9/11 and terrorism have made things much worse and created yet new dynamics and reasons for hatred and misunderstanding, but it’s just too simplistic to think that these can on their own explain every instant of the bigoted Western attitude towards Islam and Muslims that is now so wide spread and familiar to us all.

Anonymous said...

Dredge: every foreign culture gets ignorantly and stereotypically misrepresented in the popular media of the West. (And the culture of the West also gets similarly misrepresented in the popular media of this region, indeed.) Islam was not singled out in that respect. Truth is, before 9/11, probably 19 out of 20 "average" American were completely indifferent to Islam, they didn't know much about it, they didn't think about, didn't care one way or another, it wasn't on their daily radar. The average American thought about Islam as often as they thought about Ecuador or Tuvalu.

On 9/11, Islam was forced to the forefront of American thought by bin Laden and Mohammed Atta. It's really that simple.

It's a shame that many Americans believe that Islam wants to destroy western civilization, but that's the message that was delivered on 9/11.

Anonymous said...

No, I’m sorry, but it is not as simple as that!

I’ve read numerous pieces in the NYT, watched more than enough interviews and news stories on main stream media and seen enough films and newspaper cartoons that all portray Islam and Muslims (and Arabs) as threatening, violent, irrational, sexually-crazed, greedy bastards, and ruthless assassins; this has been the trend, as I said, way before 9/11; and any counter perceptions were so few and far in between that they hardly made any real impact. The demonizing of Islam didn’t start with 9/11; the attack just made it that much easier.

I fully agree that all cultures engage in stereotyping and in this sense both sides are guilty of misrepresenting each other. BTW,
This PBS link gives some specific examples of mutual misperceptions and a good though brief explanation of the source of Western perceptions of Islam.

But this is not really the issue here; the focus here is the false perceptions Westerners have about Islam and Muslims and their relation to popular anger and 9/11. This is not a "simple" issue; and I believe it would be more helpful and accurate to go beyond personal perceptions of where the anger came from and why people think this or that way. There is a whole body of literature and research about Western perceptions of Islam that is probably worth looking into first.

Most damaging and negative representations of Islam come not from average people but from those with the power to shape public opinion and create popular sentiments; namely politicians, media moguls, reporters, writers, cartoonists, religious leaders, artists, etc. The article cited in the post is an excellent example of this; i.e., how a writer perpetuates the misperception of a specific aspect of Islamic culture, not because of any angry reaction to 9/11as far as I can tell; but because of sheer ignorance. Really this woman is not poking fun at the burkini and Muslims women’s role in sports simply to liberate Muslims sisters and save them from becoming suicide bombers! She is doing that as a “civilizing” mission; she just can’t accept that there is a different alternative to a swimsuit than the bikini. Actually she doesn’t seem to understand just how long it took and how difficult it has been for Western women to enter sports and compete; and that their exclusion or non-participation wasn’t always a simple question of oppression.

Again the fact that the 9/11 terrorists were Muslims is significant; but this in itself cannot explain the scale and depth of hatred and blatant misrepresentation of Islam as an evil religion and Muslims as potential enemies; the ground work for this has been done a long time before 9/11 and many influential people and institutions, either out of ignorance, fear or bigoted political agenda, made sure to exploit this to the maximum, crucifying Islam in the process so to speak.

Finally, anonymous, isn't it time you come up with a more definite identity than anonymous? or do you already have one that you'd rather not use for some reason?

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