These films fuel “Islamophobia,” you see. Some even dare to link Islamic ritual to terrorist attacks. No one seems to have considered the possibility that actual terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamic terrorists who perform Islamic rituals and ascribe their terrorist acts to Islamic teachings fuel “Islamophobia” far more than any film ever could. “From Aladdin to Lost Ark, Muslims get angry at ‘bad guy’ film images: Crude and exaggerated stereotypes are fuelling Islamophobia, says study,” by Lucy Ward in The Guardian, with thanks to D. C. Watson:
Popular films ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to children’s cartoons are depicting “crude and exaggerated” stereotypes of Muslims and perpetuating Islamophobia, according to a study published today.
A report by the Islamic Human Rights Commission argues that films as diverse as The Siege, a portrayal of a terrorist attack on New York starring Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis, the Disney film Aladdin and the British comedy East is East have helped demonise Muslims as violent, dangerous and threatening, and reinforce prejudices.
While The Siege is attacked for inter-cutting Islamic ritual and terrorist violence, potentially linking the two in the minds of audiences, Aladdin faces criticism for depicting Arabs as “ruthless caricatures” with “exaggerated and ridiculous accents”.
The study, titled The British media and Muslim representation: the ideology of demonisation, argues that Hollywood has a crucial role in influencing how the public views Muslims.
A survey conducted as part of the research revealed that Muslims in Britain felt negative images of their faith on the big and small screen had consequences in their daily lives. Those interviewed “found a direct correlation between media portrayal and their social experiences of exclusion, hatred, discrimination and violence”.
Do Muslims in Britain really want to lessen experiences of exclusion, hatred, discrimination and violence? Easy. Just follow these four simple steps:
1. Stop blaming violent acts committed by Muslims in the name of Islam on the various sins of unbelievers.
2. Establish nationwide, compulsory programs in mosques to teach against the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism, by means including an explicit and definitive rejection of the literal meaning of many passages of Qur’an and Hadith.
3. Stop saying violent or hateful things in private when you think no non-Muslims are around. The most notorious recent example is the Dispatches documentary. There was also the imam Umar Abdul-Jalil, executive director of ministerial services for the New York City Department of Correction, was secretly recorded last year while speaking at an Islamic conference in Arizona. Muslims, he said, invoking Qur’an 48:29, must be “compassionate with each other” and “hard against the kufr [unbeliever].” In Britain, Hamid Ali, imam of the mosque frequented by the July 7 bombers, praised the bombers and called their terror attack “good” in a conversation secretly recorded by an undercover journalist. Publicly, he had condemned the attacks. In a mosque in the Czech Republic, a Muslim secretly filmed by a documentary filmmaker says Islamic Shari”a law, including the stoning of adulterers, should be adopted by the Czech Republic. Cleveland imam Fawaz Damra, who has since been deported for failing to disclose his ties to terror groups, signed the Fiqh Council of North America’s condemnation of terrorism, despite having declared at an Islamic conference that “terrorism, and terrorism alone, is the path to liberation.”
Do such incidents mean that every Muslim who professes to have adopted Western notions of pluralism and the equality of dignity and rights of non-Muslims and Muslims is dissembling? Of course not. But they do mean that non-Muslims are perfectly justified in being suspicious even when Muslim profess moderation and opposition to terror. Consequently deeds, not just words, are needed. To conclude my four recommendations, genuinely anti-terror Muslims should:
4. Actively work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.
But it is unlikely that any of that will be done. Instead, these poor mistrusted, misunderstood folks will keep crying “Islamophobia” and trying to manipulate the American legal and political systems.