Tag Archives: media

The Golden Globes, Homeland and Islamophobia


I watched both seasons of Homeland, as gripping and exciting as both seasons are, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that it is yet another film/TV Series that portrays the default image of Muslims as being terrorists. In the defence of the show, it does show the US Vice President as being a murderer who ordered drone strikes that killed 80 or so children, but the damages the show would do for the image of an everyday Muslim living a normal life is overshadow any depiction of fairness or balance of the real narrative.

It is with a lot of accuracy that Laila Al Arian describes the show as “TV’s most Islamophobic show“.

I like Damian Lewis who plays Sergeant Brody, the Muslim, Vice Presidential candidate nominee and secret terrorist. I posted a facebook link to Damian Lewis being interviewed by Jonathan Ross where he says that he did not want the film to make ‘lazy’ comparisons between  Islam and violence, and instead Islam could be a force for good that sustains him. As noble as Lewis’s thoughts may have been, I am reluctant to feel that Homeland succeeds in doing that. I did the mistake of posting the YouTube link on facebook before actually watching the show.

Homeland has been featuring in my facebook feed for sometime now and many have been watching it. My worry is that it will reinforce the wrong and lazy assertion that the average Muslims, for all their average activities are usually closet terrorists.

The Golden Globe awards that concluded a few days ago have been an endorsement of a rancid American foreign policy in the Middle East and the Film Industry has yet again proved to be the preferred apparatus of US foreign policy to set the stage for future operations.

Rachel Shabi notes in The Guardian about the Golden Globes-

The three winners have all been sold as complex, nuanced productions that don’t shy away from hard truths about US foreign policy. And liberal audiences can’t get enough of them. Perhaps it’s because, alongside the odd bit of self-criticism, they are all so reassuringly insistent that, in an increasingly complicated world, America just keeps on doing the right thing. And even when it does the wrong thing – such as, I don’t know, torture and drone strikes and deadly invasions – it is to combat far greater evil, and therefore OK.

I am inclined to side with Rachel wholeheartedly.

If Homeland did one good thing to sustain my faith it is this – Brody recites a prayer after Abu Nazeer is killed, in thankfulness that his life is now returning to normal, he recites this outside Carrie’s family holiday camping home, I had forgotten this prayer, I must say I say it a lot now. If not for anything, I am thankful to Homeland for this.

وَقَالُواْ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى هَدَٮٰنَا لِهَـٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِنَہۡتَدِىَ لَوۡلَآ أَنۡ هَدَٮٰنَا ٱللَّهُ‌ۖ

And they say: The praise to God, Who has guided us to this. We could not truly have been led aright if God had not guided us. (A’raf : 43)

Image from here


Filed under 2013, Film, Islam, Uncategorized

Tom Watson vs Andrew Neil


I am actually very busy these days with quite a few things to get out of the way, but this twitter exchange between Andrew Neil of the BBC and Labour MP Tom Watson caught my eye.

It started with Andrew Neil tweeting the following :

This promptly got a response from Tom with the following –

And Andrew replied –

There is a validity in what Andrew says when he questions the effectiveness of the petition, I would have thought it may have been more prudent for Labour to influence the lodging of a government e-petition than promote the petition by Hacked Off. But perhaps the reply is in the following tweet –

Of course Tom Watson’s questioning of Andrew Neil is quite sound here despite the sarcasm, it can sometimes not feature in political discussions that Neil used to be editor of the Sunday Times and was appointed by Murdoch, a post he held for more than a decade.

Then –

And then –

And then former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott joined the party –

Image from here.

And John Prescott stayed in the party,

Both Tom and Andrew seem to have since deleted their tweets, well they aren’t appearing in my browser at least.

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Filed under politics, UK

Muslim-friendly writers in the British media

To say Muslim-friendly is technically incorrect, as that suggests a hint of hypocrisy in that it speaks in favour of Muslims or Muslim issues by being unfair to the other side.

However, the current mainstream media dominated by the pro-Zionist Murdoch block has been so far away from neutrality and have succeeded in diminishing any sense of fairness towards either side of the divide. In almost every instance the writings are unfair in that the present the muslim case in a very condescending and negative manner or they are unfair in that they present the non-muslim case with extra emphasis.

In such a context, when I say Muslim-friendly I am referring to writers who in some of their writing take up the Muslim cause whilst not being unfair to anyone or anything concerned.

One such writer is Peter Oborne of the Daily Telegraph. This paragraph written by him taken from here is particularly resonant of his understanding.

“Muslims are fair game in British public culture. Polly Toynbee, of The Guardian, is regarded as Britain’s most politically correct columnist. “I am an Islamophobe and proud of it,” she once wrote. These sentiments were echoed by the rather less politically correct polemicist Rod Liddle: “Islamophobia: count me in.” Let’s imagine for one moment that Toynbee had written instead: “I am an anti-semite and proud of it.” She would at once have been barred from mainstream journalism because anti-semitism is rightly regarded as a noxious, evil creed. With Islam, by contrast, any insult is tolerated.”

Another writer and documentary film maker known for his balanced attitude is Robert Fisk of The Independent. He says here

“In other words, while we claim that Muslims must be good secularists when it comes to free speech–or cheap cartoons–we can worry about adherents to our own precious religion just as much. I also enjoyed the pompous claims of European statesmen that they cannot control free speech or newspapers. This is also nonsense. Had that cartoon of the Prophet shown instead a chief rabbi with a bomb-shaped hat, we would have had “anti-Semitism” screamed into our ears–and rightly so–just as we often hear the Israelis complain about anti-Semitic cartoons in Egyptian newspapers.

Furthermore, in some European nations–France is one, Germany and Austria are among the others–it is forbidden by law to deny acts of genocide. In France, for example, it is illegal to say that the Jewish Holocaust or the Armenian Holocaust did not happen. So it is, in fact, impermissable to make certain statements in European nations. I’m still uncertain whether these laws attain their objectives; however much you may prescribe Holocaust denial, anti-Semites will always try to find a way round. We can hardly exercise our political restraints to prevent Holocaust deniers and then start screaming about secularism when we find that Muslims object to our provocative and insulting image of the Prophet.”

In a world where Islamophobia is deeply ingrained to the point that it is unconsciously perceived to be normalcy, these are two writers that are brave enough to challenge the status quo.

If there is anyone else you know of, please do let us know.


Filed under Islam, politics, UK

Gutter journalism, how much freedom is media freedom?

There have been so many rants about media freedom, or lack of it. And yet the media abuses its freedoms on a very monotonously regular basis. This video is just pathetic!

It is very disgusting to see that sincere parental (human) emotions are exploited to earn an easy buck. More often than not, it is not even for the money, but purely the stereotypical attitude people can have towards another person.

The media has an immense role to play in society to expose the everyday negativities that take place with the intention that doing so may pave way for a purer society. But, increasingly (if not already) the media is intrinsically a tool used to play the role diametrically opposite to what it should be playing.

Recently I was at a conference in London about islamophobia and national identity. Conceivably, issues of national security and media freedom did come up. There were a few MP’s present, some from constituencies which were largely Muslim, hence this was an ideal opportunity to exhibit how ‘Muslim friendly’ they were in order to win the Muslim vote, which thus far has been to an extent traditionally Labour.

A community marginalised by islamophobia (mostly due to the negligence or in an extreme case, connivance of state institutions) can create a fertile ground for individuals with convoluted thoughts that can pose a threat to national security, as it has been proven again and again and again. Therefore shouldn’t governments around the world treat islamophobia as a threat to national security, than isolating the phenomenon as purely an issue which affects only Muslim communities around the world?

Of course my question ‘got lost’ in its difficult and adventurous journey from my notepad to the desk of the moderator to the hand of an MP, but these questions do exist.

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Filed under media