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Stereotyping of Muslims

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By shayan7
Words 1490
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Islam Despite its huge following around the world and the growing Muslim communities in western countries, Islam is foreign to most westerners who are familiar with Christianity or Judaism. Because most Americans know little or nothing about Islam, they have many misconceptions about Muslim beliefs and rituals. These misconceptions are formed by the media and the lack of research most people do on Islam. There have been many movies and documentaries made to show people the life of a Muslim person and to show people what Islam really is; East is East, My Journey My Islam, Debating the Veil, and Muslim Cool are examples of movies portraying Muslims in a different light. These movies although very different from each other in the way they are portrayed all are out to achieve the same goal, which is to show misinformed people what Islam really is.

East is East is a movie about a Pakistani immigrant in the UK by the name of George khan who tries to push his family to abide by his strict Pakistani Muslim ideals. Having an English mother and being born and raised in England, his children see themselves as being English and disobey their father’s rules on how they dress, the foods they eat, religion, and other aspects of life. East is East, portrays Muslim Isolationism, patriarchal authoritarianism, white English racism, and teenage rebellion. The film perfectly explores connections between comic modes of expression and racist discourses, and daringly combines elements of low comedy with moments of intensely serious drama. This film portrays both the difficulties of being a Muslim living in the West, and the difficulties of being raised in the west with parents whom have Muslim ideologies, as the main character in the film George Khan say “You not English, English people never accepting you. In Islam, everyone equal see, no black man, or white man” this quote shows that although living and growing up in England the character does not feel at home, feel like he is a foreigner, and he tells his children who are born in England and have a English mother that even they will never be accepted by society and will always be viewed as a foreigner. This quote also tries to tell the viewers that despite the way they think of Islam it is a very accepting religion that does not discriminate based on race, color, or ethnicity. Just by one line the main character says this movie is able to show both the problems and difficulties of Muslims in the west and also shows to the misinformed westerners a little about what Islam really is. This movie also depicted the troubles second generation Muslim Diaspora have, it showed this in two major ways, one was the homosexual son of George Khan and the troubles he went through, and another was the fact that he was setting up an arranged marriage for his two sons. These two scenarios should the difficulties of second generation Muslim Diaspora because it showed the hardships the homosexual son went through as he was disowned by his father and had to run away in order to live his life, and it showed the difficulties his other two sons went through when being forced to marry someone they don’t want to spend the rest of their lives with. I thought that this was a great movie that was able to teach some aspects of a Muslim living in the western world lives, additionally showing Islam in a different way that the media portrays it.

Muslim Cool is a documentary about a man working to change America's image of the Muslim faith who finds himself burdened by the stereotypes he's tying to overcome. Hamza Pérez is an American of Puerto Rican heritage who as a young man joined a gang and made his living as a drug dealer. Pérez, who was raised a Catholic, converted to Islam and he soon began following a very different path in life. Today, Pérez is a community activist and anti-drug counselor who with a handful of other converts relocated to Pittsburg to open a mosque in a ghetto neighborhood; he's also a musician who uses rap to spread a positive message to at-risk youth. But while by any standards Pérez has changed his life for the better, some prisons where he visits to counsel inmates won't allow him in because of his faith, and the new mosque has become a lightning rod for controversy in Pittsburgh. New Muslim Cool portrays three years in the life of Hamza Pérez as he tries to spread positive word about Islam, speak out to inner city kids, get married and deal with the challenges of raising his own children. In this film we see how difficult it is to be a young Muslim in America, as the mosque Perez opened in Pittsburgh was targeted and raided by the FBI, but also how Islam's adherents change amid tumultuous times and how they reach out in surprising ways to people of other faiths. I enjoyed this movie as it was able to show Islam in a different light than what people are currently used to, it showed that Islam can change a person for the better and how it’s a religion which is against violence, drugs, and crime. It was able to show this through the life of Perez, he was a drug dealer involved in crime and violence, but through the way of Islam he was able to overcome his problems and start a new life free of all crime and violence. This movie was able to show people that the medias portrayal of Islam and how it is a violent religion is wrong and that it is in reality a peaceful religion which preaches love, and non-violence for all humans whether Muslim or not.

My journey, My Islam and Debating the Veil are similar documentaries as they both discuss the Islamic veil. My Journey, My Islam Documents how Muslim women reconcile and interpret the requirements of their faith and the obligations of Western culture. The story of the veil as told by Muslim women in Australia, India, Pakistan and England. The focus of Kay Rasool's journey is to examine Muslim women's attitudes to the veil (hijab), which uncovers a range of often opposing perspectives to personal belief, the rights of women in Islam and the role of the Hijab and Burqa. Debating a veil is a similar documentary that discusses the problem the veil and the burqa have and the difficulties people have that wear them. These two documentaries are in my opinion very important, as the veil and burqa have become a very common source of debate and discussion in the western world today. The western media portrays the veil and burqa as clothing forced upon women by backwards thinking men, they portray it as Islam’s discrimination against women but these documentaries showed that a lot of women choose to wear the burqa and veil, they like to dress modest themselves as they believe that it is actually a sign of women rights a sign of women’s power in society and not a sign of men’s power over women. These movies although showed the reality behind the veil and burqa were not seen by many people as they never got the publicity that they deserve, thus most people are still believing the western medias bias representation of this part of Islamic society. I believe that if these movies were better publicizes it would educate the misinformed people of the west leading to less discrimination against Muslim women who wear the burqa and veil in the western world.

East is East, Muslim Cool, My Journey My Islam, and Debating the veil are all great movies which are able to portray the truth about Islam and the hardships the Muslim Diaspora in the west go through on a daily basis. East is East is the only film of the four that was successful in getting the attention of a large amount of people, which is in my opinion the problem with these films. As long as these films are not made readily available to the public and are not advertised in a way to get the attention of the average westerner who will not go through the trouble of researching about Islam they are not successful. All films are able to educate people but due to the fact that people haven’t seen them the majority will still have a bias view of Islam and Muslims living in the west will still be discriminated against. The perfect quote showing that Muslims are not accepted in the west is from the movie East is East where George khan says “You not English, English people never accepting you. In Islam, everyone equal see, no black man, or white man”.

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