Norwegian journalist Magnus Nome was in the good ol’ US of A when self-styled counterjihadist crusader Anders Breivik decided to escalate his murderous fantasies about Eurabian conquest from Outer Wingnuttia into the real world. Thankfully, CNN, Fox News et al were ready to provide informed, accurate, up-to-the-minute coverage of events on the ground:
The news coverage over the following days taught me a lot of interesting new ‘facts’ about the innocent nation of Norway.
1. Apparently we don’t lock our doors at night. Wrong. We do.
2. There is no public debate about immigration. Wrong. Immigration generally, and Islam specifically, have been high on the agenda for more than a decade.
3. We’re all white. Wrong. Norway has become an increasingly diverse society since the early 1970s: almost a third of Oslo now has non-Norwegian origin, more than one in ten being Muslim.
4. Owning a gun is practically illegal. Wrong. Hunting and sport shooting are popular recreational activities, and Norway ranks high in gun ownership.
5. The Utøya victims were all white, and the terrorist did not kill any Muslims. Wrong. The victims reflected a diverse Norwegian society. Several of the dead were Muslims, several were of African or Middle Eastern ancestry. This information was available. It is extremely disrespectful to airbrush them out of the story to make it more coherent.
As they say, read the whole damn thing, especially if everything you know about Norway — and about Anders Breivik & far-right nationalism in Europe — was learned via teh cablez.
Image: apgroner, flickr
Sometimes it takes well over a thousand words to highlight the absurdity of the viral xenophobia that periodically sweeps over the more Islamophobic denziens of Outer Wingnuttia.
This time it would (at first) appear that a mere picture will suffice:
Of course, as Echidne points out, the rush to silently refute the ridiculously simplistic racism expressed by Pipes, Schlussel, et al with a li’l bit o’ SEO-friendly T&A and some progressive leering pretty much ignores the broader issues surrounding beauty pageants, their continued place in Western culture, and what all that means for women as women, not as SHARIA-SHILLING ISLAMOFASCISTS OUT TO STEAL TEH PATRIARCHY FROM ITS RIGHTFUL WHITE CHRISTIAN INHERITORS!!11one
Quoth everyone’s fav snake goddess:
I have no idea what Ms. Fakih’s religion is and it’s not really relevant, because I’m writing of those guy reactions:
Daniel Pipes manages to mash together his support of the objectification of women (yes! sometimes I have to sound feminazi) with his hatred of affirmative action and his fear of the Muslims to get–what? The idea that the judges in those pageants let Muslim women win for political reasons or multiculturalist appeasement or something like that.
And the liberal guys pick up that ball and fly with it! Nooooh! Muslim women really are dishier and prettier than Christian women, and here are the examples!
If you don’t believe me, check out this comments thread to a related post.
Note how it all became something about ethnicity or religion and how the gender angle was completely and totally lost? Yet I’m quite sure that this was not on purpose. Women’s issues are simply not as visible or as important as all those other issues.
Of course, one could (and should) argue that ethnicity and religion are bound together (or intersect, if you will) with gender. Still, the lack of specific gender-based analysis among the majority of left-liberal commentators during this latest orgy of manufactured outrage (and a preponderance of progressive responses that tend to reinforce rather than challenge the basic sexist assumptions behind the arguments presented by many on the right) is rather telling.
Muslimah Media Watch is a forum where we, as Muslim women, can critique how our images appear in the media and popular culture. Although we are of different nationalities, sects, races, etc., we have something important in common: we’re tired of seeing ourselves portrayed by the media in ways that are one-dimensional and misleading. This is a space where, from a Muslim feminist perspective, we can speak up for ourselves.
As Muslim feminists we aim to locate and critique misogyny, sexism, patriarchy, Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia as they affect Muslim women. Furthermore, we believe in equality — regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, and ability.
This blog is meant to be inclusive to all people, with a special focus on Muslim women. MMW strives to create an environment in which our writers and readers feel safe and welcome. We ask that you be considerate towards others and their opinions. This is a respectful forum for dialogue, not argument or personal attacks.
Add MMW to your bookmarks/blogroll/subscriptions (assuming you haven’t already done so)
(h/t Red Tory)
“Muslim in his blood“? What, like cancer, or *ahem* an opiate? Naomi Klein throws a bucket of common sense on the bonfire of racist stupidity that is fueling Middle-Namegate, calling on Obama to forcefully douse the “controversy” once and for all:
Occasionally, though not nearly enough, Obama says that Muslims are “deserving of respect and dignity.” What he has never done is what Singer called for in Poland: denounce the attacks themselves as racist propaganda, in this case against Muslims.
The core of Obama’s candidacy is that he alone–who lived in Indonesia as a boy and has an African grandmother–can “repair the world” after the Bush wrecking ball. That repair job begins with the 1.4 billion Muslims around the world, many of whom are convinced that the United States has been waging a war against their faith. This perception is based on facts, among them the fact that Muslim civilians are not counted among the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; that Islam has been desecrated in US-run prisons; that voting for an Islamic party resulted in collective punishment in Gaza. It is also fueled by the rise of a virulent strain of Islamophobia in Europe and North America.
As the most visible target of this rising racism, Obama has the power to be more than its victim. He can use the attacks to begin the very process of global repair that is the most seductive promise of his campaign. The next time he’s asked about his alleged Muslimness, Obama can respond not just by clarifying the facts but by turning the tables. He can state clearly that while a liaison with a pharmaceutical lobbyist may be worthy of scandalized exposure, being a Muslim is not. Changing the terms of the debate this way is not only morally just but tactically smart–it’s the one response that could defuse these hateful attacks.
Expanding on Klein’s sentiments, some “politically isolated” American Muslims (yes, they vote, too) feeling singed by the flames of bigotry say they want more than empty apologies from pols for perpetuating the proxy attacks on Muslims and their faith (h/t Kate Sheppard @ TAPPED):
American Muslims complain their faith is being used as a scare tactic, possibly inflaming prejudices already heightened by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the subsequent war and terrorist bombings. The recent ploys, leaders say, insinuate that simply being or associating with Muslims is sinister.
“It would be good if the president and leaders of both parties would say: ‘Enough. We’re better than this,’ ” said Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “It’s disconcerting to me they haven’t.” Republicans have criticized some of the tactics, as has the National Council of Churches. Muslim leaders say while the politicians’ admonishments are needed, they fall short of the full-throated defense other religions would receive.
“They’re not apologizing for the bigotry, but rather it’s unstatesmanlike to insult each other,” ElGenaidi said.
And while the Village Idiots endlessly parse the difference between “denounce” and “reject” as it relates to (evilscaryangryMuslimneegro) Louis Farrakhan’s unsolicited support of Obama, John Sidney McCain III openly and actively courts anti-Papist
apocalyptic end-timer “Christian Zionist” John Hagee, who recently endorsed the Maverick.
Yes, that John Hagee:
I don’t have to agree with everyone who endorses my candidacy. They are supporting my candidacy. I am not endorsing some of their positions. . . .
And I am very proud of the Pastor John Hagee’s spiritual leadership to thousands of people and I am proud of his commitment to the independence and the freedom of the state of Israel. That does not mean that I support or endorse or agree with some of the things that Pastor John Hagee might have said or positions that he may have taken on other issues.
Glenn Greenwald nails it:
“White evangelical Ministers are free to advocate American wars based on Biblical mandates, rant hatefully against Islam, and argue that natural disasters occur because God hates gay people. They are still fit for good company, an important and cherished part of our mainstream American political system. The entire GOP establishment is permitted actively to lavish them with praise and court their support without the slightest backlash or controversy. Both George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sent formal greetings to the 2006 gathering of Hagee’s group.
By contrast, black Muslim ministers like Farrakhan, or even black Christian ministers like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are held with deep suspicion, even contempt. McCain is free to hug and praise the Rev. Hagees of the world, but Obama is required to prove over and over and over and over that he does not share the more extreme views of black Ministers.“
So Hagee hates black people, Jews, gays, and on and on. McCain has appeared in public with this man. So why is he acceptable while Farrakhan is viewed with such hate?
Because he’s white [and Christian, and a Republican - mb].
Simple answers, kids. Somebody wake my ass up on November 5th.
Well, it’s sad to see this creeping into Europe, but there’s always been a strong streak of racism among the fetus fetishists in North America: ‘Too many of Them and not enough of Us are breeding.’
Yup. Peel off the “innocent unborn” rhetoric and a lot of ‘em are simply selling good ol’ fashioned white nationalism under the noble guise of saving Western Civilization™ from imminent collapse. Of course, for anyone who doesn’t fit the proper socioeconomic/ethnic standard, reproduction should be considered a privilege, to be strictly *ahem* regulated by those who claim to always support Life™ (except when they don’t).
‘We’ must make sure we’re only loading our quivers with proper arrows–and don’t get any funny, Feminazi-inspired thoughts about betraying your country and your biological destiny by putting on your shoes and leaving the kitchen, ladies.
The latest issue of The Nation features a disturbing cover story by Kathryn Joyce on how the American religious far-right is tapping nativist insecurity in Europe to take its made-in-the-USA anti-choice message global.
The imminent demise of Europe is a popular prediction these days, with books such as Catholic scholar George Weigel’s The Cube and the Cathedral, Melanie Phillips’s Londonistan, Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept and Pat Buchanan’s Death of the West all appearing since 2001. The 2006 film Children of Men sketched a sterile, dystopian world thrown into chaos for lack of babies (though with less blatant antiabortion implications than the Christian allegorical P.D. James novel on which it was based). The media increasingly sound the alarm as Eastern European countries register birthrates halved since the last generation. And on February 11, the Family First Foundation, a profamily group in the same movement circles as [Steve] Mosher and [Christine] de Vollmer, released a documentary dedicated to the threat: Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family.
What was a conservative drumbeat about Europe’s death has become mainstream media shorthand, complementing ominous news items about Muslim riots in France; Muslim boycotts in London; Muslim “veil” debates in Denmark; and empty European churches transformed into mosques, with calls to prayer replacing church bells. Evangelical luminary Chuck Colson, head of the vast Prison Fellowship ministry and a close ally of George W. Bush, espoused a conspiracy theory in which he construed an Islamic Council of Europe handbook for Muslims trying to keep the faith abroad as a “soft terrorism” plot for takeover. The late Oriana Fallaci lambasted Europe’s transformation into a Muslim colony, “Eurabia.” And in a recent political match in Switzerland, a campaign poster depicted a flock of white sheep kicking a black sheep out of their pasture, “For Greater Security.” The refrain is that the good-faith multicultural tolerance approach of the Netherlands has been tried and has failed, which is arguably a few polite steps from Mosher’s summary of the problem: that Muslim immigrants are simply “too many and too culturally different from their new countries’ populations to assimilate quickly…. They are contributing to the cultural suicide of these nations as they commit demographic suicide.” Or, as he declared while rallying a gathering of profamily activists last spring in Poland, “I want to see more Poles!”
Or more Russians, or more Italians, as the case may be. The fever for more “European” babies is widespread. The last two popes have involved themselves in the debate, with John Paul II pronouncing a “crisis of births” in 2002 in an anomalous papal address to Italy’s Parliament and Benedict XVI remarking on the “tragedy” of childless European couples and beatifying an Italian peasant woman for raising twelve children.
At the national level, in 2004 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offered a “baby bonus” of about $1,000 to parents who had a second child, and Russia, which has a history of pronatalist policies, including its 1980s-era “motherhood medals,” sweetened the offer to its citizens with several birth initiatives for hesitant couples, including an $8,900 award to families who produce a second child and a stipend of 40 percent of salary to women who leave work to become stay-at-home moms. One Russian province made novelty news worldwide with its Day of Conception on September 12, when residents of Ulyanovsk got time off work to “conceive a patriot” for the country. Prizes for successful delivery nine months later include refrigerators and cars. The theme is present enough in the popular consciousness that a Swedish underwear company cashed in on the anxiety with a provocative ad campaign featuring a cast of Nordic men wearing EU-type lapel pins, commanding Swedes to Fuck for the Future and Drop Your Pants or Drop Dead.
The nativist motivations for such campaigns move beyond the subliminal at times. Elizabeth Krause, an anthropologist and author of A Crisis of Births: Population Politics and Family-Making in Italy, tracked that country’s population efforts over the past decade and found politicians demanding more babies “to keep away the armadas of immigrants from the southern shores of the Mediterranean” and priests calling for a “Christian dike against the Muslim invasion of Italy.” The racial preferences behind Berlusconi’s “baby bonus” came into embarrassing relief when immigrant parents were accidentally sent checks for their offspring and then asked to return the money: the Italian government hadn’t meant to promote those births.
The American Christian right, increasingly seeking influence abroad, has recognized that this anxiety over shifting national identities creates fertile terrain for spreading its ideology of traditional sexual morality as a quick fix for a postmodern age.
Related: Chris Hedges has more on the “creeping Christian chauvinism [that] has infected our political and social discourse” and how “[t]he public denigration of Islam, and by implication all religious belief systems outside Christianity, is part of the triumphalism that has distorted the [US] since the 9/11 attacks.”
Update: Found the following delightful dispatch at a private forum; apparently it’s making the rounds as an email forward. Who knew Bryan Adam’s manager was a racist sack of shit – and that his unrepentant bigotry would strike a chord with ‘real’ citizens:
WE ARE CANADIANS
Bruce Allan [sic] is on the 2010 Olympic Committee and new Canadians (specifically Hindi’s / Indian’s) want him fired for his recent comments outlined below;
Our National Anthem: I am sorry, but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Hindi – enough is enough. Nowhere or at no other time in our nation’s history, did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, or any other language because of immigration.
It was written in English, adapted into co-founding French, and should be sung word for word the way it was written. The news broadcasts even gave the Hindi version translation which was not even close to our National Anthem. I am not sorry if this offends anyone, this is MY COUNTRY – IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP —- please pass this along.
I am not against immigration – just come through like everyone else. Get a sponsor; have a place to lay your head; have a job; pay your taxes, live by the rules AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past and LONG LIVE CANADA!”
It’s time we all get behind Bruce Allen, and scrap this Political Correctness crap. His comments were anything but racist, but there are far too many overly sensitive ‘New Canadians’ that are trying to change everything we hold dear. ARE WE PART OF THE PROBLEM! Think about this: If you don’t want to forward this for fear of offending someone,will we still be the Country of Choice and still be CANADA if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries who have come to live in CANADA because it is the Country of Choice? Think about it.
IMMIGRANTS, NOT CANADIAN’S, MUST ADAPT. It is Time for CANADA to speak up. If you agree – pass this along.
Is that the sort of dangerously exclusive sentiment our political elite wish to further cultivate in Canada by legitimizing othering and outright xenophobia? Because misguided sops to the lowest common denominator like the so-called ‘show-your-face’ bill only encourages the dubious celebration of cultural homogeneity. Like Greg says, “[i]f they think these kinds of actions will not have consequences for the health of our society, they are wrong.”
Update 2: Dr Dawg has an ultimatum for the NDP: vote this bill down or forever lose his support. Count me in–even though I haven’t been a member since 2003, I’ve never voted for any other party other than the Dippers. But I can’t in good conscience continue to support them if they allow this bill to pass.