CAIR: 'SINISTER MUSLIM' STEREOTYPE FADES - TOP Souheila Al-Jadda, USA Today, 12/15/09
Muslim voices are finally being heard by and from Hollywood, and it's in Tinseltown's best interest to listen.
Negative stereotypes of Muslim characters date to at least the black-and-white era, but by the 1990s and the end of the Cold War, one-dimensional Muslim terrorist characters were the generic "bad guy" in countless movies and television shows, including True Lies ('94) and Executive Decision ('96). Even the cartoon Aladdin ('92) portrayed villains with Middle Eastern accents while the hero and heroine had standard American voices.
Such repeated portrayals have colored public perceptions of Muslims and Middle Easterners. The events of 9/11 crystallized and, for some, affirmed the stereotype. But nearly a decade later, Hollywood seems to be changing its tune toward Muslims and Arabs…
Muslim advocacy groups are also helping to transform Hollywood. Two such organizations -- theMuslim Public Affairs Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations -- first approached Gordon about the portrayals of Muslims on 24 and persuaded him to make adjustments. Muslims On Screen and Television (MOST), a non-profit resource center, provides research and information about Muslims to Hollywood insiders. (More)
[Souheila Al-Jadda is co-producer of the Who Speaks for Islam series on Link TV and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.]
CAIR-LA: MUSLIM CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION SAYS HARASSMENT, DISCRIMINATION PERSIST - TOP Cheryl Devall, KPCC, 12/15/09
Two new reports from a Muslim civil rights organization say that incidents of harassment and discrimination have dropped. But they note that California and a handful of other states account for 79 percent of those claims.
In its state and national surveys, the Council on American Islamic Relations found that verbal harassment and employment discrimination are among Muslim Americans’ most common rights concerns. The incidence of those problems was up, even as reports of others including airline passenger profiling declined.
The report noted and criticized new FBI regulations that allow for religious and ethnic profiling, and some law enforcement agencies’ surveillance of mosques. Anti-Islamic rhetoric in last year’s presidential campaign also occupies a portion of the national study. (More)
VIDEO: REPORT FINDS MANY MUSLIMS COMPLAIN OF CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS - TOP KTVU, 12/15/09
CAIR: TERRORISM: MUSLIM FAMILIES AS FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE - TOP Boston Globe, 12/15/09
There is a heartening aspect to the otherwise unnerving story of five young American Muslims who flew to Pakistan Dec. 1 with the apparent intention of enrolling in a jihadist group. Law enforcement officials received crucial cooperation from anxious relatives of the five young men.
The family members told imams and the Council on American-Islamic Relations of their worries, and CAIR officials swiftly arranged a meeting with the FBI. The five were then found in the house of a Pakistani man associated with an extremist group and detained by Pakistani authorities.
It would be hard to exaggerate the value of having Muslim community leaders take the lead, as they did in this instance, in guarding against terrorism - and in rescuing impressionable young Muslims from the effects of indoctrination in an alluring ideology rooted in a disfiguring of Islam. (More)
BILLBOARDS GOING UP TO PROMOTE ISLAM - TOP Bob Von Sternberg, Star Tribune, 12/15/09
Hoping to encourage interfaith dialogue, an Islamic organization will unveil a pair of billboards in Minneapolis this week.
The Minnesota chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America plans to unveil the billboards Friday, the eve of the Islamic New Year…
They are part of a nationwide multimedia campaign that also includes placing posters on buses and subways in other big cities. (More)