Displayed on the poster was an image of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, accompanied by the words, "how can we liberate them?"
The poster was disturbing enough, but even more disturbing was the fact that it was distributed all over Amsterdam in 2003 as a government public service announcement.Yeah, what's up with that, media? What's with all the articles about "honour" killings and the abuse of domestics in Saudi Arabia and chicks (who according to the Koran are "fields" to be plowed at will by their hubands) being brutalized and punished in various sharia-ridden lands?
Two persistent false images dominate the propaganda used by Islamophobes. One is that Muslim women are oppressed because of -- not in spite of -- the teachings of Islam.
The other is that Western imperial powers, particularly the United States, are genuinely interested in liberating Muslim women, especially following the American-led occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.
In reality, these false images are not new at all; their roots date back to the European occupation of Muslim lands during the 1700s. Today they are so widespread thanks to Western media.
While Reformation-era Europe learned much from its Muslim neighbours (especially in sciences and medicine), it seems Western culture has a very short collective memory. Present-day media rarely refer to Islamic truths that paint a very different image from the depressing and confusing portrayals of women that readers are more likely to find in their pages.
Where can non-Muslims learn, for example, that in Islam women have souls; that they have equal intellectual capabilities as men; that they have as much right and need of advanced education in every field of human inquiry; that they can initiate divorce; keep their family names after marriage; or have separate and distinct careers in their own right?
Alongside the false imagery of missing information is the insidious media-hyped disinformation that Muslim men (especially “religious” ones) are sexist, oppressive wife-beaters.
You’d think that the media in our so-called “liberal” society would pay more attention to concrete issues that genuinely compromise and demean the quality of life of Western women, who are statistically at greatest risk from the effects of poverty, pornography, domestic abuse, marginalization, or lack of educational opportunities in career-building fields (like maths and sciences).
And you’d think that these same media would invest far more emphasis on the urgency of exposing human rights violations committed against Muslim women in Palestine, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other area in which war and civil unrest produce many more victims among non-combatants...
What's that? There isn't much coverage of any of that and if you want to find it you'll have to do your own Internet search? Then what the heck is Elmo going on about?
Why, it's almost as though he realizes Islam had a huge P.R. problem, chick-wise, and is doing his best to disguise it with lots of smoke.