Here’s one for you:
With a sister who wears the hijab and a cowboymad Muslim father who dresses like John Wayne, Seema Jilani enjoys a diverse family life. The Texas-based paediatrician, who has worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan and written extensively on health and social issues, is an engaging contributor to a new BBC documentary, American Muslim: Freedom, Faith and Fear.
Sure, why not? The whole family is Muslim, but their clothing is diverse, so that counts as “a diverse family life” when seen through the agenda-tinted glasses.
Other participants include a fashion designer, an imam, a comedian, a Marine, a Republican congressman and a forthright newspaper columnist – all with something to say about Muslims who live in the Land of the Free. The illuminating 60 minute tv programme, to be accompanied by a World Service radio documentary, emerged from a competition that invited proposals for a collaborative project between BBC Arabic and BBC Persian.
Which means it’s meant to be targeted at Mohammedans in those regions, and not for your consumption. It’s nice, though, that the BBC is actually presenting these people with a positive image of the US, for a change.
‘The original idea was to concentrate on the Bible Belt where there are fascinating similarities between devout Christians and devout Muslims,’ explains BBC Persian reporter Karen Zarindast.
The remit later broadened out and the resulting programme, commissioned by Global News, will be shown on BBC World News, BBC Arabic and BBC Persian in the run-up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
I bet it did. But we’re not at the ‘fear’ part yet. The BBC Persian reporter involved says this:
Originally from Lebanon, he went to university in the US in the mid-80s and this was his first trip back. ‘It was interesting to return after so many years, and I have to say that I fell in love with the country all over again.’
Again, nice to see a positive image about the US from the BBC, for a change.
It’s a familiar sentiment. ‘Everyone we met, from the most recent Muslim arrivals to the surgeon who left Pakistan 30 years ago, told us how much they loved America,’ says Farah. Zarindast, who moved to the UK from Iran 15 years ago, and travels regularly to the US, where her mother and brother now live, was also struck by Muslims’ loyalty to their adopted land.
What shock, eh? People move here on purpose to escape the sh!thole Mulsim countries they live in, and don’t hate it as much as certain Beeboids do.
‘Muslims in America are better integrated than in Britain,’ Darius Bazargan notes. ‘The country is more of a melting pot where people go to escape repression and really value their freedom.’
Shall we examine why that is, BBC? Any future documentaries about what’s preventing Mohammedans from becoming better integrated in Britain? Or have you already decided that it’s down to the inherent racism of the indigenous population, full stop?
Not that Muslims’ love of the States means they are always loved equally in return, he points out. ‘There seems to be more Islamophobia now than immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
Do you think it might have to do with the fact that there have been a few more attempted terrorist attacks by Muslims since then, not to mention Maj. Jihadi Nassan at Ft. Hood? Nah: it’s the inherent racism of the indigenous population:
‘Attitudes have hardened since the election of President Obama. People know they can’t express anti-black opinions but think it acceptable to be anti-Muslim. In fact, [in the case of politicians] their ratings can go up if they appear to be anti-Muslim.’
There you have it: we’re still bloody racists, only we keep quiet about the blacks now. And just like Baroness Warsi said, it’s acceptable to hate Muslims at dinner parties instead. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that not a single second of this is spent discussing any attempted terrorist attacks, or any incident which might even remotely have caused concern about Mohammedans wanting Shariah Law to take precedence over domestic US law in certain cases, or Mohammedan cab drivers in Minnesota refusing to pick up fares at the ariport if they have alcohol on them, or jihadi imams who are forced to leave. Nope, it’s all just racism.
And of course, the best bit:
In another side of the story, the documentary features white Americans who have converted to Islam as a reaction against Western materialism and the constant pressure to look slim and attractive. They include a woman who used to make her living photographing people in nightclubs and is now a devout Muslim.
You couldn’t make it up. It’s White Girl all over again. Remember, this is specifically meant for Muslim audiences in the Muslim World.
What you might call a step change…
What you might call pandering….
A positive message about Islam and Muslims, with a qualified mixed message about the US, and not even meant for you to see or even know about. All at your expense.