Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Link Parade: A Parade of Links (in the form of a Parade made of Links)

1) A fifth of European Union will be Muslim by 2050

According an investigation by the Telegraph, "rising levels of immigration from Muslim countries and low birth rates among Europe's indigenous population mean that, by 2050, the figure will be 20 per cent." ... Yes, they said "indigenous population" with no irony. And they refer to the population growth among European Muslims, whom they admit are not radicalized, as a "demographic time bomb." So, the simple fact of their existence makes European Muslims a threat. FYI: This is the same rhetoric employed by Israelis to justify marginalizing/slaughtering its indigenous (see what I did there?) Arab population.

tags: Politics is Culture, Representation, Europe, Fear Mongering, Conservative Nutjob, Islamophobia

2) “Jihadis”*, Skinheads and Film Representation

Shafiqah Hudson, of the great blog Possumstew has written a fascinating post comparing movie portrayals of Arab and Muslim insurgents (i.e. "terrorists") with altogether more sympathetic portrayals of White Supremacist skinheads. One of her more disturbing discoveries? There are fan sites dedicated to the "hotness" of skinhead characters like Edward Norton's "Derek Vinyard" of 1998's American History X. She notes that even mainstream movie reviews of this film and others like Romper Stomper, which featured a young Russel Crow, make mention of the muscular sexuality of the skinhead characters while their Arab equivalents (ironically often played by South Asian or Israeli actors) are always portrayed as ugly and crazy.

tags: Representation, Culture is Politics, Orientalism, Islamophobia

3) Female, Muslim and Mutant: Muslim Women in Comic books

This excellent series, originally written by friend-of-the-blog Jehanzeb Dar of Muslim Reverie for Muslimah Media Watch, has been edited into three parts and published at Altmuslimah.com. Given the growing influence of comic books on mainstream pop culture as evidenced by the growth of ComicCon International into a venue for movies and TV as much (if not more) than for comic books themselves. So this well-written series is more timely than ever: Even if you read it the first time around it is worth revisiting.

tags: Representation, Culture is Politics, Islamophobia

4) US Blackwater's boss accused of Crusader beliefs

According to a report in al-Arabiya, Erik Prince, the CEO of Blackwater, the private army/security company (now known as XE) contracted by the Bush administration to support the US military in Iraq, "used aliases referring to the crusading Knights of the Templar, a notorious Christian military order known for its militant activities in Muslim lands during the Crusades in 1099 and declined in the 1100s." Quoting a report from The Nation, wherein former employees claim,"that their boss Erik D. Prince 'views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe' this article argues in light of mounting evidence that Prince is a religious and political extremist (why does that sound so familiar?) who was on the US payroll in Iraq.

tags: Politics is Culture, Conservative Nutjob, Islamophobia

5) Christian Arabs Like the Pope Want Peace with Justice

Daoud Kuttub, an award-winning Palestinian journalist who lives in Jerusalem and Amman writes about the position of Arab Christians on the occasion of the Pope's recent visit to Jordan and Palestine in the spring. He writes, "While the world looks at the Arab-Israeli conflict from an Arab-Israeli point of view, or a Jewish-Islamic one, the role and contribution of Arab Christians cannot and need not be ignored. Unlike followers of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, Christians have no religious attachment to physical locations... (However, Christian Arabs) believe that a lasting resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict must both address the national aspirations of the Palestinians (of which they are part) and provide for the spiritual needs of the faithful, including Christians. In this regard, Palestinian Christians are perhaps angriest with a radical but effective group of Christians who try to give Biblical support and legitimacy for the Israeli aggression against Palestinians. An entire industry that has been well endowed has cropped up in the West, attempting to hijack the Christian theological debate in favour of what is now referred to as Christian Zionism." While it is a few months old, this essay is an excellent summary of Arab Christian objections to the use of their faith to justify colonial aggression against Muslims and the offense--both theological and political--represented by Christian Zionism.

tags: Politics is Culture, Palestine/Israel, Zionism

Discuss amongst yourselves.


  1. Aw, thanks for the link lurve, homie! These are all really good reads. Thanks very much for putting them all here.

    While I thought the Kuttab piece was very well-done, I did notice the usage of the word "hijack" in the piece, which kinda bugged me. You noted correctly on a thread at Racialicious that this word is often used in online conversations about Israeli-Palestinian relations and that, in light of the history there, the term is loaded and should probably be avoided when fostering dialogue is concerned. I agree. I noticed that it emerges frequently on comment threads, as well as in the body of written works in places where "derail", "co-opt" or "appropriation" would work just as well. I don't know. I just feel like language is powerful and that it is our responsibility as writers to have an awareness of the impact of words and language. P.S. - In light of it's questionable over-usage, I have chosen to eliminate this word from my vocabulary altogether, and only use it in reference to the actual act itself. Yup. Thanks to you, it's sitting there, gathering dust on the abandoned Fiqah lexicon shelf, right next to the n-bomb. Congratulations, you've made me a (slightly) better person. AJ would be proud.

  2. @Fiqah
    You know I skated right past "hijack" when I read this the first time--good looking out. I remember that argument about the term on Racicalious too and I still think there was some (barely) covert orientalism at work there. I haven't really considered how it used elsewhere, but now I will. Interesting. I am going to think about that.

    I agree with you about choosing better words as a general habit (as opposed to just taboo-izing some words, which just gives them greater power). It is a discussion for another day, and perhaps deserves a post of its own, but I am ambivalent about the phrase "N-word" to replace the slur itself for that reason. (Although "N-bomb"is a variation that perfectly captures the destructive effect of it). Hm.

  3. Joseph,

    I lived in the UK for years and used to read the Telegraph, along with The Times, Guardian and Independent. I am a news junky and liked to get an idea from all perspectives. The Telegraph is on the far right of the political spectrum. Much of what you'll read in that paper mirrors the xenophobic stuff happening in the US concerning Hispanic immigrants.

    Personally, if the Europeans arent reproducing then someone has to take over, that is how world history works. Not that I believe the hype here, but history is full of peoples, societies and cultures dying out. If Europe wants to be the next example because they refuse to breed and value their material goods more than their own existance, so be it.

    It is a good point on the jihadi/skinhead issue. Not only are they made more "sexy" I think movies like American History X and Romper Stomper seem to be a bit better researched and more accurate on their subject matter. When I was younger I hung out in the punkrock and skinhead scene so I can look at these movies and say "yeah, that's for real" or "no, that's rubbish". Having traveled the Middle East, I can also say "BS" to a lot of what they portray because it is inaccurate. Also, myw ife is an Arab, but she always remarks about how "hot" Norton is in American History X.

    Erik Prince is a well known evangelical Christian and anyone who has read about him should find it no surprise that he is into the Crusader thing. Many of these far right Christians look to the Crusaders as role models. Heck, our own former President is an end of times nutter. Did you see this: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2009/08/gog-magog-and-george-bush

    I also find it ironic how some Western Christians will sell out other Christians in the Middle East to support their own "end of times" madness.

  4. @Abu Sinan,
    I agree about reading news from across the spectrum of political opinion, even if it is hard to do sometimes. I know the Telegraph is a far-right paper, but I think they and others like them are an early-warning system for concerns that aren't openly expressed in more moderate circles. (We see this happening right now re: Rush Limbaugh and the health care "debate" in the US.) The fact that this info is presented as an "investigation" by the Telegraph gives it an air of legitimacy so it wouldn't surprise me if it becomes a meme outside the far right. The western fear of being overtaken by Islam is so deep and strong that it gives rise to all sorts of irrational craziness. But that doesn't mean people don't buy in to it in some way, even they aren't part of the far right. Know what I mean?

  5. @Joseph,

    I agree. The whole thing here in the states is really starting to scare me. I know how these types work and CNN today is reporting that these militias that are growing are "more racial and less educated". Uneducated racists.....great.

    When I was young I was around a lot of these people and this whole situation is just something they have been waiting for! I guess we are all lucky that 99.99% will never do all of the stuff they talk about, but there is the .01% that will, and that scares the crap out of me.

    They have been, for years, encouraging their members to join militaries and get training, to go "mainstream" and get involved in the government and other sectors. For awhile judges used to give racist skinheads charged with violent crimes the option to join the military or go to prison. Bad choice.

    I know one former racist skinhead who now works with the UN as a conflict resolution expert in Croatia, all benefits of a rich doctor as a father and the education he got.

    These people are all over the place, and I know some of them claim to not have these beliefs anymore, I find it hard to believe.

    It makes me worry for my family and our society!

  6. The "Eurabia" crap-which unfortunately has also popped up sympathetically in the "liberal" NYT lately- has been debunked-though unfortunately they just focused on the numbers being wrong and not why the articles are fucked up.

    I don't even know where to start with the skinheads thing. I find all of that shit fascinating in a trainwreck kind of way-from a distance, these days it would be the Russian brand getting my attention since that seems to be all the rage now.

    In American History X the guy does end up redeeming himself but as for the attraction I don't know how much of that is about the character than it is just a general attraction to shaved heads and chelseas-and how often would you otherwise see either in movies since the 80s are over?
    Either way, FWIW in This is England it's the fascist skins are all gross looking and the hot one that isn't racist(AFAI can tell.) Too bad it is one of the crappier movies I've seen in quite a while(though I don't really care for AHX either.)