Tag Archives: religion

Brutal Attack on Sikh Teen

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

Last weekend in Queens, a young Sikh man was attacked and beaten so badly he may lose his left eye: Brutal Attack Has NYC Sikh Community In Uproar.

18-year-old Jasmir Singh was walking on the street early Sunday morning when he was approached by three men who demanded his money. Then they began to taunt him because of his turban, touching his hair and threatening to cut it. When he tried to run away, they beat him.

This appears to be hate crime, plain and simple. They targeted and taunted Singh because of his turban and beard — an important part of his Sikh faith. But the police and the Queens district attorney have simply classified it as a robbery and an assault. What’s up with that?

But here’s the part that kills me. That same night, police arrested two of the three suspects, described as “16-year-old Asian Pacific male and a 21-year-old Latino.” Ack. You freaking hateful idiots. That’s racist!

You’d think as people of color, as racial minorities, these two idiots would know what it’s like to be targeted and violated like this. Maybe they do. But I guess we know that ignorance and hate extends across all color. Police are still searching for the third suspect.

What Does Tyler Perry Really Want From His Audience?

by Guest Contributor Nichole, originally published at PostBourgie

Tyler Perry is set to release a film version of his play, Madea Goes to Jail, which I happened to watch with my family back home in Nashville over the Christmas holiday. TP flicks are best enjoyed as a community, because as you’re responding to your mother’s giggles about Madea’s swinging bosom, you can forget about what appears to be his real message, lurking beneath all that homespun wisdom.

Almost.

(Spoilers ahead.)

In Madea Goes to Jail, Sonny, Madea’s nephew, his wife Vanessa, and their infant son, live with the outspoken matriarch. Vanessa is in graduate school, and Sonny works hard at the local jail, pulling extra hours to finance her education. The two have a deal that once she earns her degree, it will be his turn to go back to school. But it soon becomes clear that Vanessa is an ill-mannered, disrespectful, spoiled, ungrateful bitch who doesn’t want to do the right thing by catering to her husband out of gratitude for his hard work and support. She loudly complains about taking care of the baby or performing any other domestic chore, stressing the need to complete her graduate study so she can make something out of herself. She’s so out of pocket that the busybody next door neighbor, Ella, admittedly manless, irons Sonny’s work shirt for Vanessa, as she sings about how to take care of a man and keep him happy. Continue reading

Multiple Narratives and Contestations Over the Righteous Struggle

by Guest Contributor Margari Aziza Hill, originally published at Just Another Angry Black Muslim Woman*?

According to census data and information provided by mosques and community centers, Muslims in America make up .5% of the total population in America. Keeping it conservative, that equals just under 2 million. Some estimates go as far to say that there are 5 million Muslims in America. I tend to stay on the conservative side because I don’t believe that boasting in numbers serves any cause.

Still, 2 million is a lot of people. And there have been multiple and contradictory narratives about American Islam. Who has the right to speak for American Muslims? Who are the real Muslims? Who will define the agenda for American Muslims? Last year, a huge debate exposing the immigrant Black American divide rocked the Muslim American community and we’re still reeling to recover from it. And when I speak of community, I talk about it in the broadest sense. I am not making any claims that Muslim Americans are a monolithic group. I’m not trying to be a downer, but the reality is that Muslim Americans do not vote in a unified way, have various political and economic interests that often conflict with their co-religionists, nor is there a central authoritative religious head that guides us all. Rather, this diverse group of people from various socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds with different political and social orientations comprises a community because we believe that There is no God but the one True God and that Muhammad is his prophet. Therefore, we share daily patterns of worship, rituals of birth, marriage, and death, etc. Mosques are also diverse, which contributes to a greater sense of community. And there are some national organizations that do work to defend Muslims’ civil liberties, foster community development, and create a forum for interfaith understanding.

I’ve written in the past and have been interviewed about the silencing of Black American Muslim voices in the past decade. Some national Muslim organizations have been critiqued for their failure to include issues of interest to Black American and other indigenous (I sort of cringe to use that word because I do have Native American relatives who might take umbrage with its use) Muslims such as white American and Latino/Hispanic Muslims. However, in many ways I don’t like how the public conversation has developed in the past year. I am troubled when some Black American Muslims use the same rhetoric and language that Islamophobes use to critique mainstream Muslim organizations dominated by first and second generation immigrants or those organizations that have an internationalist outlook. I am also bothered when I read or hear immigrant or second generation Muslims dismiss the tremendous sense of marginalization that some of us Black American Muslims have experienced in their communities. Continue reading

The Day “24″ Became Academic Material

by Guest Contributor Jehanzeb Dar, originally published at Islam on My Side

I felt my heart drop when my professor for “Mass Media and Society” announced that we were going to watch “24” for the entire three hours of class. It took me a moment to overcome the shock and sort things out in my mind: “This is the same ‘24’ I’m thinking about, right? The television show where American-Muslims are illegally locked up in detention centers?” After self-confirmation, I confidently raised my hand.

“May I ask why we’re watching ‘24’?” I asked politely.

My professor kindly explained, “I believe ‘24’ had some positive influences on how the U.S. government treats prisoners and I also would argue that it played a huge role for the Obama campaign since the show has an African-American President. I really believe it helped prepare the country for that.” I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s what she basically said. I was sure she was referring to Guantanamo Bay when she mentioned the U.S. military’s treatment of prisoners, but it confused me how criticism of prisoner abuse would cancel out the show’s stereotypical portrayal of Muslims and Arabs as terrorists? And the Obama thing was just absurd in my opinion.

“It’s just odd to me,” I said, “because more than anything, I strongly feel that the show vilifies Muslims and the religion of Islam. These stereotypical images are very hurtful to the Muslim community.”

As I said this, I saw heads turning and eyes staring at me. I don’t know anyone in the class because we only meet once a week, so I wasn’t expecting any support, but after the professor responded and said something completely irrelevant to what I said, I couldn’t believe people remained silent.

She mentioned the film, “Crash,” and expressed that she felt discriminated against since there were no Jews in the film. My initial reaction was: what does that have to do with “24” and the representation of Muslims? Was she suggesting that every group is fairly misrepresented in the media or was she just trying to dodge my points? Continue reading

Can Victims be Perpetrators?

by Guest Contributor M. Dot, originally published on Model Minority

Yesterday the internet was abuzz with the fact that Prince might be homophobic.

Carmen from New Demographic commented on Twitter that this didn’t make sense. She wrote ,

“I’m still amazed that Prince is a homophobe. I mean, isn’t there a good chance he’s been gay-bashed in his life? (Even if he’s not gay).

I responded back saying that she presumed that possessing a “fringe Black masculinity” would make him more likely to be tolerant. I added that tolerance, like hate is taught. She responded saying she agreed, but it was still sad.

I agreed.

Even before I read the evidence of what Prince said, I suspected that if Prince was being intolerant, then perhaps may have something to do with his interpretation of the tenets of his faith practices.

This Prince moment also reminded me that our generation has a hard time accepting the fact that victims can be perpetrators. Continue reading

Music, Perceptions of Muslims and the Little Big Planet Delay

by Guest Contributor Shawna, originally published at Islam On My Side

Recently, the Little Big Planet PS3 release was delayed. This peeved many, including my husband, who had pre-ordered it and eagerly anticipated its arrival. The next day, it came out that the delay was due to the presence of Qur’an verses within one of the songs in the game. The song was written by an Emmy winning Muslim musician who explains that it’s normal in his home country (Mali) to include Qur’an or words of the Prophet (pbuh) in music in order to show the inspiration of Islam. Sony decided to strip the song from the game instead of risking offense. They’ve been through this before with the Catholic church. No need to reenter the arena.

What surprised many was the response by the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. On their behalf, M. Zuhdi Jaffer, M.D. released the following in a statement:

“Muslims cannot benefit from freedom of expression and religion and then turn around and ask that anytime their sensibilities are offended that the freedom of others be restricted. The free market allows for expression of disfavor by simply not purchasing a game that may be offensive. But to demand that it be withdrawn is predicated on a society which gives theocrats who wish to control speech far more value than the central principle of freedom of expression upon which the very practice and freedom of religion is based.

“…We [the AIFD] do not endorse any restriction whatsoever on the release of this videogame but would only ask those with concerns to simply choose not to buy it. We would hope that the producer?s decision not be made in any way out of fear but rather simply based upon freedom of expression and the free market.”

Continue reading

On Cultural Appropriation: Halloween and Beyond

by Latoya Peterson

While I was sick, I received a few interesting emails. While in the context of a larger Racialicious team discussion about Halloween, Andrea linked to a Sepia Mutiny post about Heidi Klum’s choice of Halloween costume.

Here’s the costume:

Fatemeh commented:

Though I have to admit, it was a bitchin’ costume, I don’t think it’s appropriate. I doubt Catholics appreciate it when people go as Jesus. I know lots of Muslims would have a shit fit if someone went as the Prophet Muhammad. I know that sometimes Hindus dress up as their deities for plays and such, but I doubt they’d appreciate it for a Halloweeen costumes. It’s different than dressing up as a Pope or a priest, which are human. You’re essentially dressing up as God.

Then, Fatemeh followed up with a link about how Hindu leaders were angered by Klum’s choice of costume.

Interested, I asked Fatemeh to do a post. But Fatemeh was flying to Denmark, Thea and I were sick, and the other correspondents had work constraints.

The following week, I got an impassioned email from reader Naomi, who wrote in about the treatment of Klum’s costume in an Us Magazine article.

Starting with the title, “Heidi Klum Explains Her Crazy Halloween Costume,” Naomi immediately launches in on the problematic nature of the coverage:

This article is horrible and ridiculous on so many levels:
1. The fact that Heidi Klum went to India and all she got out of it was an offensive Halloween costume idea.

2. The “othering” of non-Western cultures by making them look as odd and different as possible without even seeking to understand them or learn about them, proven by the following point.

3. This quote from the article, stated by Ms. Klum in regards to the goddess who inspired her costume: “I loved it because she’s so mean and killed all these different people and [had] fingers hanging off [her] and little shrunken heads everywhere.” As my Tamal friend pointed out–wtf, that’s not the point of the goddess at all.

4. That she is taking a RELIGIOUS figure and using it as a “scary” costume.. And that Us Magazine doesn’t find this offensive.. They even open with the gosh golly quote: ‘How did Heidi Klum come up with the idea to be a scary Indian goddess for Halloween?’

Then again, V.V. from Sepia Mutiny admits:

What think you, desis? My initial thought was that I should be offended. Then I thought, why? Is that reasonable? People dress up as versions of evil a range of characters, including ones with religious connotations, every year on Halloween. And this Kali is a pretty awesome costume. Klum certainly pulls it off with panache. Maybe that’s easier if you’re twelve feet tall and a model. She’s got all the details—look at what’s around her neck and waist!

While Halloween is three weeks in the past, I’ve been playing around with how this fits into the larger ideas of culture and appropriation. Klum’s costume is gorgeous in both execution and the technical sense. But, as the interview displays, Klum isn’t really concerned about the true meaning of the goddess outside of her immediate need for a cool costume.

Thoughts, dear readers?

And while we’re thinking, does anyone know what the hell Seal was going for with his costume?

On Proposition 8

A Racialicious Roundtable

Alternet recently reprinted an article by James Kim (written for The Nation), reporting:

If exit polls are to be believed, some 70 percent of African-Americans voted Yes on 8, as did 53 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of Asians; each of these demographics went heavily for Obama; blacks by a 94-to-6 margin. Los Angeles County, heavily minority, went 50-50 on Prop 8. These results have shocked gay activists, who knew from earlier polls, for example, that black voters favored Prop 8, but they were seeing much smaller margins, closer to 50 percent.

The easy, dangerous explanation for this gap, and one already tossed around by some white gay liberals in the bitter aftermath, is that people of color are not so secretly homophobic. But a more complicated reckoning — one that takes into account both the organizing successes of the Christian right and the failures of the gay movement — will have to take place if activists want a different result next time. First, there’s the matter of the Yes on 8 coalition’s staggering disinformation campaign. Ad after ad told voters that without Prop 8, their churches would be forced to perform same-sex unions and stripped of their tax-exempt status; that schools would teach their children to practice homosexuality, and, perhaps most effective, that a smiling Barack Obama had said, “I’m not in favor of gay marriage.” This last bit went out in a flier by the Yes on 8 campaign targeting black households. Continue reading