Tag: terrorism

by Guest Contributor Neesha Meminger

A couple of weeks ago I had the Toronto launch of my novel, Shine, Coconut Moon. I prepared myself in the usual way, going over what I would read, how I would introduce myself and the book to the guests, and anticipating audience questions during the Q&A. This Q&A, however, threw me off. I should have known better than to expect the usual, “So, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?” line of questioning from my Canadian peeps.

The questions they wanted answers to were more along the lines of: So, what would you say is the difference between Canadian racism and American racism? And, Would you say South Asians in the U.S. are more assimilated than South Asians in Canada?

Maybe I brought it on myself with the intro.

Before reading an excerpt, I talked a bit about how, while living in Canada, I never thought of myself as Canadian – I was always Indian or Punjabi or Sikh and then later, South Asian. It wasn’t until I moved to the U.S. and lived through eight years of the Bush administration, that I felt the most Canadian I’d ever felt in my life. That was when I realized that things I’d always taken for granted (free universal health care being only one of many) were values that formed and shaped who I was. They were the underpinnings of what I thought was right and just. And I was clearly not in Canada anymore.

But having to answer those tough questions for fellow Canadians was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do yet. So much of the experience sits as half-formed thoughts that I had to somehow mold into coherent responses.

Things like the fact that when I lived in Canada, I reveled in my “ethnicity,” wore my Indian-ness with unapologetic joy. But the minute I crossed the border I shrunk from everything that made me appear “too” ethnic. I was hassled at the border several times when I visited home and tried to return. My partner at the time begged me to remove my nose ring and to dress more “corporate” so that I would get across. And the time that I followed that advice, the crossing was smooth and uneventful. I understood, then, on a much deeper level, why that push for assimilation was so strong south of the border. Read the Post Questions and Answers

October 1, 2008 / / language

by Guest Contributor Jesse Singal, originally published at Pushback.org

Over the weekend a disturbing story ran in the Dayton Daily News:

Baboucarr Njie was preparing for his prayer session Friday night, Sept. 26, when he heard children in the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton coughing. Soon, Njie himself was overcome with fits of coughing and, like the rest of those in the building, headed for the doors.

“I would stay outside for a minute, then go back in, there were a lot of kids,” Njie said. “My throat is still itchy, I need to get some milk.”

Njie was one of several affected when a suspected chemical irritant was sprayed into the mosque at 26 Josie St., bringing Dayton police, fire and hazardous material personnel to the building at 9:48 p.m.

Someone “sprayed an irritant into the mosque,” Dayton fire District Chief Vince Wiley said, noting that fire investigators believe it was a hand-held spray can.

According to fire dispatch communications, a child reported seeing two men with a white can spraying something into a window. That child was brought to the supervising firefighter at the scene.

There’s one word that’s conspicuously absent from this account: “terrorist.” If spraying a chemical irritant into a room full of civilians isn’t a terrorist act, then what is? Read the Post Only Muslims Can Be “Terrorists”

September 4, 2008 / / hollywood

by Special Correspondent Thea Lim

traitor

(spoilers inside) *

Contrary to the buzz, (and much to my dismay) Traitor is not a Bourne-esque spy thriller. My movie-watching companion (MWC) and I realised we’d been tricked into the theatre by some loose Bourne comparisons as soon as the opening credits came up. The camera pulled back to reveal a Zellige-like design and the strains of dramatic Middle Eastern music.

Generally my MWC and I avoid films that deal in war, terrorism or the suggestion that all brown people are inhuman fanatics. It looked like we were in for all three.

But the positive (and surprising) thing about Traitor – which begins with arms dealer Samir (Don Cheadle) meeting terrorist group al-Nathir in a Yemeni prison and joining their ranks – is that it goes out of its way to present Muslims as a massive, ethnically, culturally, nationally and linguistically complex group. To a lesser degree it does the same for Black folks in America.

We get to see a lot of different kinds of Muslims: Samir, who is Sudanese but effectively Americanised down to the hoodie and Don Cheadle accent; dreamy Omar (Saïd Taghmaoui) who was educated in Switzerland and longs for another thinker – not just a soldier – to join his ranks; evil Fareed (Aly Khan) who is South Asian and wears fancy scarves.

And then we meet even more Muslims across America [and Canada: Samir visits Toronto (wut wut!), Port Hope and Halifax**] when al-Nathir enlists Samir to distribute bombs to Muslim suicide bombers living on student visas, and leading ho-hum lives until they are activated.*** We meet Muslim terrorists who are living as students, business people, honest-to-goodness rural dads – and get this: they look just like regular Americans (gasp!).

Maybe you see the problem here. What is positive about Traitor is also what is negative: while the film possibly intended to show how complex the global Muslim community is, out of the dozens of Muslims portrayed in the film, you only meet three who are not terrorists. The message you take away from the movie is this: Muslim terrorists can come in any shape or form, so…

Read the Post muslims – they’re just like us!: representations of islam in traitor

November 20, 2007 / / Uncategorized
November 2, 2007 / / Uncategorized

by Racialicious special correspondent Latoya Peterson

The whispers about Iran are starting to become more numerous to ignore. The same whispers continue in hushed tones about Islamo-Fascism, hatred of freedom, and the need to do something.

Do what, I wonder? Bomb more people?

But the whispers grow in volume every day. So, to try to make sense of it all, I began to read.

I read an interesting Q & A on Pop & Politics about Islamo-Fascism.

(Fabulous moment of semi-irony: David Horowitz defending Ann Coulter by saying “Why should anybody in America, whose democratic culture is based on the pluralism of ideas, be offended by a religious belief?” Yes, David, why should they be offended by a religious belief? And why would they decide to be actively offensive toward those who hold other beliefs?)

This appeared the same day I read a Washington Post hosted chat about a PBS program I missed on the whole Iran situation.

Pop and Politics has also been covering some of the issues surrounding some of this othering and the issues surrounding the Bush Administration’s newest target – Iran:

In the Path to Iran, Chris Nelson briefly summarizes Seymour M. Hirsch’s article on the Bush Administration and the next target:

In sum, the war in Iraq is now being redefined— years too late and for ulterior motives— as in fact a strategic conflict with Iran. But blaming Iran for the humiliating U.S. failure in Iraq is merely the latest rhetorical approach to persuade Americans of the need to bomb Tehran, according to Hirsch.

In another post, P & P discussed one of Ann Coulter’s recent speaking engagements in honor of Islamo-Fascism Awareness week:

Ann Coulter descended on USC campus to promote her new book last week as part of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s “Islamo-Facism Awareness Week.” While speaking to a crowd of about 230 fans at the Annenberg School, she offered equal doses of anti-liberal tirade and inflammatory discourse on the world beyond these amber waves of grain.

“Eschewing debate, I would turn to inflicting horrible physical pain. That seems to change people’s minds,” Coulter said when asked during the Q&A if she believed that “very vigorous intellectual debate could perhaps change [Islamo-Fascist’s] views against using violence to spread religion?”

“Who would have thought the Japanese were governable? A few well-placed nuclear bombs and they’ve been gentle little lambs ever since,” was how she followed-up the “horrible physical pain” plan for Islamo-Fascists. Read the Post Fearing the “Other” Is Politically Profitable: Iran, Islamo-Fascism and the Pursuit of Truth

November 1, 2007 / / Uncategorized
October 29, 2007 / / Uncategorized