19 January 2007

Propaganda

Using the term "propaganda" to refer to this Canadian TV show may seem harsh, but it is clearly intended to use entertainment to put across a particular viewpoint while disparaging other viewpoints. Based on the review, it repeatedly presents Westerners' alert and cautious reactions to suspicious Muslim behavior (the kind of vigilance for possible enemy activity which was praised and encouraged during World War II) as absurd and paranoid, invariably mis-interpretations of perfectly harmless Muslim words or actions. Indeed, the show's creator Zarqa Nawaz explicitly compares it with All in the Family, implying that suspicion toward Muslims is equivalent to the racism and other forms of bigotry lampooned on that show, and should likewise be combated through ridicule.

The message is clear: if you overhear someone whose appearance suggests he is Muslim talking about, say, bombs on the subway, don't call the FBI. If you're on a plane and you notice such a person doing something odd with his shoe, don't bother to inform the cabin crew. You're just being paranoid. There's probably some perfectly harmless explanation which you're too ignorant of Muslim culture to think of.

Even the backward imam character quoted in the first two paragraphs of the review is presented as a mere buffoon, rather silly but nothing to be alarmed about. Meanwhile, here's the latest in the recent string of revelations of what Muslim clerics in the West are actually preaching.

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