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How the Media has Created Western Misconceptions of Arab Women

Hijab does not mean Jihad: Representations and Misrepresentations of Muslim women in the media

Brooke Hoffer

on 14 December 2010

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Transcript of How the Media has Created Western Misconceptions of Arab Women

How the Media has Created Western Misconceptions of Arab Women When it comes to Muslim women, there are three stereotypes presented by the Western media: The overly sexualized and mysterious Eastern harem woman. The passive and repressed victim of patriarchy. And the head scarf wearing, gun toting terrorist. Media (Mis) Representations Muslim Women in the Canadian Nation
Katherine H. Bullock and Gul Joya Jafri

“Our argument is that Muslim women are presented as outsiders: as foreign, distant "others," and as members of a religion (Islam) that does not promote "Canadian" values, but anti-Canadian values such as indiscriminate violence and gender oppression.” (Bullock, 2008). Opinion: The media is obsessed with how Muslim women look
Fatemeh Fakhraie
“Most major stories about Muslim women revolve around how they look and what they're wearing -- not who they are and what they are doing.” (Fakhraie, 2010)

"Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands..."
(Qur'an 24:30-31) Contested Identities: challenging representations of young British Muslim women
Claire Dwyer
“Looking specifically at the spaces of the school and the neighborhood it is clear that young women negotiate their identities differently within different places and in relation to their parents and other family members, their Muslim and non-Muslim peers and teachers. They also construct their identities within particularly discursive frameworks and in relation to dominant discourses” (Dwyer, 1998). Muslim Women: Crafting a North American Identity
Shahnaz Khan
“As we move towards the twenty-first century, Orientalist fantasies remain. In particular, societies where Islam is the religion of the majority continue to be seen as totalizing religious and ideological orders. Authors writing within this framework give Islamic religious ideology a pre-eminent position in the Islamic world, while ignoring regional, cultural, and neocolonial differences” (Khan, 2000). Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today
Yvonne Haddad, Jane Smith, and Kathleen Moore
“A number of events in other parts of the Islamic world in recent years have created powerful incentives for those who were either affluent enough or were sponsored by relief agencies to seek haven in the West. …Today they constitute the largest immigrant group, and many of them, including women, are skilled professionals” (Yvonne Haddad, 2006). "A woman acts for the people," (Bukhari 2:595, Ibn 'Aisha) “I said, ‘O Allah's Apostle! Shouldn't we participate in Holy battles and Jihad along with you?’ He replied, ‘The best and the most superior Jihad (for women) is Hajj which is accepted by Allah.’ 'Aisha added: Ever since I heard that from Allah's Apostle I have determined not to miss Hajj.”
(Hadith - Bukhari 2:595, Ibn 'Aisha). ABC News reported:

“Alert: Female Suicide Bombers May Be Heading Here From Yemen U.S. Agents Told Women Believed Connected to Al Qaeda May Have Western Appearance and Passports”

(Richard Esposito, 2010). The Washington Post headlines blared:

“FAMILIES SHATTERED BY SUICIDE ATTACKS Female Suicide Bombers Are Latest War Tactic”

(Raghavan, 2008). Ticker tape on CNN exploded with headlines like:

“PILGRIMS Female suicide bomber kills dozens in Baghdad”

(CNN, 2010). Westerners are only getting one side of the story. This is not the face of Islam.
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