Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saudi Woman Makes Headlines - for Speeding in Dubai

It must have been a really slow news day for the Saudi Gazette and other newspapers in the region.

Articles with titles like "Speeding Saudi Woman’s Bentley Impounded in Dubai" and "Saudi Woman Fined for Speeding in Dubai" appeared in national Saudi newspapers and in Emirates 24/7 News. In fact the Emirates newspaper even published a lovely photo of the speeding Saudi businesswoman, Maha Makki.

Here is an excerpt from the Saudi Gazette article:

Maha Makki, a Saudi businesswoman, ran several red lights while speeding in her Bentley car in Dubai because she had an important business appointment she didn’t want to miss.
The traffic police however did not accept her explanation. She was fined heavily and her car has been impounded for 60 days.
Maha says she did not notice the red lights because she was in a hurry and that it was the first traffic violation she has ever had in her life. “Maybe I was driving a bit fast,” she said.

And why exactly is this news? Because the driver was a Saudi woman - no other reason. It's as if these newspapers are saying, "See? This is why we don't let women drive in Saudi Arabia. Women are bad drivers."

If this is truly news, where are all the articles which involve Saudi men who have committed traffic infractions? Because when men speed and run red lights, it's not news - but it is when WOMEN do!

Saudi Arabia ranks dead last in the entire world when it comes to traffic safety - gee, I wonder if that could be because only men are permitted to drive in KSA? It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out.

These newspapers should be ashamed of themselves for turning this incident into propaganda, for supporting discrimination against Saudi women, and for perpetuating the myth that women are not safe drivers. I am totally disgusted.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Can Muslims be Good Americans?

In this short video segment from Anderson Cooper's show, a woman expresses her opinion about Muslims in America not being able to be good citizens because of their religious beliefs. Four of the stars of the show "All-American Muslim" are panelists and respond to the woman's statements.

If you missed the first episode of "All-American Muslims," which aired this past Sunday evening, you can catch a re-airing of the first episode tonight on TLC (The Learning Channel). New episodes of "All-American Muslims" are shown on TLC on Sunday evenings, and are reshown on Mondays and Thursdays.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"All-American Muslims" on TLC

TLC (The Learning Channel) will soon be airing a special eight-part reality TV series called “All American Muslims,” which will allow us all a glimpse into the private lives of five Muslim-American families. It was filmed in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of the metropolitan Detroit area, which is known for having America’s largest concentration of Arab-Americans. Boasting a population of almost 100,000, approximately 1/3 of Dearborn’s residents are of Arab descent. This also translates into a high concentration of Muslims in the area.

I went on the TLC website and watched five short enjoyable teaser segments of the show, and I was intrigued by the personalities and real-life situations of the families. It was interesting to see the clear religious differences and vast spectrum of how the show’s cast practice and follow Islam within their community. For example, while many of the women wear hijab (head covering) and dress modestly, other women on the show did not. In fact, one woman has tattoos, piercings, and pink hair.

From the TLC website:
“The show reveals how these individuals negotiate universal family issues while remaining faithful to the traditions and beliefs of their faith.”

The All-American Muslim Families:

The Amen family is featured as their daughter Shadia marries Jeff, an Irish Catholic who has agreed to convert to Islam, and other extended family members also face their own trials, like fertility issues.

Nader and Nawal Aoude
are a newlywed couple who are anticipating the arrival of their first child and have their own ideas about how they will raise it.

Nina Bazzy is a married businesswoman and mother of a young son. Although she was raised in a traditional Muslim household, Nina marches to her own drum and has plans to open a nightclub, the nature of which presents its own problems within her family and Muslim community.

Mike Jaafar is a deputy sheriff and his wife Angela is a consultant. Together they are the busy involved parents to four children, and they work toward promoting understanding of the Muslim community.

The Zaban family consists of dad Fouad, a high school football coach, mom Zaynab, who wears hijab and works part-time as a secretary, and their four children. Coach Zaban struggles with finding the right balance between his Islamic faith and working his mostly Muslim team during Ramadan, when Muslims are required to fast during the day.

If you’re looking for a racy TV reality show like the Kardashians or any of those Housewives shows, you won’t find it here. But in a climate where part of the American population considers all Muslims as terrorists, I’m hoping many people will tune in to see for themselves how normal and truly American these families are. This TLC project will put human faces and personalities to Muslim people, when in the past our main conjured up images of Muslims have been tinged with Orientalism or stereotypes to be feared.

"All-American Muslims" premieres on TLC on Sunday, November 13th at 10pm (9pm Central).

Click here to view five short sneak peak previews from the upcoming TLC series, "All-American Muslims."