Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Saturday, April 5, 2014


(March 25, 2014)

ABC Family, the American television company, wanted to run a show called 'Alice'. It was a show that was kind of stereotyping of Muslims. Alice goes with her family to live in Saudi Arabia and I guess the show was supposed to be about how she deals with life there. There was an outcry, and the show was canceled. The BBC Arabic with Fida Bassil took a look.

First, they showed clips of other ABC shows. Yes, Modern Family ended up on the Arabic news. Weird, right?

Then they had a special report by BBC correspondent Wafa Ishbay.

Here is Fida Bassil introducing the segment. I guess that is Alice sitting behind her.

Fida spoke with an analyst, asking: it's been almost thirteen years since September 11, why are Americans still so smitten by Muslim stereotypes that they would even think of producing such a show?

Well, I think thirteen years dotted with lots of other explosions (not necessarily in the US) might be part of the problem, but the analyst didn't say that. He said the reason stereotypes about Muslims persist is due to three factors:
1. Some people still think it's the time of the Crusades, and are locked into a west versus Islam vision of the world. 
2. The media and Hollywood go out of their way to reinforce stereotypes. I'm almost positive he said 'Jews in Hollywood', but with my Arabic skills, I wouldn't necessarily bet lots of money on that. 
3. Arabs in the US don't do enough to paint a different picture. 

They interviewed another Muslim-American who talked about how unfair it all was. He said something like: it's so unfair that Americans don't understand how much Arab culture respects women, and Arab-Americans should do more to demonstrate that. 

That's all good and well, but might I point out that the BBC Arabic runs an in-depth program practically every other week about how very disrespected women are in the Arab world? And now this guy wants to override all that?

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