Misconceptions about Islam (by a Muslim who knows)

By: Mohamed Ahmed

After 9/11

Studies show that eighty percent of all news coverage about Islam is negatively. After September 11th, Muslims around the world were affected. Muslims were terrified to even leave their apartments to get food or other things. National Muslim organizations advised Muslims to stay in their houses, not to congregate, and to stay in well lit areas. Going to the mosque was not recommended. Muslims were targeted and beaten in the street. Mosques were firebombed, and even people who appeared to be Muslim were beaten to death.

The Muslim community was viewed as a tumor. And with a tumor there are only two options: keep it under supervision or remove it. 

Radicals and Mosques

A common misconception about Islam is that all non-Muslims must be killed by Muslims. In fact, Muslims are unable to kill because it is strictly taboo. In fact, unless you are 100 percent sure the assailant is going to kill you, or someone you love, you are going to pay for killing. It is one of the highest order sins. 

Police chiefs and anti-terrorism specialists say that people do not become radicalized at mosques. They become radicalized in front of computers in their basements or bedrooms. People are targeted when they are not connected to their communities or their families. They’re unstable and vulnerable. Then they are brainwashed by the radicals. 

Islamophobia and how it affects and spikes 

A study in ‘Neurostudies’ shows that when subjects were exposed to negative news about Islam, and try to instill fear, they become more accepting of attacks on Muslim countries and restrictions on Muslim rights.

Anti-Muslim sentiment spiked during the election cycles, and the run-up, to the Iran war. This proves that Islamophobia isn’t a direct response to terrorist attacks. It can be a tool of public manipulation and isn’t tied to American deaths or suffering.   

Muslims are not a tumor, but a vital organ. Muslims are business men, and women. They are engineers and part of the military. They are doctors, and teachers, and more. Muslims make a difference, and deserve better than to be beaten in the streets, murdered, or hated. 

For more information, please visit this TED Talk:

 

Unrealistic beauty standards in Hollywood

By Irene Cohen and Ellie Mulvaney

Since Hollywood’s creation in 1910, this film industry has been a huge source of influence for its audience. It is currently the most dominating movie production agency in the world, and often is used as a representation of Americans, regardless of this image’s attainability. This becomes an issue when it is taken into consideration just how unrealistic the beauty standards in Hollywood are. It’s incredibly damaging for people to compare themselves to these famous figures, when the actors themselves struggle to fit the paragon of how they should look.

One example of this is one of Hollywood’s biggest icons; Marilyn Monroe. It was discovered that the actress had multiple plastic surgeries in secret with Dr. Michael Gurdin, and a few of his colleagues, throughout her years in the spotlight. The image that she projected onto young, impressionable women, was one that she herself didn’t even naturally have.

Of course, getting plastic surgery is not inherently harmful, but it further perpetuates unrealistic standards when it is not explicitly stated that certain features are artificial. Monroe went through chin, nose, and breast alterations, as reported by her medical records, where she got the surgeries using a cover name. Obviously, great lengths were taken to conceal the fact that her appearance was not completely natural, which consequently implied to her audience that they were expected to organically look like the figures that they saw on screen.

Monroe was praised as the ideal woman, though she herself went to extreme lengths just to fit the crazy Hollywood norms. She once stated, “When my looks start to go, so will most of my fans,” proving just how image-based the film industry is.

Another example from the past, was John Travolta’s transformation for the John Woo film ‘Broken Arrow,’ in the 1990’s. As a military officer, his character required him to lose around 20 pounds in a few weeks by boxing and dieting. Even at the age of 40, he was under scrutiny for his weight, influencing viewers to potentially not recognize the impacts of aging on the body. For everyone to think that they should look like, and weigh as much as, a young adult, even in their midlife years, is a damaging ideology that Hollywood has dangerously promoted.

One more recent example of this comes from actress Carrie Fisher. One might think that she may have gotten criticism for her weight when she was still a young, unknown actress, but now that she has achieved a legendary status, studios would want to book her regardless of her weight. Right? Turns out, this is not the case.

Fisher opened up about how she was forced to lose 35 pound to be cast as her renowned role as Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ Carrie Fisher had this to say after she was pressured to lose weight, “Nothing changes, it’s an appearance-driven thing.” You can clearly see why she said this especially with the history she has with the Star Wars franchise telling her to lose weight for her role. All the way back in 1977, when she was just 19 years old, and 105 pounds, producers still asked her to lose weight for her role as Princess Leia. Fisher was too right with this quote, and many actors and actresses can attest to that fact.

This pressure to be thin in Hollywood is not only thrust upon actresses, but actors as well. One Richard Madden speaks out on this fact. In one British Vogue interview he says, “I find myself with actor friends – after we’ve done a kind of barely eating, working-out-twice-a-day, no-carbing thing for these scenes – looking at each other going: ‘We’re just feeding this same s*** that we’re against.’”

He also goes on to say that he’s had his body rolls pinched at auditions, corset-like costumes to slim him down for the cameras, and flat out been told to lose weight and to go to the gym. In his interview, he clearly says that how he is filmed is not how he usually looks. The preparation he does for these scenes is not sustainable nor realistic, but many men may see these scenes and think to themselves, why don’t I look like that?

Reactions to the death of RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), a member of the Supreme Court died September 18, 2020, of complications from metastatic cancer. On hearing of her death, in front of reporters, President Trump said that “She was an amazing woman whether you agree or not she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life.” 

Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, also had something to say, “That people should focus on the loss of the Justice and her enduring legacy.” 

Later, in a statement, Obama, mourning Ginsburg, said, “Over a long career on both sides of the bench — as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist — Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn’t about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn’t only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It’s about who we are and who we can be.” 

RBG spent most of her life fighting for women’s rights. She was appointed in 1993, by President Bill Clinton. During her time on the Supreme Court, she has fought for abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, and health care. Days before her death, she said to her granddaughter Clara Spera, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” 

Due to her death, much is at stake. Mitch McConnell, Trump, and Republicans are determined to replace Ginsburg with a conservative justice, even though Mitch mcConnell himself, in 2016, when Obama tried to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, said, “Given that we are in the midst of the presidential election process, we believe that the American people should seize the opportunity to weigh in on whom they trust to nominate the next person for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. It is today the American people, rather than a lame-duck president whose priorities and policies they just rejected in the most-recent national election, who should be afforded the opportunity to replace Justice Scalia.”

Why should you care? With a conservative judge, your abortion rights, same-sex marriage rights, voting rights, immigration rights, and the right to health care are at stake. 

Replacing Ginsburg with a conservative judge would also shift the ideological balance of the court; that would mean the Supreme Court would operate with a 6-3 conservative majority, rather than a 5-4 conservative majority.

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