How Western non-fiction from the Muslim world fuels war and retaliation

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In 1993, in response to Mahmoody’s story, President Bill Clinton sign the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act, which made international parental kidnapping a crime. That same decade, the US State Department made Mahmoody an adviser “on the fate of American women and children detained against their will in foreign countries.” Since then, the film has been shown regularly on television stations such as Oprah’s OWN, in addition to being shown in public schools and even in a custody hearing “as a credible example of the beliefs and Muslim practices “. The book is still in print, its cover having been update to reflect current images of “creepy Muslims”. (The heroine is now in full niqab.)

Goodwin explains that the book’s enduring legacy is widespread loathing for Islam, pity for Muslim women, and pride in the allegedly human rights-loving United States. Other books written and marketed by white people in the genre have cultivated the same sentiments, according to Ahmad. The first book of the Princess The trilogy, for example, idealizes America and obscures the role of the United States in the origin of the atrocities described in Saudi Arabia, leaving readers to conclude that “women of Arab culture have no rights.” Young Adult Novel by Suzanne Fisher Staples about a Young Bride, Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind, is more nuanced, but its packaging and educational uses give students an “illusion of global cultural literacy”, leading some to intimidate their Muslim peers.

While readers young and old alike consume bestsellers on the suffering of Muslim women (often in place more meaningful engagements with Islam), Muslim women around the world are increasingly subjected to military force, surveillance, discriminatory policies and hate crimes by those who claim to liberate them .

Bush administration celebrates appealed human rights to justify the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, devastating hundreds of thousands of civilians and creation the conditions of the current crisis. As a specialist in religious studies, Juliane Hammer has discussed, the past few decades have also seen the rise in physical and verbal harassment against Muslim women in the United States, including incidents where some have had their headscarves forcibly removed in public by strangers. Many Westerners have come to believe that by wearing such clothes, Muslim women either demand violence or signal their allegiance to terrorist men – therefore, they must be beaten to remove them.


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