Cómo Orientalista: Telemundo’s El Clon, Part II

Yesterday, we introduced you to Telemundo’s El Clon, its premise, and two of its prominent female characters. Today, we’ll look at two more female characters, some of their male counterparts, and examine how the telenovela uses the Qur’an.

Zoraida is the maid in Uncle Ali’s house. She is responsible for protecting Latiffa and Jade, and in doing so she is consequently assigned the task of guarding Uncle Ali’s honor. When Jade is suspected of losing her virginity, Ali severely reprimands Zoraida, saying that she is responsible for knowing what goes on in the house and for being his “ears and eyes.” She sympathizes with Jade’s situation at times, but as Ali’s right-hand woman she constantly warns Jade that she must accept “what Allah has written” for her and that going against her Uncle is a “great sin.”

Zoraida is only empowered in the sense that she is given authority over the other women in the house. In the clip above, we see Ali berating her for not “controlling” Jade.

Zoradia’s empowerment is analogous to the way Muslim women were sometimes empowered within colonized societies: when the honor of the men or of the society is threatened (usually by the “West”), women are mobilized as cultural signifiers. Women are compelled to be reminder of what is halal (permissible) and what is haram (forbidden), and to preserve or safeguard cultural values.

However, they are not empowered outside of this role and the ability to utilize this power is regulated by the man. We are reminded of this every time Zoraida is reprimanded for not being able to control Latiffa and Jade. Ali accepts Zoraida’s authority when protecting the family honor, but she is easily put back in her place with a warning that it is ultimately Ali who “allows” her to exercise authority over the women.

Nazira, the sister of Said and Mohamed (Latiffa’s husband), is perhaps the only Muslim woman on the show who negotiates with men. She is sent to negotiate the terms of her brothers’ marriages to Jade and Latiffa. She is responsible for examining their naked bodies before allowing them to marry her brothers (to see if they are “good” enough), receiving medical statements that indicate that the women are virgins, making sure that the marriages have been consummated by examining the evidence of a blood stained sheet and making sure they fulfill their household duties. She even tells her brother Mohamed that he is the one “who disciplines in the house” and pressures her bothers constantly, against the wishes of their wives, to take more than one wife. Her character is aggressive, assertive, irrational and loud suggesting, that for a Muslim woman to be heard she must be cheeky.

In the show, the men often reference the Qur’an when deciding on how to punish the women. In one such instance, Jade sneaks out of the house to meet Lucas, causing her fidelity to be called into question. As Ali, Said, and Said’s uncle decide how to go about punishing her, Ali tells Said’s uncle that, “She committed a sin and she will receive her punishment…but in the Holy Book it says before you can say someone is guilty you have to have four witnesses who were present when the sin took place.” The four men whom they consulted did not see anything, so Jade was spared.

However, another punishment was ordered as a consequence of her sneaking out. Said’s uncle says, “You should correct your woman with a blow. The book [Qur'an] permits that, in these cases within marriage, you hit the woman. It is not encouraged to do it out of emotion, but for correction. This is written in the book.”

Then Ali replies, “But this is an interpretation that is very strict and retracts from the writing. Prophet Muhammad said don’t hit a woman and he never did and he was wed to six women.” Then he goes on to say, “He (the Prophet) always said that whoever hits a woman is of bad faith. Did he say this or did he not?” However, Ali’s character was already seen slapping Jade earlier in the series. Maybe it is okay for a father figure to hit a woman, but not her husband?

The writers seem to have done their research in these instances and instead of targeting Islam as the reason for the sometimes-ill treatment of women, they attribute these injustices to the failure of men to accurately interpret the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet.

Despite the way the women are actually treated or depicted on the show, there is mention of some kind of concept of gender equality promoted in Islam. Ali explains that the marriage contract acts as means to protect the rights of the woman. When speaking to Latiffa just before her wedding night Uncle Ali tells her, “the Qur’an says that sex is a pleasure for the man and the woman and everything is permitted.” At the same time Mohamed’s uncle tells him, “The man should not leave the marriage bed till the woman is pleased.”

During Said’s wedding, an imam comes to talk to him about marriage. He tells Said that a good wife is one who, “listens to you when you talk” and “when you look at her you are happy” and “when you are down she looks after you.” The show also demonstrates that a woman must give verbal consent to the marriage at the time that the marriage contract is signed.

I guess it would be ludicrous to expect a soap opera not play off exaggerated stereotypes. After all, their aim is to fill homes with starry-eyed viewers who are willing to ride the twists and turns that make these dramas drag on tirelessly.

Still, I’d hope that in trying to capture an audience one would not have to go so far as to catalogue an entire group of women. El Clon reaffirms almost every stereotype regarding Muslim women, using different characters to show the spectrum of possibilities: the victim in need of saving, the hyper-sexualized, the oppressed, the rebellious, and the one about whom they say “no wonder they make their women cover up.” Yup, Muslim women are pre-packaged for your viewing pleasure and then placed side-by-side with the sexually liberated, educated, autonomous “Western” woman, reminding you that the two are always exclusive, and that there cannot be a truly American Muslim woman.

Ironically the writers seem to have done their homework when it comes to citing the Qur’an and explaining religious doctrine as it pertains to women. Perhaps they are trying show that the flaws do not exist in the religion itself, but in cultural practices and in man’s interpretation of religious texts. Nevertheless, the show blurs the lines between cultural practices, stereotypes, and Islam so much that it makes it hard to imagine that they had any clear intention but to make their audience sit for hours on end waiting to see what happens next.

  • OnigiriFB

    I actually find it admirable that the writers of a soap opera is showing that religion isn’t as much at fault as those who choose to interpret it wrongly. I don’t expect stellar research or non-stereotypical characters in a soap opera let alone a telenova that thrives on that. One thing struck me at the end of your post about how “Muslim women are pre-packaged for your viewing pleasure and then placed side-by-side with the sexually liberated, educated, autonomous “Western” woman, reminding you that the two are always exclusive, and that there cannot be a truly American Muslim woman”. So what is an American Muslim? Would she be as sexually liberated as her mainstream American sisters? Would she more or less educated? Would she be free to make her own decisions in life as her mainstream American sisters? How does an American Muslim woman deal with the teachings or culture of Islam while living in a country that enforces the rights of freedom lacking in “islamic” countries? I’ve read this blog often enough to realize that you don’t like the stereotypes the West gives Muslim woman but how to do you feel about the opposite? As in the negative stereotypes that some Muslims think of American woman? On many Muslim blogs and bulletin boards Muslim women love to talk about how immoral, slutty, whorish American women are for not covering themselves. It seems that some Muslim women think American women are all sluts who sleep with every man that she comes in contact with so therefore having multiple children with different fathers and survive only on welfare. What do you think the reason the West portrays Muslim women as they do? If it’s not right then how some Muslims portray Americans isn’t either.

  • Diana

    @OnigiriFB:The point of this blog is critique the way Muslim women are portrayed in media and pop culture. This is not just in American media and popular culture, it applies to any country’s media and popular culture, even those that consider themselves “Islamic”.

    With this said, our job is not to divulge the negative stereotypes Muslims hold of “American women”. I am not able to speak for Muslim women who, “love to talk about how immoral, slutty, whorish American women are for not covering themselves” because 1.) MMW does not express that opinion of American women and 2) some of the women of MMW consider themselves to be American women anyways and 3)we are not one of those “bulletin boards” where Muslim women talk about American women or how they perceive American woman.

    When I say, “Muslim women are pre-packaged for your viewing pleasure and then placed side-by-side with the sexually liberated, educated, autonomous “Western” woman, reminding you that the two are always exclusive, and that there cannot be a truly American Muslim woman”, I am not saying that this is how I perceive American women to be or not to be, nor am I saying that I perceive Muslim women to be opposite of this. I am saying that the show makes it seem that you can only be a Muslim woman or an American woman and not both at the same time. This idea assumes that the American woman is so different from the Muslim woman that the two are mutually exclusive, which is not the case, as many Muslim women identify themselves as American women.

    Perhaps you can direct these questions to a blog or website that does talk about “how immoral, slutty, whorish American women are for not covering themselves up.” But we are not that blog, so I cannot speak on behalf of those people.

  • http://innerreflectionstranscribed.wordpress.com Sumera

    Drama serials are created for entertaintment purposes (with a slight sprinkling of morality) so there are bound to be stereotypes. But it seems they’re doing quite well by portraying the wide spectrum of Muslim women and men you get, just like any other women of faith, race and nationalities.

  • OnigiriFB

    Thank you for your reply. However, I do note that you have neatly sidestepped answering any of the real questions. The reason I included the informations about “other” blogs and sites opinion of American women is that it’s hypocritical of some Muslim women in general and this blog specifically to complain about the stereotypes of Muslim women in the West while tacitly approving of the stereotypes of American woman.

    So I ask again, what defines an American Muslim? If you can’t answer in broad terms then what does being an American Muslim (I’m assuming) mean to you? Would an American Muslim be as sexually liberated as her mainstream American sisters? Would she more or less educated? Would she be free to make her own decisions in life as her mainstream American sisters? How does an American Muslim woman deal with the teachings or culture of Islam while living in a country that enforces the rights of freedom lacking in “islamic” countries?

  • Fatemeh

    @ Onigiri: You’re making a hell of a lot of assumptions up in here–for example, that we “tacitly approve” of stereotypes of other nationalities. You’re also attempting to derail the conversation away from El Clon, which is the topic of the post, in an attempt to use us as your personal guide to Muslims in America. Nu-uh.

    As an American Muslim, I don’t approve of stereotypes of American women that are often held abroad (though American media perpetuates these stereotypes through our own media, which we disseminate abroad–this doesn’t make them okay). But this is a website that centers on representations of Muslim women (American, Iraqi, Nigerian, whatever), not a website to discuss stereotypes of American women abroad. There are plenty other feminist websites out there for this sort of thing.

    BTW, an American Muslim is someone who is Muslim and American. Everything past this is individual. We don’t answer these questions because we CAN’T speak for all American Muslim women (nor should we), just like you can’t speak for all non-Muslim American women. American Muslim women’s experiences are just as varied as non-Muslim women’s.

    And I don’t care for the construction of “mainstream” Americans versus Muslim Americans–we are not a fringe group of Americans. I am just as “mainstream” as you.

    CHA!

  • Diana

    @Sumera: I agree that El Clon shows a wide variety of Muslim women and although I am sure there exists Muslim women who are oppressed, rebellious or victims of something, I would love to see media veer away from THESE depictions of Muslim women.Frankly, we have seen these “types” of Muslim women before. Why can’t we see Muslim women who are autonomous, who enjoy sex with their husbands, who love wearing a hijab (head covering), or, who don’t wear a hijab and don’t see it as contradictory to their religion that they choose not to do so. What I mean to say is, why isn’t the spectrum wider, because honestly, I am an American Muslim women and I don’t fit into any of these mentioned categories and I am sure that a lot of other Muslim women don’t fit into these categories.

    @Onigiri: I did not “sidestep” your question. The reason I didn’t answer your question is because, honestly, it would be offensive and doing an injustice to American Muslim women if I answered that question. To answer that would be to assume that American Muslim women can be defined in a couple sentences it would also assume that American Muslim women are homogeneous…which is entirely untrue. I cannot define what is an American Muslim women, except to say what Fatemeh has said, that “an American Muslim is someone who is Muslim and American”. Beyond this definition I cannot tell you what an American Muslim woman looks like, what she feels or how she dresses; if she is educated, liberated (whatever that may mean) or sexually autonomous…I cannot speak for American Muslim women…I can only speak for myself.

    And by the way your question “How does an American Muslim woman deal with the teachings or culture of Islam while living in a country that enforces the rights of freedom lacking in “islamic” countries?” assumes that the teachings of Islam are in opposition to the “rights of freedom” and it also assumes that American Muslim women must reconcile their Islam with their American-ness, which is to say that you are making the same assumptions as the show: that being Muslim and being American are mutually exclusive or need some reconciling.

    Perhaps it is safer not to assume so many things. On a side note, I also find your use of the term “mainstream” to be “othering”. What defines mainstream? and if I am not “mainstream” in your opinion then, aren’t you marginalizing me?

  • Seffi

    @OnigiriFB

    On many Muslim blogs and bulletin boards? Well they aren’t dishing out offensive, limiting and downright insulting stereotypes in mainstream media that then gets distributed around the globe and recycled again and again are they? No one here thinks offensive stereotypes are OK- that much is quit clear from MMWs posts.

    As Fatemah pointed out- this blog deals with media depictions of Muslim women- not personal opinions of Muslims on forums. No one has tacitly approved anything…clearly Diana is saying that both stereotypes of sexually liberated American women against repressed, submissive Muslim women is sexist and offensive to ALL women as it tells ALL women how to be and doesn’t recognise diversity or reality.

    Why do you think you have a right to ask what defines a Muslim American? Can we ask you what defines you as a (insert religious/ethnic group) American? Why would you think those things would be different for Muslims.
    Clearly you are starting from the ethnocentric position that American and Muslim are somehow not quite compatible judging from the questions you ask.

    Also- what exactly is sexual liberation? and why are we hypocrites for questioning stereotyping of Muslim women in the media just because SOME Muslim women may hold negative stereotypes about non Muslim women? I didn’t realise I had to be held accountable for everything anyone the same religion as me did and that I had to shut up about the things that bother me when it comes to the negative perceptions and treatment I suffer in the ‘mainstream’.

  • Seffi

    This telenovela may try to show a view that culture not religion oppresses women…but it sounds horrendous none the less. Yes, throw in some round-about debate about religion vs. culture but if anything that makes Muslims look even more ridiculous because they can’t live by their faith and the exaggerated stereotypes do enough damage to make that irrelevant anyhow, showing them all as hypocrites and illogical fools.

    In the absence of other nuanced and balanced Muslim characters and story lines the audience will take away the same misconceptions and limited associations about Muslims and Islam.

    It is the same old crap- Muslim girl wants a sexy non Muslim man to save her and Muslim men are all hypersexual sexist pigs. plus belly dancing. Ugh.

  • OnigiriFB

    The only assumption I was making was that you are American Muslim. I am not trying to divert the conversation away from El Clon but pointing out how it seems hypocritical of the writer at MMW to complain about the writers of this soap opera stereotyping Muslim women. From everything I’ve read in both posts it seemed that the writer were trying to include every type of Muslim womens out there without saying all Muslim women need rescuing and are oppressed. The reason I say you are tacitly agreeing is that in the at least a year if not longer that I’ve been reading this site I have NEVER read anything about Muslim woman and their assumptions about American women. Or any critique of Muslimahs at all AFAIK. So perhaps instead of complaining about non-Muslims you should look in your own “backyard” so to say. I would think you would also like to educate your fellow Muslimahs as well as non Muslims that stereotypes of any kind are not welcome. Since this post did point out the stereotyping of Muslim women I did think it germane to the conversation. Don’t ask us (non Muslims women) to respect you (Muslimahs) if you aren’t going to respect us as well.

    And the dichotomy that I used of “mainstream” American is to say someone who is not a minority. You should be aware that as a Muslim in America and as a American Muslim woman you are a minority. Thus the “mainstream” part you took offense to. As an Asian-American Buddhist woman I’m also a minority and not part of the “mainstream”. If you don’t realize that you are minority in this country then that’s your problem not mine.

    Ok so basically all I’ve gotten from your reply is that an American Muslim is just an American and a Muslim. Great. That explains absolutely nothing. Were you offended then that the writers didn’t include a “sexually liberated, educated, autonomous “Western” woman who is also a Muslim? Isn’t that the protagonist?

    In conclusion, IMO Muslims in general are quick at pointing out how stereotyped they are or offended at this or that non-Muslim thing but hate being on the receiving end of criticism. If Muslims can’t take criticism then they will never understand that some things need corrected in their society/culture. At least Western countries have accepted the criticisms made as valid and tried to correct them. I’m still waiting on Muslims to even get as far as realizing some criticism are valid. Human rights are just that HUMAN. They are not rights tied to ANY religion and should be something all humans follow. Stereotyping of any person due to race, religion, sexual orientation, etc is not right by ANYONE. And while you choose to see El Clon’s writers as still stereotyping Muslims I see it as an attempt (a good one considering it’s a soap opera) of showing how Muslim women aren’t all hiding under a burka with no say in her life.

  • Diana

    I would rather not go around and around in circles talking about something unrelated to what MMW does and unrelated to the post. So, for all intensive purposes I would just like to briefly list a few things:

    1. MMW does aim to critique the representations of MUSLIM WOMEN (not other women) in American AND other country’s media and popular culture. It is not “hypocritical” that we stick to this goal.

    2. Our job is not to show how Muslim women think about American women (which is such a weird thing to say anyways since there are also American Muslim women).

    3. MMW does not stereotype American women or any other group of women. Nor does it accept or encourage the disrespect or slander of people of other religions, ethnicity, race, nationality or sexual orientation. We are, after all (as Muslim women), a group consisting of women with multi-layered identities…we are Muslim, feminist, coverts, Arab, American, British, Egyptian, Irani, black, white, Hispanic, Malaysian,”Middle Eastern”, South-East Asian, Hijabis, Niqabi’s, Muslim women who don’t think hijab is necessary for modesty, married, single, dating, heterosexual, bi-sexual, homosexual,sisters, mothers, wives, students, teachers, journalists…etc. We are not one dimensional just because we can be placed or place ourselves into the neat, easy to say category of American Muslim women! This term is for convenience.

    4. El Clone does not show “every type of Muslim women out there without saying all Muslim women need rescuing and are oppressed”…and that is exactly the problem.

    5. Jade, the protagonist, is not depicted as a “sexually liberated, educated, autonomous “Western” woman who is also a Muslim”. Autonomous means self governing; How is she self governing if she cannot even choose who she gets to be with or marry? How is she “sexually liberated” if she has to lie about sleeping with her lover and is forced to have sex with her husband? How is she educated when, if you actually watched the show, she is not allowed to go to medical school which is her wish? So yes, I am offended that an educated, “sexually liberated” or autonomous American Muslim woman was not shown nor was any Muslim women shown to be in a category outside those which I mentioned.

    6. We do accept criticism, this is why you are allowed to post a comment and engage in discussion with us. But your criticism must be even tempered, informed, and constructive…and please criticize us based on what we have said we aim to do “critique the way MUSLIM women are presented in media and popular culture”. As far as I am concerned the main gripe here seems to be that we have done just that, critique the way Muslim women are presented, and certain readers are upset that we have ONLY done that. This is why the site was created though and if you want something else, perhaps a different site would better suit your reading desires. But we welcome readers who want to engage in the critique of Muslim women as portrayed in the media and popular culture or who are interested in this topic :)

  • Seffi

    @OnigiriFB

    “IMO Muslims in general are quick at pointing out how stereotyped they are or offended at this or that non-Muslim thing but hate being on the receiving end of criticism. If Muslims can’t take criticism then they will never understand that some things need corrected in their society/culture. At least Western countries have accepted the criticisms made as valid and tried to correct them. I’m still waiting on Muslims to even get as far as realizing some criticism are valid.”

    Wow. Just wow. In my opinion non-Muslims in general are quick to try to try to silence us when we ask to be viewed with the same complexity they allow themselves and are told to stop whining and look in our own backyard because ultimately all the bad things about us and our societies are seen entirely as our fault because we are Muslim.
    What ‘western’ countries are you talking about? And I am a western Muslim…I ask again why it is my responsibility to be held accountable for anything happening in Morocco or Saudi?!
    What Muslims do you even know? I work with groups who are working to correct the things wrong in their communities…so clearly you just like to generalise about Muslims, suggest we shut up and not critique how we are represented and in general think all Muslim women are judgemental horrible hypocrites…Nice.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-28727-Woodside-Family-Examiner RCHOUDH

    Thanks Diana for these two intriguing posts! Like you said it’s to be expected for soaps to generally exaggerate and stereotype their characters to unbelievable proportions. But it’s still annoying to see negative old Orientalist stereotypes about Muslims being resurrected time and time again. I guess it is a tiny bit of consolation to see the writers try to explain that certain “Islamic” practices are actually based on local cultures. Speaking of cultures, I read somewhere that that’s what was criticized about the original Brazilian telenovela by a Muslim advocacy group. That instead of highlighting Moroccan culture in particular, the Brazilian soap just mashed up practices from a whole bunch of cultures from other Muslim countries and misrepresented them as being Moroccan. I don’t know if the Spanish version is guilty of the same problem but if it’s completely faithful to the Brazilian soap then it most likely is.
    On a somewhat related note, this soap has a strange convoluted storyline! I haven’t watched soaps in a long while but I don’t recall ever coming across one that combined clash of cultures with the ethics of genetic engineering!

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-28727-Woodside-Family-Examiner RCHOUDH

    “At least Western countries have accepted the criticisms made as valid and tried to correct them”.

    If they have tried to correct themselves why do we still see the same stupid negative stereotypes of various groups (and these include not just Muslims but many other racial/ethnic/religious, etc. groups) being perpetuated over and over and over again by Western MSM???

  • Diana

    @RCHOUDH:
    Yes! It is definitely a strange story line. It almost seems like 2 separate stories in one show…but maybe it is because it is only half way through the show; Maybe the story lines intersect later?

    That is interesting what you said that you, “read somewhere that that’s what was criticized about the original Brazilian telenovela by a Muslim advocacy group. That instead of highlighting Moroccan culture in particular, the Brazilian soap just mashed up practices from a whole bunch of cultures from other Muslim countries and misrepresented them as being Moroccan.” I actually can’t say for sure if the Spanish remake does this as well since, I am not exactly familiar with Moroccan cultural practices.

    I did note however, that the way they did the wedding was kind of a mix of Desi (Pakistani and Indian) Muslim culture and as far as I know some of the other practices seem to have mirrored Muslim cultures found in Egypt and Pakistan. I am not saying that these practices do not exist in Moroccan culture as well, but it is something to think about!

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-28727-Woodside-Family-Examiner RCHOUDH

    Salaam Diana,

    I read that bit of info from Wikipedia (which does provide a link to the original source):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Clone#Portrayal_of_Muslims

    I wish I knew more about Moroccan culture so I could understand better whether they did confuse Desi wedding practices (which I am familiar with) with Moroccan. Thanks again for this nice review!

  • Dar Al-Harb

    This is a very lively discussion indeed. Somewhere above I’ve read that this novella is praised for its accurate research of the Qur’an, showing that negative stereotypes should be associated with culture and not the religion (or those who “misinterpret” it).

    That’s laudable – but in reality, aren’t the tenets and principles of Islam as represented in the Qur’an and Hadith in complete conflict with Western principles of individual freedom, democracy, and equality of women?

    I don’t know of any devout Muslims who don’t want the imposition of Sharia Law in society, who believe democracy should continue in favor of a theocracy/caliphate, who really think that freedom of religion and the ability for a Muslim to leave Islam is permissible.

    Sure this blog is only about El Clon and MMW’s stated scope … but if you’re going to host a blog on the implications of this novella and how it depicts these two conflicting ideologies (West vs. Islam), you also need to cope with the reality that is the Qur’an and how immutable and absolute its teaching are.

    Adios …

    • Fatemeh

      @ Dar al-Harb: “aren’t the tenets and principles of Islam as represented in the Qur’an and Hadith in complete conflict with Western principles of individual freedom, democracy, and equality of women?” Nope. And this isn’t the time or place to discuss it.

      “I don’t know of any devout Muslims who don’t want the imposition of Sharia Law in society, who believe democracy should continue in favor of a theocracy/caliphate, who really think that freedom of religion and the ability for a Muslim to leave Islam is permissible.” Well, if YOU don’t know any, then we must not exist!

      Read the comment moderation policy. And if you still can’t handle the fact that we’re a bunch of Muslim feminists who believe in freedom, equality for all, and justice, then don’t come back.

  • Dar Al-Harb

    Fatemeh,

    I’m very ok with the concept of “Muslim feminists who believe in freedom, equality for all, and justice”!

    My only concern is that your self-description is anathema to every major Islamic school of thought in the world today. I wish it wasn’t so, but the reality is: The negative stereotypes about Islam and its treatment of women arise from the actions of devout, theologically mainstream Muslims — not “misunderstanders” or a tiny minority of extremists.

    Do you agree?

    Respectfully,

    Dar Al-Harb

    • Fatemeh

      @ Dar al-Harb: No, I don’t agree. You’re assuming that every “devout, theologically mainstream Muslim” (the definition of which is subject to variable factors) follows a “major Islamic school of thought” to each letter and deed. They don’t. If they did, then stuff like honor killing and barring women from education wouldn’t exist, because there are no Qur’anic basis for these things.

      It’s like saying that pedophilia is part of Catholic thought because Catholic priests have been molesting children all over the world for several decades (that we know of)–just because someone with a religious label does something doesn’t make it religiously-sanctioned or a religious act.

  • melio

    Everyone sounds offended. In any case I would like to say how I found a profound love for the Muslim culture thanks to this novella. I love seeing the diversity of cultures, but I had never looked into this culture before. Why? Because I live in America, and the media has really antagonizes any culture that covers their heads. Judging by the comments I can tell that this novella did what every other novella does, falsely represent a group at whole. But I hope it does have some truth to it because I am very excited to visit Morocco. The place looks beautiful! And Ali is so smart; I would really like to look it to this religion.

  • Nissa

    Dar Al Harb is a troll. Best to ignore him. Anyone with that as a scree name is an Islamophobe of the Robert Spencer variety (ie. thinks wikipedia is the ultimate source on info about Muslims, on a good day!).

    I would eat my hijab if he knew the first thing about the Islamic schools of thought since people study for lifetimes to get to grips with the fiqh and the philosphy whilst living it and I am sure he isn’t a learned Islamic scholar. Also, I doubt he has even spoken to a Muslim on a personal level nevermind them giving him their take on sharia and governance. Trolling will attract the loonies but of course one Muslim speaks for us all. except when they say anything that doesn’t lend to your view of us as crazu secret violent jihadists (!)

  • Dar Al-Harb

    Nissa,

    No need to react like that! Well, I guess I truly am a “troll” since I was originally interested in the Clon telanovella and have lived and worked in Mexico y hablo espanol. I’m definitely not a regular contributor here.

    Having said that, whilst I am not Muslim, I have studied religion/philosophy at the graduate level and have read and discussed more than the average person. In fact, I am also part Lebanese and understand much of the culture of that region. So, no need to impune the messenger, or eat your hijab (a lovely visual) …

    I accept that not all Muslims are the same! But it’s very difficult to argue that there’s room to deviate from Islam (is it is defined in the Sunni and Shia traditions). The fact remains that Islam is at odds with western style democracy and freedoms. Isn’t that one of the points of the telanovella in the first place? … and the reason it’s ‘controversial’ and thus appears on blogs like this?

    I have known many wonderful folks — both male and female — who are muslim and every bit as “western” as I am, but who also identify as Muslim. That’s great — but it’s quite another thing to say that their ideals and lifestyle is in agreement with what the Quran and Hadith says. Why not just acknowledge this? It does not discredit either Islam or “western” muslims such as yourself.

    It’s no different (if if I may borrow the Catholic analogy) in saying that the majority of Catholics in the U.S. are not aligned with the Church’s teachings on Abortion. Does that invalidate or discredit either the Church or its members? No, of course not. It’s merely understanding that individual Catholics are at odds with the religious teaching of the Catholic Church.

    Cordially,

  • Nissa

    My lifestyle is very ‘Western’ (what exactly does that mean anyway?) I was born and bred in the West and my lifestyle is most definitely not incompatible with Islam.
    Who are you to then judge how ‘Muslim’ our lifestyles are anyway? Again you do the typical ‘Islam as a monolith/West/Islam binary’.

    LOL@ western style democracy. Isn’t that what there is in Gaza?! Please…western style ‘democracy’ is some idealised version trotted out to attack Muslim nations who have a monumental disasterous political system because of the West’s interference.
    I am sure you have read more than the average person- care to explain to the ladies here why you chose the screen name you did? Your conclusions about Islam (and therefore Muslims) are already formed, at least be honest about it and not intellectualise your Islamophobia.

    Being part Lebanese doesn’t suddenly give you an legitimacy…I am not a Lebanese Arab and neither is the majority of the Muslim world -so you do not have any great insights into our many cultures.

  • ang

    I would like to correct some assumptions about some writings “western style ‘democracy’ is some idealised version trotted out to attack Muslim nations who have a monumental disasterous political system because of the West’s interference.”

    wester style ‘democracy’ is existent I live it and I love it, I am not muslim it is not a lie. Western countries did not start off ALL Muslim nation’s disastrous political system because in all newscasts read sometimes they are created by their own citizens, in their own religion, which is what the last blogger was ascertaining that even within Roman Catholic faith there are members who may be at odds within features of their doctrine, which is the same thing happening in other muslim countries, Sharia vs. Sunni, before Islam, Arab countries were peaceful… Point taken everyone has a right to their own belief, I live and work with Islamic coworkers I have friends some are very good friends, and we get along and there is no xxx phobia of any sort…I wish you could see it to believe it, but you seem to have seen it in your prior writings which kindof state it…There are some beliefs I share in common with Islam even though I am Christian, and like you said I agree with you I may not have great insights into our many cultures, cos although I teach I will forever be a humble student cos I learn even from what I am reading here…and let us not match strife with strife, always end with a peaceful resolution, leave your mark embellished, agree to disagree…I like the novela el clon it is a ficticious romantic naive soap, and it may not interpret what the holy books may say correctly but it is good to analyse it, it gives us cause to re examine our faith and doctrine which if we are sure of should not cause us to be angre and defensive…but at ease and peaceful…many blessings///Ang


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