When an act of bigotry or prejudice occurs, it is often accompanied by an insidious denial that an act of bigotry is even occurring.
You would think that cancelling advertising during the reality television show All-American Muslim because showing Muslims as ordinary people apparently equals doom to the US – as the company Lowe’s (and others) did – could not be seen as anything other than horribly Islamophobic.
Wrong! Come with me, to a place where reason and facts are lost in a swirl of self-promotion, self-aggrandisement, and truly wretched amounts of internalised Islamophobia. In case you hadn’t already guessed, Asra Nomani has shared her insights with us and what a shallow, murky puddle it is.
Let’s start with the title: “All-American Muslim: Why Advertisers Are Right to Boycott,” and go straight to Nomani’s second paragraph to see her reasoning:
“Forget political correctness. Lowe’s, the national chain, did the right thing in pulling its advertising from the series. The company said it killed advertising from the show because it had become too controversial, but there is another legitimate reason the company could have given for yanking its advertising: it’s bad TV.”
Firstly, to dismiss the reasons behind Lowes’ cancellation as avoiding controversy, while glossing over the hate actual campaign waged by the Islamophobia network against the show, is highly disingenuous. Note the words “another legitimate reason [emphasis mine],” implying that to Nomani, Lowe’s actions were already perfectly legitimate. Not only that, she goes on to state that she will now purchase from Lowes in the future “As an American Muslim.”
Then she talks about the show being “bad”, so companies should cancel advertising anyway. A quick glance at the TLC wiki page shows that this is the channel responsible for such high quality programming as “Toddlers and Tiaras”, a show hideous on many levels, yet not subject to any boycotting campaign. So the “quality” issue a misnomer. There’s also the more important concern that there are groups that find programmes with positive (or even just normal) portrayals of Muslims so abhorrent that they will launch highly organised campaigns to blot them out. But no, these concerns are just a “straw man” to Nomani.
Now, those familiar with Nomani’s oeuvre might be wondering, “Where is the part where she talks about how all Muslims are a bunch of extremists and she’s the only Muslim who is enlightened and modern and swishy? She always writes about that.”
Indeed she does, and this article is no exception as she gleefully cherry picks anything in the show disagreeable to her as “a Muslim seeking some sort of challenge to conventional, traditional, old-school Islamic interpretation reminiscent of the Dark Ages.” Again, she ignores that the programme shows a Muslims who with differing types of practice.
Nomani states that Muslims defending the show are just indulging in groupthink and after all, there is “real” Islamophobia out there. However, to her, this Islamophobia is not a big deal anyway, as Muslims are apparently just as powerful at suppressing any criticism of Islam, and thus supposedly stifling debate. Considering that Nomani’s concept of debate involves sucking up to right wing Islamophobes for fun and profit while using a scattershot of tropes from Derailing for Dummies, I’m not sure it is debate she wants, but increased hatred and suspicion of Muslims and a decreased platform for any Muslim (apart from her) to speak against that hate.
Editor’s note: Comment moderation may be slower this week, as I am traveling. I apologise in advance if your comment takes some time to appear. – Krista