Monday, September 17, 2012

How #MuslimRage became a Twitter Trend: a lesson for Newsweek and other news publications

Earlier this morning, Newsweek made a terrible mistake: "The magazine’s newest controversial cover, blaring the headline “Muslim Rage,” has readers in an uproar and social media in a tizzy," LA Times says. The idea is very clear, at least to me and many other Muslims and many non-Muslims: This is what Muslim rage looks like. Look what they did in response to that shallow 'film' that looks like a 1st-grade skit--only, probably even the 1st graders would have done a better job.

What's worse, the magazine features Ayan Hirsi Ali, an ex-Muslim female who has unfortunately become an authority on everything "Islam & Women" or "Muslim women" in Western media; her book The Caged Virgin, which I must remember to write a review of one of these days, is a lamely written book in which she basically argues that Islam inherently oppresses women and that no intelligent woman, no woman with a brain should be a Muslim. To "help" the women who are Muslim despite having a brain that they know how to use quite well, she offers some bits and pieces of advice on how to leave Islam--rather, on how to "survive" Islam. She's no academic and no scholar, so I cannot expect her to write anything about Islam and/or Muslim women in which she acknowledges the diverse experiences of Muslims as well as the multiple interpreations of the topic of "women's rights/roles in Islam." But it's a pity she's deemed a hero in the West just because of her views on Islam and women. Of  course, this is not to dismiss her own experiences with Muslims and/or Islam, and I think they're just as valuable as any other Muslim's experiences--but that's my point: her experiences are no more valuable than any other person; yet, she's valorized in and by the West to an extent I really cannot understand.

The point? Her article "How I survived it. How we can end it" is featured on the cover of Newsweek. One of the many serious problems here is, why did Newsweek turn to her to get an opinion about what's going on in the Middle East currently, supposedly as a result of that "film"? Have we run out of scholars and scholarly opinions?

And the image itself! It's horrible, it's unacceptable, it's so problematic on so many levels. Couple that with "Muslim rage" and you've got an extremely loaded point.

Newsweek then asked people for their "responses" to this cover and the image, suggesting they respond with #MuslimRage in their tweets on Twitter. Instead, Muslims got on Twitter, employed social Media in a brilliant and clever way, and totally mocked Newsweek's idea of "Muslim Rage." Instead, Newsweek got some hilariously hilarious responses/tweets from Muslims with the hashtag "MuslimRage"

Reza Aslan, associate professor at UC Riverside and author of No god But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, tweeted earlier: "Welcome to the new digital age @Newsweek. Your attempts to use #MuslimRage to discuss your foul cover has become funniest joke on Twitter.”

Here's a link to these hilarious tweets. What a great moment for Muslim unity :) Most of the tweets, I think only Muslims (or non-Muslims living among Muslims) will understand. Some of my favorite ones are as follows:

- I'm having such a good hair day. No one even knows.
- Finding out something you've loved eating all your life has geletine in it :/
Camel doesn't want a seat belt.
- Man next to me on subway reading Koran on his Samsung Galaxy tablet just offered his seat to an older lady. truly affects us all 
- Lost count on rakka's during prayers
- You ran out of double apple shisha?
- You lose your nephew at the airport but you can't yell his name because it's JIHAD.
- You're stuck on whether you prayed the 3rd or 4th rakat
- My camel doesn't want to wear seat belt [See image below].
- no hits when i release a new music video... because it's ramadan
- "Don't worry it's not counted as a sin if you didn't know"... WHY DID YOU TELL ME THEN!
- Not only did I trip and fall, but I didn't even land facing the Qiblah!
- when you are not sure if it's a serious inshallah or the Arab synonym for NO
- When someone compliments you without saying Mashallah!
- Wanna brush my teeth and my unc got his feet in the sink...

And here's a wonderful satirical image by Shirin Sadeghri :) ENJOY, y'all!

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