Muslims Are Being Stereotyped Unfairly as Terrorists
I immensely enjoyed Julia Duin's article "Festival to bring cultural distinctions of Arab life to light" (Culture et cetera, Dec. 1).
Negative stereotypes hurt. That is precisely why Islamic and Arab-American groups are angered by the recent release of the 20th Century Fox terrorist drama "The Siege." The Council on Islamic-American Relations called the movie "another Hollywood attempt" to stereotype Muslims as terrorists.
Despite film director Edward Zwick's attempts to portray Arab Americans and Muslim Americans as loyal citizens who revile violence and join the battle to fight international terrorism, the overinflated movie leaves viewers with one predisposition: Arabs and Muslims are cruel and violent.
If stereotypes hurt, the Hollywood movie offers a license to hate. "The Siege" attempts to plant fear and revulsion of Muslims and Arabs in the American culture.
This stereotypical thinking of Hollywood movie-makers comes from a mind-set that is a half-century old. Arabs were pictured as wealthy sheiks and desert lovers who embraced polygamy and treated their women badly. Stereotyping Arabs as womanizers receded in the late 1970s, only to be replaced by the terrorist frenzy.
Since the World Trade Center bombing and the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, Muslims and Arabs have been portrayed as cruel. The portrayals bring to mind images of religious fanatics and crazed terrorists.
Such slanderous depictions of minority groups by Hollywood should alarm not only Muslims, but Christians, Jews and people of other faiths. …