Before anything else is written, let me first say that just as there are horrible Christians in the world, there are wonderful Muslims. Sadly, the Muslin faith has been demonized in movies and books as a hateful, hurtful, ugly religion based on the violent actions of an extremist minority. In the real world, I and my family have been blessed to know many wonderful and warm people of the Muslim faith. This said, I have an axe to grind and this time it involves the entertainment industry and, of all people, singer Katy Perry.
Apparently, her new music video for the hit song “Dark Horse” shows Perry dressed as an Egyptian queen who can harness lightning and zaps a man who happens to be wearing a pendant reading God or Allah in Arabic. In response, the Muslim community has criticized the video and demanded that it be removed from YouTube. A protest has even been launched on Change.org, asking for petitioners to sign and thus remove the “blasphemous” video.
Also in this past week, members of the Muslim extremist group Uighur in China attacked people standing at a train station in southern China, killing 33 people and injuring more than 140 as they slashed through the crowds with large knives. In Nigeria, every day brings in new stories of terror as the Muslim militant group Boko Haram slaughters unarmed women and children. The most recent attack was just days ago when they entered a boarding school and cut down 29 boys because “western education is sinful.” And over the weekend, Muslim militants killed 12 members of a security escort for a polio vaccination team in Pakistan. That’s right. Pakistan is one of the last three countries in the world where polio still persists and the only country in which cases are increasing. Yet Muslim leaders there believe that the [western] vaccination campaign is merely a cover to spy on them or it is a plot to secretly sterilize Muslim children and so polio vaccinations teams are routinely attacked, members killed. This most recent attack occurred near Khyber, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Ah, yes, Afghanistan, the land of “let’s throw acid on little girls going to school and then not ever talk about it or protect our little girls because we might make the Islamic Extremist groups mad.”
But … you want to protest a music video?
In the last few days I have scoured the Internet, read newspapers, watched CNN and waited for the Muslim groups, any Muslim group, a single Muslim group to denounce the actions of the Uighur, of Boko Haram, of the extremists killing vaccine workers who are trying to save Muslim children. I hoped to read how a national governing body or the leader of a large Mosque would denounce these actions as cowardly and not of the teachings of the Koran but, alas, these words do not come. At least, they are not made public.
Years ago I had a conversation with a friend, Radisha, an American-born woman who converted to Islam, about the negative portrayal of the Muslim faith around the world. It was post-9/11 and we were talking about the backlash Muslims received because of a few crazies. But when I asked why there had not been a global Muslim outcry against the extremists, why Mosque leaders around the world did not hold rallies to decry the fundamentalists, why the Muslim world did not rise up and cast out those who would blow up buses and dose little girls in acid, she merely shrugged. “We can’t stop them.”
Can’t or won’t?
This week served as a horrible, tragic example of what is going on in the Muslim community. Little boys gunned down in a Nigerian boarding school, Chinese slaughtered at a train station, and health workers killed in Pakistan while trying to better the world did not register a compliant but a music video does.
Today I have a screenplay in the hands of a L.A. producer and my book, “Damaged Goods,” is slated to become a movie by 2016.
While talking to an entertainment lawyer, I learned that the Saudi Arabians have become a big and powerful force in Hollywood. “They have all the money,” is what I was told. But on another note, I learned that several works were canned because of how Arabs were depicted in a projected movie.
The Saudis have reportedly threatened to sue any production company that portrays Arabs in a negative light. Because they do “have all the money,” Hollywood has relented and you will see far fewer negative Muslim/Arab characters on the big screen.
But if the Saudis do “have all the money,” why not use it in a campaign to take down the violent extremist groups? Why not use that power and those resources to educate the tribal leaders who fear women getting an education? Why not use it to show that there is no honor in suicide bombings but, rather, peace is the way of the future?
My friend, Rashida, had been right about one thing. As long as the Muslim community ignores violent behavior and pretends that it is not happening they cannot stop the extremists.
Oh, yes. Perhaps this is a good time to mention my new work, “Flight to Freedom,” a story of two very different women caught in a secret war of terrorists and peacekeepers. Set in southern France, these unlikely women forge a friendship to fight an extremist Islamic Fundamentalist group and stop the assassination of a top level politician.
Stay tuned because I may be looking for powerful Texan backers. I ain’t scared to tell the truth.
Now residing in “the nicest city in Texas,” Alexandra Allred is the author of numerous books, including White Trash, Damaged Goods and the Allie Lindell series. Visit her website, www.alexandratheauthor, or Twitter @alexandraallred but always check out her column the WDL as she ponders all things Waxahachie and beyond its borders.