General Discussion

The Issue of Bias

by admin

Is this film “biased?”

Because it centers on the story of Asra Nomani, who obviously does not represent the majority of American Muslims? Because it dwells on controversy and conflict?

Or does it manage to maintain balance even while painting a portrait of a polarizing figure and exploring controversial issues?

Tags: ,

6 COMMENTS

  1. Al-Emeen says:

    This was a largely one sided documentary viewing Ms Nomani as the righteous star of the film and several in the Morgantown Mosque as the bad guys. There was no real balance to compare a well trained journalist versed with sound bites and effects and every bit of her thought no matter how wrong it was, is portrayed in a positive light against poorly prepared simple women and less articulate men in the community. It also stereotypes directly and indirectly Muslims who practice and adhere to their religion and wear the Hijab, have a long beard, or just want to adhere to their school of thought, are all portrayed as extremists non-moderates nonliberals, and indirectly as people with terrorist-like mentality. Is this the aim of the producer; to create more fear and skepticism of Muslims based on their looks or behavior so that more hate-filled right wing radio and TV hosts spew their incorrect stereotyping of Muslims? The documentary surely achieved that goal.

    Why does everyone pick on Islam these days? Was this really so important for America to waste an hour watching it? I challenge the producer to produce anything close to this documentary in Synagogues or among right wing Christian Churches. Can she go into their Synagogues and Churches and see what irrational things they say and believe about Muslims and those who do not follow their faith? Can she infiltrate the White Supremacists behind the person who attacked the Holocaust Museum, the Churches behind the person who killed the abortion doctor, or the Jews behind more than one Jewish person who killed Muslims or attempted to blow up their worshiping places here in the US and advocate expelling them from the country? These are relevant to America, why don’t we see one documentary about them?

    At the end I really felt I wasted my time on this rather shallow interpretation of Islam and Muslims from the point of view of one woman who is traumatized by her out of wedlock son that cannot be amended to make her fit back. She also clearly suffers from guilt feeling for the killing of her friend Pearl in Pakistan. So she hit back at the first chance and excuse of being asked to enter from the backdoor of a mosque. That excuse to attack the community and what it resembles to her personally. A kind of personal vendetta. She clearly relishes the media attention and was never sincere and wanting to reach out for the change, she was angry and destructive to her own community. Her arguments were chaotic and for the sake of argument. This was not the personality and sincerity, nor the Knowledge and Faith of Martin Luther King, whom she compares her self to in the documentary.

    • Open mind says:

      Dear Al-Emeen,
      Your comments regarding the producers motives perplex me. You write: “It also stereotypes directly and indirectly Muslims who practice and adhere to their religion and wear the Hijab, have a long beard, or just want to adhere to their school of thought, are all portrayed as extremists non-moderates nonliberals, and indirectly as people with terrorist-like mentality. Is this the aim of the producer; to create more fear and skepticism of Muslims based on their looks or behavior so that more hate-filled right wing radio and TV hosts spew their incorrect stereotyping of Muslims? The documentary surely achieved that goal.”

      As a non-Muslim, I could not disagree more. I found many of the people in the film engaging, especially Mona, who “tells it like it is” with dignity and conviction. Disagree or agree, she reminds me of my own grandmother with her firmly held beliefs. I certainly do not feel threatened by anyone in the film. They seemed like good people with differing perspectives on certain aspects of worship and social interaction. Many of my friends who viewed this documentary commented that they came away with a more relaxed feeling and positive impression of American Muslims, and Islam in general. We have more in common than than we realized.

      New Hampshire

  2. Bystander says:

    I agree with much of Asra had to say in this documentary, but I think she set her ’cause’ back many years – she’s harmed her cause more than she’s helped it.

    One thing many journalists often fantasize about is being silenced – the thought of becoming heroic through some authority having silenced you because you tell the ‘truth’. You can see it in much of her approach when addressing people associated with the mosque – it’s uncomfortable and it’s cringeworthy to anyone that doesn’t want a fractured community.

    There’s a reason Asra didn’t seem to get the support from the local muslim community – and most of them aren’t that conservative either.

    I would accuse Asra of failing to show any real tact, but let’s face it – she’s a shock-jock journalist that wrote articles that embarassed and put to shame the local muslim community.

    Anyone that seriously believes publically humiliating and defaming the muslim community (rather than just the leaders) and then hope to garner public and widespread support for a ’cause’ (however rightious it is) has rocks in their heads.

    Shock-jocks like Asra don’t serve the community well, because they attempt to throw the baby out with the bathwater – to publically defame and humiliate their brothers, sisters, mothers, aunts, uncles, friends.

    She does a disservice to muslim liberals when she attempts to alienate the vast majority of muslims rather than engage the more reasonable types in a way that involves both listening AND talking.

    The way she treats the liberal/moderates in the film is appaling. She comes across as rude, opportunistic, snide, smug, condescending, completely dismissive of other points of view.

    Hazem Bata puts it best when he explains in the documentary – ‘we could have made 10 years progress in 10 months had she worked alongside other moderates like myself’ or something to that effect. Whether Asra believes this or not, she should have at least tried it.

    The way she treats the younger guy, Ihtishaam Qazi in the documentary and in the meeting in particular – was disgraceful. Here is this young, open-minded guy, totally comitted to listeining to her point of view whilst trying to bring the community forward in a united manner…and he’s just casually dismissed as irrelevent and useless when he doesn’t walk lock-step with Asra’s point of view.

    Asra should have seen Ihtishaam’s viewpoint for what it was – ‘not perfect’ but progress nonetheless. Instead she throws the baby out with the bathwater, yet again. I felt terrible for him.

    When you take all of this into account, it looks as though she’s chosen to pursue a personal vendetta because of the regrettable death of her friend Daniel Pearl – and instead dragged her community through the mud through her articles and campaign.

    Her work is tainted because of this – people have every reason to question her motives and sincerity.

  3. Aisha A says:

    I was really Outraged seeing this documentary, Because there is a reason that men and women can’t pray side by side, and a reason why the Quran tells us to be Modest. Allah and His Prophet Don’t Give such laws because they want to oppress us, But For a greater reason, To Protect Us , and give us self Respect.

    I Think What’s happening is that People are trying to change islam from its original context, because of the attention we are facing from the west and elsewhere. The Women’s Liberation movement didn’t start in the 20th Century , but Rather was started a man By The Name of Muhammad 1400 years ago who received Allah’s guidance. Islam Has everything we need, There is no reason to change it, nor argue about it! it seems as if the end of times is approaching us. Allah Gives Us equal Rights to both genders, but that means we play different roles in life so that Human existence could be balanced out. We all know that men and women are different internally, and If everyone played the same role, there would an imbalance.

    I am an 18 year Old, and i have still have alot to learn about my religion, and whatever i said wrong in this, May Allah Forgive me! But we must know that We have to follow the Quran and Sunnah in their original contexts, and from the views of the sahabas, and taabeen, and the prophet himself.

    I appreciate anyone reading this~ Peace be Upon You

  4. QP says:

    It is people like you Sidra Iqbal who so quickly forget the respect and honor that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) showed to women and who quickly forget that Allah’s greatest dictum is compassion. I would much rather acknowledge Asra Nomani as my fellow Muslim because she has the courage to advocate that the best of our religion should be brought into the future. That best includes the honorable place of women within society and a chance to be certain that their sons and daughters are not taught hatred by those who seek to teach hatred of others as a primary message within Islam.

    Ms. Nomani relates to the great beauty and compassion within Islam, as do I. What mosque do you see within the wahhabi network that teaches this?

  5. Sidra Iqbal says:

    The documentary is biased. I would appreciate it if it included more input from Muslim women from the Morgantown Community, women who are practicing Islam the way it is in the Quran. The meaning of Islam is submission, i.e. submission to the will of Allah. And covering your head and following the Qur’an is submission to Allah’s will. Asra Nomani should not even be considered a practicing Muslim. If she is not happy with Islam then she should change her religion rather than changing the religion itself.

    Brooklyn, NY

Please wait