Running Local

This Train of Thought Makes All Stops

Losing Our Heads Over Stereotypes

Posted by Bob Kohm on February 17, 2009

Muzzammil Hassan was tired of the post-September 11th stereotypes of Muslims being put into play by the American media, and rightfully so. At a time when it was all too easy to believe that most of the world’s Muslims were a blood thirsty band of maniacs just looking for an American to kill and with American televangelists calling Islam Satan’s religion, Hassan started thinking about a way to make a difference, a way to project Islam in America in a more positive light. Being a media-savvy guy, he had an idea– an English language cable channel featuring positive Islamic stories and Islamic lifestyles. This is America and people believe what they see on TV; why not give them some positive Muslim imagery to combat the dark stereotypes?

Hassan launched the hopefully-named Bridges TV in Orchard Park, NY, home of the Buffalo Bills and not an area renowned for its inclusivity or deep thinking on racial issues. His programming choices were guided by his founding ethos of portraying Muslims in America as they are– your neighbors, your shopkeepers, your friends.

Mr. Hassan’s message of tolerance, inclusivity– really, sameness to every other American– took a slight detour late last week when Mr. Hassan turned himself in to Orchard Park police for the act of ritually beheading his wife– the mother of his four and six year old children– who was in the process of filing for divorce from Hassan. The beheading, which took place in the studios of Bridges TV, was portrayed as an honor killing in Mr. Hassan’s confession. Apparently the beatings that he was delivering his wife in the months before her ritual slaughter– the police had been called to the hosue several times fo domestic violence complaints– were also designed to increase Hassan’s honor.

This abominable behavior isn’t characteristic of the Islamic community in America; the people who engage in this stuff who happen to be Islamic are no less of a lunatic fringe than Christians who blow up abortion clinics and murder doctors “in the name of god” or Jews who become ensnared by the insane teachings of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Now if only the guy who was working so hard to get the message of Islamic “sameness” in America out there wasn’t also the same guy who ritually beheaded his wife in an honor killing we’d have a much easier task of convincing the average Christian American that all Islamic Americans aren’t practicing a religion that demands killing pretty much everyone else. That slap you just heard was the entire respectable body of Americans who practice Islam doing a face palm over this thing.

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3 Responses to “Losing Our Heads Over Stereotypes”

  1. SeaDogStat said

    She was his second wife…he has 2 older children from a previous marriage….what happened to her?

  2. Chancellor said

    Clearly, beheading isn’t a characteristic of the average Muslim in America. That’s a given.

    The domestic violence issue, though…wow, I’m not so sure. If you go to the TAM website, there’s a link there on a paper from Dr. Robert Dickson Crane, former head legal counsel for the American Muslim Council, and he estimates (albeit unscientifically) a 90% rate of Muslim husbands who have hit their wives at least once. Now, we’re not talking some rabid anti-Islamic preacher here – we’re talking about a person who was a significantly important person in the Islamic community.

    Amongst other papers on the same website, there’s a common theme – the official numbers are 15-20%, but they’re grossly under-reported in the Islamic community.

    TAM’s a pro-Muslim site, and what they have on there is awfully scary bad in and of itself concerning domestic abuse.

  3. B-Fly said

    As a member of a religious or ethnic minority in the US, you always cringe when a member of your “group” engages in awful behavior that will undoubtedly reinforce existing negative stereotypes. Into that breach steps Muzzammil Hassan, the Islamic-American community’s Bernie Madoff.

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