Fighting Stereotypes starts at Home

Fighting Stereotypes starts at Home

My essay regarding my Digital Research Project is attached.

Digital Research Project!

I think its safe to say many of us heard at least one of those success stories when a young man or woman is terrified of coming out to their parents, only to find out that their parents will still love them and support them anyway. Coming out as an LGBT person to your family must be really intimidating for some people, considering that the majority of nations in the world don’t even allow same-sex couples to marry. Some choose to enforce actual imprisonment. But in 2014,  what’s truly unbelievable is about eight nations justify punishing homosexual activity with death. (Click here to see which countries does which.)

But things are more tame here in America, many states allow full rights to marry and most offer anti-discrimination laws. Considering most of the filmed coming out stories are usually taken in Western nations, the family reacting to the news tends to be Christian or Nonreligious. But recently one story from the United Kingdom had the story from a different religion’s perspective: a daughter coming out to her Pakistani father, when she the already knew that her orientation was considered shameful in the majority of her Muslim family’s eyes.  Instead of joining the rest of the extended family and dumping his daughter Sabrina, he expressed his absolute support.  And went on to take a stand for his daughter by dropping those family members who refused to accept her lifestyle.
His logic:

 “It was a sudden shock. But are you going to ignore that fact of life and be tied to your belief and lose a relationship in the process? Or are you going to think beyond?”

As the leader of the entire Catholic Church, Pope Francis has certainly made a name for himself. From auctioning off expensive gifts to give the profits to the poor to going on undercover missions during the night to preach to the homeless, Pope Francis continues to amaze us. My personal favorite story of the pope is when a young child ran up on the Vatican stage during one of Francis’ speeches just to give him a hug; instead of sending the young boy back to his seat, the pope didn’t seem to mind at all and even took this opportunity to let the small admirer sit on his chair while the pontiff stood to finish his homily.


But the main reason he really comes through as an inspiration to do the right thing is based on the fact that Pope Francis is a adamant supporter of tolerance and respect. In order to do his part in helping diffuse the animosity between many Christians and Muslims, he took the time to visit Turkey for a three day trip preaching messages of compassion and nonviolence between the two religions. In a country that’s 99% Muslim, it is clear that Christians do not get the upper hand in any situation; critics continue to question why the Turkish government has yet to return confiscated Christian properties that were taken years ago. While Francis has had some backlash from the Muslim community in the past over certain speeches of his, this time he impressed many with his visit to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia (which is also a mosque).

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

The Hagia Sophia

As we all know, the Middle East is in much need of kind words and positive vibes. In his addresses, Pope Francis was able to both urge Christians to be more open-minded when it came to understanding   Islam, and yet also condemn terrorist acts “justified” by Fundamentalism. Needless to say the trip was a success.

Now I’m not talking about like the daily struggles of going to work in Great Britain as a Muslim man or woman. The huge problem for British Muslims is simple: they can’t even get hired in the first place.
According to British news sources, discrimination transpiring in the job force places Muslims as number one most likely to be rejected out of fourteen different ethnic categories. This is not a new concept either according to the Independent (a news site based in the United Kingdom); in Great Britain, prejudices often tend to occur against religious identity rather than skin color.
And unfortunately, it comes to no surprise that job discrimination still happens even in the modern world. With so many Europeans harboring a negative view of Islam due to the constant threats from radical groups, I would have guessed that British Muslims were the most discriminated against even before I saw these results.

Sending the Wrong Message

Fighting against Generalizations

The most updated percentage I could find of the Muslim population in Great Britain was from 2011, and states that they make up 4.8%, definitely a minority group. Then out of that small fraction the percentage between Muslims and Christians when it comes to getting the job is pretty dramatic.
When it comes to comparing Muslim women to Christian women, the staggering difference is that the Muslims are 65% less likely to be hired. When it comes to men the gap is even bigger, leaving a disparity between getting employed as high as 76%.
In an expert’s opinion the results were anything but unanticipated, Dr Nabil Khattab, of Bristol University, said the situation was “likely to stem from placing Muslims collectively at the lowest stratum within the country’s racial or ethno-cultural system due to growing Islamophobia and hostility against them.”
Referring to that same 2011 consensus, the Muslim population in Britain is only going to increase in years to come based on the fact that out of every ten babies born that year one of them would be born into a Muslim household. So in conclusion if all these statistics are accurate of the atmosphere in Great Britain for those who practice Islam, the controversy of Muslims Brits in the job force will continue to be monumental issue.
Hopefully sentiments between all involved will be able to improve though it definitely won’t be an easy task by any means.

(this looked related)


Remember those harsh comments Bill Maher made about Islam on his TV show?
The ones claiming that Islam promotes violence?
Yeah, well I never got to mention that Ben Affleck was also there and very aggravated that Maher summed up the religion as a whole. After being thoroughly annoyed by the show’s host, Affleck responded to Maher with anger and disbelief that he could be so one-sided.

Ben: What the $#*%, Bill? Bill: I regret nothing.

Ben: What the #!*%, Bill?
Bill: I regret nothing.

However, after the interview aired and everyone had put their two cents in, one response to the “debate” (more like squabble) really caught my attention. And it was an open letter posted on the internet by a Muslim women in response to not Maher’s, but Affleck’s remarks.

The letter began thanking Ben for his good intentions, but the message quickly changed to one of caution. Eiynah, the author of the letter, warns of how many liberal thinkers who aim to protect Muslims from being stereotyped actually end up suppressing the discussion of Islamic practices in general. She states that she truly appreciates that many do not believe in painting all members of Islam as barbaric or extremist, but that because those individuals still do exist -and enforce this on others- that the conversation about the harms of the religion should be examined instead of worrying about politically correctness.
Eiynah goes on to point out the many violations of human rights that exist even in a modern world because of Sharia Law and ancient beliefs: homophobia, sexism, enforced modesty, and the lack of individual liberty.
Specifically (and I’m grateful for this), she calls attention to the lack of religious freedom in Muslim nations. While in America bigots are having trouble letting Muslim people practice their faith, in Saudi Arabia Muslim bigots forbid the practicing of other faiths -including Christianity, Judaism, etc. This lack of autonomy that citizens in some Muslim nations have should surely be addressed in order to create any sort of change.
Overall, Eiynah expresses the need for reformation. And notes that while many Muslim people over the world don’t have the power to do so or are too afraid to stand up to these practices, that the discussion still needs to take place.

Read the full letter here.

If you haven’t heard of Rick Santorum, you haven’t been paying attention to one of the goofy-est republicans in America, who just can’t seem to take an intelligent stance on any issue. Any. Issue.
But I’m not going to waste my time explaining to you all the fallacies about this comical politician, instead I’m just going to focus on one of his recent incidents and it has to do with the portrayal of the Islamic faith. The speech was being held at Liberty University (a self-described Christian academic community, see how they depicted Santorum’s speech here), which is kind of scary considering higher education is supposed to be known for expanding ideas, and not shriveling them. Which leads me to my point, in this speech Santorum, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, criticizes our two previous presidents for not holding Islam accountable for “being the source of terrorism.” He takes more than thirty minutes hinting to the threat and eventually moves on to what kind of military action should be taken against Islam.

This guy is actually going to run for president in 2016

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum: the Third highest Republican in the country according to wikipedia.


He tells his audience that the past presidents, Bush and Obama, have failed because they “identify the enemy by what they do, not by who they are.” He is implying that the actual faith of Islam is the threat and root of terrorism, when in reality many Muslims have a peaceful and logical relationship with their faith. It is a fact that out of all those who practice Islam in the world, the majority are not affiliated with terrorist activity. I find it disheartening that some people in the United States, a supposedly well-educated country, still have these harsh views when it comes to this group of people. Instead of using fear-mongering against Muslims to get more votes in the next election, our politicians could try to set a good example for the public. Anyway here’s the link to the full speech, I actually got through watching like 20 minutes of it; it’s pretty funny.

So while chaos rages through Iran, a country often threatened by war and terrorism, the country as a whole is treated differently when it comes to the typical laws we expect people of the Middle East to be subjugated to. On the one hand, we learn that Iran is one of the most harshly enforced Islamic countries, with rules regarding modesty and specific religious beliefs. However, Instagram -the popular social site based mostly on images- has been compiling a different story.

Rich Kids of Tehran

The Rich Kids of Tehran

“The Rich Kids of Tehran” that’s what the Instagram profile and hashtag has been dedicated to. The social media account’s purpose is to highlight the luxurious and adventurous lives of Iran’s young and wealthy youth. The controversy began when these young people began showing themselves participating in very opposite activities of what Islamic people are expected to partake in; this included women without head coverings and the consumption of alcohol. Rumors spread that these individuals were daughters and sons of the most powerful in Iranian government positions, hence their lack of fear of breaking the strict laws. Regardless of the groups popularity and international attention, Iranian government began to be insulted by the shameless sharing on social media, and the page has recently been censored. Still the page does remind us of the large gaps of wealth between Iranian citizens. A counter-account was created early this month to call attention to the impoverished in the country as well, titled Poor Kids of Tehran.

Although we  assume major news networks will be realistic in their reporting of incidents, it is often and unfortunate that news is skewed in whichever lighting that the producer prefers. Producers of networks nowadays are not shy when if comes to their political opinions; especially when those opinions are concerning Muslims. Its not surprising that the stories end up thoroughly distorted in the sense that they are very one-sided and negative. Instead of a fair evaluation of Islam, the religion often finds itself dramatically overgeneralized as an aggressive and harmful influence on peoples’ lives.

However, instead of continuing forth with this biased version of Islam, it is the responsibility of the media to avoid unfair representations of Islamic people in their coverage. This is were Reza Aslan, and Iranian-American scholar, comes in; he takes a stand during an interview against two hard-headed broadcasters. He refuses to let these reporters get away with summing all of the Islamic countries together as one.. (even thought they do try to multiple times). The topic comes up in response to the claims Bill Maher made earlier this month on how Islam promotes violence.

See the full interview below!


This is based off a very terrible news story that just broke today. After the United States had begun wit its airstrike on Syria, many citizens in these areas feared for their lives. While innocent casualties are still very much a reality in these bombings, the U.S. believes it has earned legal justification by defending Iraq against the ongoing violence of the Syrian civil war. Unfortunately because of the damage it does against innocents, civilians took to the streets to protest against the jihadists who occupied a Syrian town. While the activists hoped to get the Islamic State out of their village because these terrorists are exactly who America is targeting, ISIS responded with violence (not surprisingly).

violence sucks :(

violence sucks 🙁

In order to make their point really heartless, the group publicly executed multiple young men who were in the crowd. Regardless of their threat to the Islamic State, the terrorists too the chance to crucify the youth to set an example. They claimed that he was guilty of “heresy and apostasy.” In total the airstrikes in this area cause the death of eight civilians (one man, five women, and two children) and eighteen jihadists, but the number of civilian deaths are rising day by day.

Before I can begin to discuss how the youth of the Middle East are taking a stand against oppressive regimes and are trying to save their countries, there is one massive and terrifying terrorist group taking hold country-wide in the Middle East: the Islamic State.

radical assholes

radical assholes

They are not confined to any alone country but they pose a threat to all, particularly Iraq and Syria. Also know as ISIS  (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant), their origins begin when they broke off from al Qaeda, the terrorist group known for the 9/11 attacks on New York.  Unfortunately the group has already gained control of hundreds of square miles in hopes of create an actual sovereign state across Sunni areas.

The deep red shows how much ISIS has taken control of.

Al-Khalifah Ibrahim (he renamed himself after establishing the Islamic State) leads and encourages violent displays of his soldiers against the people they conquer. The group has been known for their disgusting behavior; including mass killings, public executions, crucifixions and more. The Islamic State has been catching the attention of the West more severely after its recent beheadings of European and American journalists… and posting recordings of the acts online. It’s been horrific that innocents have to deal with this boogie man around the corner, but one thing is for sure: the Islamic State needs to be dealt with and it’s going to be a hard problem to fix.

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