Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Follow Up: Abu-Lughod, Bunch, and Ibrahim

All of these readings look at how the West, and mainly America, views Islam and Muslims. The post 9/11 America is different for everyone, but for Muslims and those who look Middle Eastern, the change is marked by prejudice as well as sadness. Ibrahim writes in her article how she and her family experience racial profiling while traveling. Airport security has never been tighter, and it can be especially hazardous for people who look Middle Eastern. Bunch makes the point that the security in the airports is supposed to be protecting Americans, but only does to some.
Ibrahim, Bunch, and Abu-Lughod all focus on how feminists have not been heard on this issue enough. Ibrahim found activism through her own trials with dealing with prejudice as a Muslim-American women. She is defensive about being American and Iraqi. Being a Muslim woman in America can be very difficult. People assume things about you before they ever speak to you. This is what Abu-Lughod looks at. She wonders where this obsession with the rights of Muslim women came from. Women are oppressed all over the world, yet there is a push from the West to save Muslim women. What about the women in Africa who are forced to go through genital mutilation? Abu-Lughod talks about the political element of “saving” Muslim women, and the propaganda involved with the Iraq war. While reading her article, I thought how it is ironic that Americans fight to tell Muslim women not to wear any head covering. Telling someone that they should not wear a headscarf is as oppressive as telling someone that they should wear it. I do think that Muslim women should have the choice to not wear a covering, but I also think that if their choice is to wear it then it should be respected. I have heard news reporters and politicians explain women still wearing the head covering by saying that they are brainwashed. This is really condescending and eschews Muslim women’s intelligence.
I thought that Bunch made a good point that feminists need to be heard on local and global issues, but thought that she made some generalizations. She writes that, "the unholy alliance of the Vatican, Islamic fundamentalists and right-wing US forces is still working together when it comes to trying to defeat women's human rights." I think this is blaming certain groups that may have contributed to the problem, but it is oversimplifying the issue. All of the readings really do not like the Bush administration, but fail to mention how most of America participated and agreed with the Bush administration at one point or another. I do think agree that there are some serious issues with how propaganda was spread by the Bush administration, but to blame it solely on the Bush administration may be unfair.


  1. I appreciate how Molly touched on how all the articles criticize the Bush administration because I was also a bit surprised at just how negative they were towards just him. I am not trying to say that I either support or dislike him and his administration, but simply that I agree that putting the sole blame on them is unfair. Out of curiosity, I went to look up the amount of support the Bush administration had in 2003 when the war began. In May 2003, not even a full two months after the invasion occurred, a shocking 79% of Americans felt the war was justified. I also agree that there may be some issues with how Bush released information, etc. but when 79% of the country thinks that the war is justified a well, it is unfair to put the blame solely on him. I think I would have been a bit more convinced by the articles by Lughod and Bunch if they had touched on the other side a bit. As Ibrahim points out, there are two sides to every story (how the media was portraying the war vs. what the actual living conditions in Iraq were/are) and I think it would be beneficial to touch on the other side of this as well.