Muslim Youth Try Humor to Rout Stereotypes

Young Muslims born and residing in the US are taking conventional humor to counter false American stereotypes of Islam and Muslims. Calgary, Canada born Obaida Abdul-Rahim, who lives in Gainesville, Florida, runs one of several Middle-Eastern themed t-shirt business that have sprung up to retort anti-Muslim sentiment. Such slogans printed on the t-shirts include “100 percent Randomly Searched at the Following Airports” and “Allah’s Little Angel.” The target audience of the t-shirts are diverse; “I’d like Muslims to know that it’s okay to laugh, and non-Muslims to know that we have a sense of humor,” says Abdul-Rahim. Shabbir Chaudury, a student at Fordham University of Law of Bangladeshi descent began creating shirts with a badge that said “Salam, My Name is, not that hard to pronounce” — borrowing from the common Hello, my name is […] stickers. These shirts demonstrate that Muslims are assimilating into the Western culture and are embracing it as their own, despite popular belief, said Shabbir.

Newspaper Cleared Over ‘Kill Muslims’ Letter

PHOENIX: The Arizona state Supreme Court ruled on Friday a Tucson newspaper could not be held liable for publishing a letter that urged people to kill Muslims to retaliate for the death of American soldiers in Iraq. In a 5-0 ruling, Arizona’s highest court found unanimously the Tucson Citizen was protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution and could not be sued for printing the letter in December 2003. The opinion reversed a lower court judge. The court stated the letter to the editor does not fall within one of the well-recognised exceptions to the general rule of First Amendment protection for political speech. It ordered the case be sent back to Pima County Superior Court and dismissed without the chance to be refiled. Michael Chihak, the Citizen’s editor and publisher, said the ruling vindicated the paper’s decision and could have broader ramifications for others. It is obviously a favourable ruling for us, and not just for us, but for the First Amendment, he said. If the ruling had been unfavourable, it may have led people to curb expressions of their thoughts, opinions and feelings rather than adding to the public dialogue. Herb Beigel, a lawyer for the two Tucson men who filed the lawsuit said he was disappointed by the ruling and had not yet decided whether to appeal the case to the US Supreme Court. Beigel condemned the decision as giving the press protection that is far broader than the US Supreme Court has ruled in the past, and said a deeper investigation into the facts of the case was needed before a decision was rendered. The lawsuit, filed by Aly W Elleithee and Wali Yudeen S Abdul Rahim, stemmed from a three-paragraph letter in the Citizen that called for quick retaliation for soldiers’ deaths. Whenever there is an assassination or another atrocity, we should proceed to the closest mosque and execute five of the first Muslims we encounter, the letter said. After all, this is a _Holy War and although such a procedure is not fair or just, it might end the horror.