|Home | Articles | News | Blog | About | Mailing List | Resources | Prominent Islamists | Middle East Forum | Keep Us Informed | Donate|
Television Viewers Tuning in to More Islam
by David J. Rusin • Jun 21, 2008 at 11:56 am
If television programming reflects the society that produces and consumes it, then Islam's increased presence on the small screen underscores the growing impact of — and fascination with — Muslims in the West. Three news items highlight this trend.
A Danish public television channel recently held a fashion competition to find Miss Headscarf 2008, a title eventually claimed by Iraqi-born 18-year-old Huda Falah, who noted that she had entered the contest to counter stereotypes and promote understanding among Denmark's youth. However, a Muslim advocacy group in Copenhagen advised young adults not to participate:
Over in Belgium, controversy erupted this week after a regional broadcaster, as part of an ongoing promotion, invited a Muslim woman who shows only her eyes to deliver the weather forecast. The station's supervisor admits that the segment should not have been aired because it is "of the sort that shocks people." Now a question has arisen over whether ordinances were violated in the process:
Finally, the Fox network has acquired the rights to develop an American version of the popular Canadian comedy Little Mosque on the Prairie, which follows a Muslim community in a fictional small town. Arguing that the show "defuses hate with humor," a previous New York Times profile offers a taste of its content:
While the Belgian weather report clearly jumped the shark, the other two cases are reasonable outcomes of a free market in which Western television producers cater to the burgeoning influence of Muslims and the public's curiosity about their culture.
As always, broadcasters have the right to air what they believe will draw an audience — just as viewers have the right to change the channel.