Speaking of “Islamophobia,” as we were, we can always count on the Guardian for lashings of Islamophilia. David Shariatmadari tells us the University of East Anglia is going to set everyone straight on women, Islam, and the media. I bet you can figure out what’s coming.
Women, Islam and the media are topics often found in close conjunction, and not always in the happiest of circumstances. So in a canny move, the University of East Anglia (UEA), which often gives better-known institutions a run for their money in terms of column inches, has developed a course entitled exactly that.
The 12-week module, which the university claims is the first of its kind in the UK, will cover the often inflammatory topics of veil wearing, arranged marriage and “honour” crimes – looking at how they are portrayed in contemporary film, TV and other media, and how this reflects cultural biases in both the east and west.
Ahhhh yes, those pesky cultural biases in “the west,” the ones that think systematic subordination of women is a bad thing.
The course was developed by Dr Eylem Atakav, a graduate of Ankara University and lecturer at UEA. “Lots of people have written about women and Islam, lots of people have written about Islam and media or women and media, but they haven’t been brought together before,” she said.
Atakav said the course would be an important way of changing perceptions of Islam. Study materials include films and TV programmes from around the world, including Iran, the US, Turkey and China. “We will look at how the media talk about ‘honour’-based violence, for example. If it’s a Middle Eastern woman who happens also to be a Muslim woman it’s called an ‘honour crime’. But if it’s a British woman who was killed because her husband was jealous because she was having an affair with another man, it’s called murder.
“These crimes happen everywhere in the world, it’s not just a Muslim, or just a Middle Eastern thing.”
But if it’s a British woman who was killed because her husband was jealous because she was having an affair with another man, does the killer or anyone else talk about “honour”? Would the same woman’s father or mother or brother or son help the husband kill her in the name of protecting the family’s “honour”? Would their friends turn a blind eye or cheer them on, because a woman who has an affair is a stain on the whole “community”?
The article doesn’t say.