abu eesa

Minority communities and the mighty tweet

The tweet is mightier than the sword.

Social media campaigns by members of minority communities are responding to racism and stereotyping in the media, and getting results.

For instance, last week, Asian American activists launched #CancelColbert in response to an offensive tweet posted by The Colbert Report’s Twitter account. They were hoping to achieve a similar outcome as American Muslims had with Alice in Arabia, an ABC pilot television programme that was cancelled following a Twitter offensive that highlighted the show’s stereotypes of Muslims.

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The shock jock Imam and the “Brown Man’s Burden”

A shock jock Imam. Who would have thought it? And yet, there he was, Al-Maghrib’s very own Ustadh Abu Eesa Niamatullah, tweeting away crass jokes about women and feminists on International Women’s Day, a day some set aside to recognize (even protest) the struggles of women in establishing political and social rights in various societies. Comments only got worse as men and women alike started to call him out on his misogynistic tone on Twitter and Facebook.

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A couple of years ago, while discussing the Arab spring uprisings and their implications, a good friend commented to me, “Isn’t it interesting that all these men are risking their lives protesting for their rights and dignity, the same rights and dignity they often withhold from their own women?” It was an astute observation about the broad dynamic between Muslim men and women today in many countries across the world.

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