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Media and Culture--Perspective and Bias

"Religious scholar Reza Aslan took some serious issue on CNN Monday night with Bill Maher‘s commentary about Islamic violence and oppression. Maher ended his show last Friday by going after liberals for being silent about the violence and oppression that goes on in Muslim nations. Aslan said on CNN that Maher’s arguments are just very unsophisticated.  He said these 'facile arguments' might sound good, but not all Muslim nations are the same. Aslan explained that female mutilation is an African problem, not a Muslim one, and there are Muslim-majority nations where women are treated better and there are even female leaders."

Via Seth Dixon
Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 22, 2014 5:42 PM

Over-generalization in regards to people and places can lead to discrimination, stereotypes, and misunderstandings. Media in the United States is notorious for generalizing entire regions of the world instead of expressing the differences between these places. While a people of a region may have some similar characteristics, it does not mean that that entire region is the same. The media tends to use the term "Muslim Nations" in order to speak about areas of the Middle East where violent, radical Islamic groups raise terror. The term "Muslim Nations" has been made to spark fear, anger, and hatred in American households, but "Muslim Nations"  are not the ones that people should be scared of. Countries with an Islamic majority are not just typified by their religion, and they definitely should not be typified by the media's portrayal of Islamic insurgencies. 

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 14, 2014 8:29 PM

This video discusses how the majority of Western society groups Muslim countries and assumes that they are alike and does not take the time to distinguish just how different they really are. As the Religious scholar Reza Aslan states, it is usually easier to use Umbrella terms to classify one group. Aslan also says that in many Muslim countries woman are treated fairly and it is countries such as Saudi Arabia that give the world the idea that that how woman are treated in all Muslim countries and that couldn't be further from the truth.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 2014 1:27 AM

This video is fantastic as Reza Aslan, a man educated on the basis of Islam is able to debunk falsehoods held by many. Quite a few people in this country hold on to very narrow minded and incorrect images of Islam. This whole situation is compounded as many media outlets also are poorly informed and pass these false statements off as fact. Education is the real key to religious tolerance, if you are able to look at a situation with a clear head and understand multiple sides of an argument you become far better prepared to speak and think about the topic. I've shown this video to numerous people as it serves as an amazing wake up call for some.  

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Gendered Cultural Narratives


"As a Muslim woman who chooses to wear hijab,I'd like to apologize for this poster, to my non-hijab wearing cohorts.”;

Via Seth Dixon
MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:02 PM


Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 12:17 PM

The hijab is an item of clothing that represents the cultural and social outlooks of women in many Muslim or Middle Eastern societies. Many believe that women are meant to be covered up in order to remain pure and unaffected by the world. This piece of propaganda is meant to convince people of the differences between women with and without hijabs, and also the idea that one religion or belief remains much more pure than the other. The woman without the hijab is depicted with long flowing wild hair and with an unwrapped candy bar covered in dead flies. The woman wearing the hijab is presented by a wrapped candy bar, unaffected by the outside. You could also say that this veiled woman represents the purity of Islam while the non-hijab woman represents other religions are poisonous, evil, and overly focused on lust. Religious propaganda is incredibly powerful and can have lasting effects on the people of a society. 

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 14, 2014 8:51 PM

This poster is being used as a jab to no hijab wearing woman by depicting them as unwrapped candy that is covered in bugs and has a bite taken out of it, which is to say they are used and infested. While woman wearing Hijabs are depicted as sheltered and pure. The poster is a symbol of the country in which it originated and their view of how a woman should represent herself.

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The Middle East’s Surprising Appetite for Oil

CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy surrounding climate change, energy, and nuclear security.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's comment, December 12, 2012 3:07 PM
In essence, this is measuring "how many miles per gallon" your economy is getting.
geofoodgraz's curator insight, December 15, 2012 4:37 AM
Seth Dixon, Ph.D.'s insight:

"Most everyone knows about the importance of Middle Eastern oil to the global economy and how that impacts geopolitics.  What isn't well-known is that the Middle East's own demand for oil has been increasing as their wealth and standard of living has been rising.  This chart does not show the amount of oil consumption, but the "energy intensity."  This is the amount of energy (often oil) used to produce a unit of GDP for a country's economy.  


Questions to Ponder: How will this change oil-producing countries economic development in the future?  How does this make us re-assess these economies?  Does this impact how we think about climate change issues?"

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 1:49 PM

Many people are well-aware of the Middle East's important part in the world oil market, but many fail to realize that this region consumes more oil than any other. Government subsidized oil prices combined with a rising economy spurring increased population growth and development makes parts of this region thirsty for petroleum. Cars are becoming more popular and as areas develop, electricity is being produced by the direct burning of fossil fuels. Meanwhile, countries like Saudi Arabia continue producing massive amounts of oil. This natural resource is what is going to shape this region in the upcoming years, providing major economic development that may trickle down to the people. 

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The 9 biggest myths about ISIS

If you want to understand the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, the first thing you have to know about them is that they are not crazy. Murderous adherents to a violent medieval ideology, sure. But not insane.

Via Seth Dixon, Jodi Esaili
Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:28 PM

I was interested to read the 9 myths that are associated with ISIS. Some of the myths stated were very surprising.There is so much information being passed around about this terror organization that it is hard to differentiate the truth with myth.Some of the myths that surprised me were:

Myth #3: ISIS is part of al-Qaeda.

The fact that this group was split  off from al-Qaeda for being to violent was not something that is openly talked about.

Myth #6: ISIS is afraid of female soldiers.

Isis soldiers are not afraid of fighting female soldiers however they do believe if they are killed by a woman then they will not go to paradise.


It is important to know all the information about this topic and to be well informed on the issues.



Alec Castagno's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:45 PM

This website helps to dispel many of the myths and misunderstandings about ISIS. The group is a surprisingly complex amalgamation of many different, smaller groups and nationalities that has sprung out of the recent events in the region. While the group is a result of modern developments in the area, it is still firmly based on an older history, like the ancient Sunni/Shia divide and the old Islamic Caliphate. The group is brutal in its methods because it is still competing with other terrorist/insurgent groups in the area, and brutality is one of the few messages they all understand. Intervention by more powerful Western militaries can certainly help in the fight against ISIS, but it is not the final answer. For most Americans it is easy to see ISIS as the new al-Qaida, but the reality is a very complex situation with no easy answers, and it has a long way to go until it’s resolved.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 1:34 PM

ISIS has been all over the news for a long time now, and it doesn't seem to a be a topic that will leave us anytime soon. The media often depicts ISIS as an extremist, violent, half-crazed group of terrorists that are blindly spreading genocide in order to claim land. ISIS is actually incredibly organized and united under the purpose of creating their own state. We often but violence and extreme religious ideals hand and hand with insanity, but this group's strategic operations and rational movements prove this not to be true. Also, many people believe that fundamentalism refers to older traditions. In reality, radical Islam describes a form of Islam that never existed, where rules, traditions, and beliefs are magnified in a way that goes against the grain of the developing world. This often occurs out of fear of losing a religion, or a way of life. People are also worried about how ISIS will treat those living in its territories, but truth be told, they have already set up government programs in some areas. If ISIS is successful with its mission to create an autonomous Islamic state, then only time will tell if it will survive. 

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Pop culture in the Arab world

TED Talks At TEDGlobal University, Shereen El Feki shows how some Arab cultures are borrowing trademarks of Western pop culture -- music videos, comics, even Barbie -- and adding a culturally appropriate twist.

Via Seth Dixon
Jacqueline Landry's curator insight, December 16, 2013 3:01 PM

Religion plays a huge role in the Arab world and although times are changung they are trying to stay true to their culture. Sherren el feki says that meshing of civilization is important.  Taking popular culture and meshing it with culture will be successful. For instance the comic book 99, fitst Islam superhero. The 99 I to represent the 99 attributes. The 99 superheroes will hopefully join forces with Americas superman,etc. it is not meant to be a clash but to  mix the different cultures in both ancient in modern ways. 

Denise Pacheco's curator insight, December 17, 2013 11:23 AM

I don't think popular culture and folk culture interact very well. They believe in completely different things and live different types of lives according to their values. The speaker means that the cultural interaction is intertwined together because of the islamic people who have borrowed cultural ideas from other ancient and modern civilizations and adapted it to their own. That's why it's meshed as a opposed to clashing or mash. For example, the music video channel that's like MTV. I think it's kind of funny how they made the people in that music video, that's from the USA, look like we also worship Allah. Also, the comic books show religious values in it, especially since the characters come from it. They want young people to not get sucked in to the outside world or modern culture from different societies, so instead they want to incorporate their religion with our ideas of culture.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 5, 2014 8:22 PM

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