US envoy to OIC slams “Khaybar”
A nice op-ed by Rashad Hussain, U.S. special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation:
During Ramadan, Muslim communities around the world experience a month of fasting, devotion and increased consciousness of their faith. …
In recent years, as Muslim communities have dealt with hateful depictions and inflammatory actions, American interfaith coalitions have come together to strongly reject such bigotry. It is this backdrop that makes the reported Ramadan release of the television drama “Khaiber” in some Muslim-majority countries particularly disturbing.
The new drama purports to provide a historical account of the Prophet Muhammad and the Arabian-Jewish town of Khaiber. But its producer has said that “the goal of the series is to expose the naked truth about the Jews and stress that they cannot be trusted.” The series also will reportedly focus “on the social, economic and religious characteristics of the Jews, including politics and conspiracies and how they dominate and control tribes.”
Rather than emphasizing Muhammad’s efforts to establish peaceful relations among religious communities, “Khaiber” does just the opposite. And it does so at a time when a number of religious groups, including Christians, face discrimination and violence in countries where the series will air.
Communities that were outraged at negative depictions of Islam must condemn this divisive and anti-Semitic effort. They should also understand that in many ways, this type of programming is also a disservice to Muslims and the legacy of the prophet. While censorship is not the answer, communities must come forward to counter such depictions with more informed views to prevent the spread of stereotypes and hatred that can dehumanize entire groups of people.
…Addressing Holocaust denial is an important step, and I raise this issue when I travel to meet government and civil society leaders in Muslim countries. Efforts also must be made to ensure that textbooks and television programming in the Muslim world are free from the types of dehumanizing ideas and images that breed intolerance and hate.
In doing so, honest and courageous voices must step forward, particularly during Ramadan, to condemn not only negative depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, but also a television series that uses a slanted historical narrative of his life as a facade for sowing discord, division and hatred.
It will be interesting to see if there is any reaction to this. So far, Arab media that discussed Jewish objections to the series tended to justify the hate.
By the way, JTA did have another article on Khaybar, which I missed because they choose to spell it differently.
(h/t Niklas Bergman)