Where Are the Bigots When a Muslim Does Something Good?

When Rima Fakih won the Miss USA pageant last year, the media jumped all over the story. OMG! She’s a Muslim! The Muslim community must be horrified!

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs delighted in the notion that Fakih’s  “accomplishment” was “an affront to islam” and a “pox on their house.” She practically nominated Fakih for sainthood for embodying “everything sharia and the Islamic world deplore — free women.”

Burn those burkas, baby, and come on in. The water is just fine. I wonder if the ink is dry on the fatwa …

But when the story broke this week about Saheela Ibraheem, the 15-year-old New Jersey girl who was just accepted to 13 universities, including M.I.T. and six of the seven Ivy League schools she applied to, who got a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT (and a 2340 overall score), who plays three sports, an instrument and sings in her school’s choir, among other achievements, not one news outlet mentioned the fact that this exemplary young woman also happens to be a Muslim. (Full disclosure: most of the articles did mention that she is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants.)

Is there something twisted about this, or is it a sign that the world is beginning to look past someone’s religion to the person beneath the hijab?

I think it’s twisted. If you’re going to be quick to point out Muslims who are behaving “badly” (for Muslims), shouldn’t you be just as quick to point out Muslims who are a credit to their religion? I sincerely doubt that Saheela wanted to hide the fact that she’s Muslim because she clearly wears the hijab in all the pictures I’ve seen of her (including when she’s participating in sports). But she doesn’t mention it either, probably because to her it’s no big deal.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying that one’s religion or race should be mentioned when his or her accomplishments are being touted. What I am saying is, where are the bigots like Pamela Geller when a Muslim does something good? They would have us believe that there is no such thing as a Muslim who is a model citizen. After all, everyone knows that all Muslims are terrorists.  If they acknowledged that someone like Saheela Ibraheem is a Muslim, they would have some explaining to do.

According to Islamophobes, Muslims want to bring down Western civilization and take over the world. Saheela Ibraheem just wants to be a research scientist and study the brain.

See an article and video  about Saheela Ibraheem here.

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Ellen

Editor and chief writer at I, Muslimah and Femagination. Ellen also contributes regularly to Elevate Difference. She is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with two cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

4 thoughts on “Where Are the Bigots When a Muslim Does Something Good?”

  1. Dear Ellen :
    This subject exactly hits the target.
    However, I can’t blame the western media when they do this. You know why ?
    Because the Arab Media is just the same if not worse; especially in Egypt.
    How can I blame the western media when the Arab media itself is Islamophobic.

      1. Most of the Arab media is run by seculars who are afraid of Islamic people.
        Most of the official Arab TV prohibit any TV announcer wearing Hijab.
        What a shame…!!

        1. That’s really interesting. It IS a shame. I agree that there is a lot of fear of Islamic people in the media. All we can do is try to change their impression person by person. And contribute to the discussion as much as we can. Your comments are one way of doing this.

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