Thursday, October 19, 2006

Crossing the Atlantic with a Koran in hand: "Islam and terrorism have become intertwined in the collective subconscious"

A hijab left only the oval of my face exposed - my blond hair was covered, pulled back in a tight bun - and I was wearing an ankle-length skirt. For good measure, a copy of the Koran stuck out of my handbag.
In a typical mainstream media article, Katrin Bennhold dresses up as a Muslim and crosses the Atlantic Ocean in a flight from Washington to Paris. Although hardly anything happens — most officials and fellow travelers, both in the airports and on the plane, show her no disrespect (they even know Muslim customs) — the International Herald Tribune's Paris correspondent discovers that, needless to say, any (rare) example to the contrary (such as a remark) speaks
loudly about how Islam and terrorism have become intertwined in the collective subconscious.
In order to make this hardly-a-story an article, the German journalist must go to other sources, documenting how unfairly Muslims have been, and are, treated in the West and getting feel-good quotes such as the one ending the piece. Never mentioned, of course, whether by herself or the complaining Arabs she interviews, is how non-Muslims are treated in Muslim societies and whether there might not be a modicum of common sense (at least, in this day and age, i.e., that of Mohammed Atta) in racially profiling people whose brothers regularly call for the death of the West.