Muslims, the Stereotype Du Jour on NBC’s ‘Community’

By , March 19, 2010

I am an Jewish-Israeli living in the U.S. and while I love Community, I still had similar feelings to the Imran who wrote on ELAN the post about Muslims stereotypes in Community. Here are some of his points:
Abed’s dad and sister come from Gaza which is highly probable and not outrageous given the occupation and restricted access to travel they would have. I’m completely convinced that they would go through hell on earth to travel to America for something as silly as a community college’s Family Day. But it’s just a sitcom and crazier things have happened on television.

The daughter, Abra is (surprise, surprise) wearing full niqab and is referred to as “wearing a burka” throughout the show by even the Muslim characters (also, she’s the only one who is speaking non-gibberish Arabic). They establish right away that the reason she’s wearing it is because her father won’t let her take it off because he’s a monster. She just wants to jump around in the astro jump thing they have set up at the picnic, come on Dad!

Later Abra is “freed” by one of Abed’s female friend’s kids who help form a distraction so that she can go enjoy herself in the Astro Jump thing, burka-free. Albeit the episode wasn’t morally heavy, it still made a strange and somewhat awkward point about oppressed Muslim women and backward nonexistent Arab/Indian hybrids.

What do you think?

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One Response to “Muslims, the Stereotype Du Jour on NBC’s ‘Community’”

  1. Adam says:

    I thought it was poor taste for what is an otherwise quite intelligent show. There are plenty of materials out there describing how the desire to ‘free’ Muslim women from the niqab can be a western cultural construction rather than an altruistic act of liberation (emphasis on ‘can be’, not ‘always’). Why perpetuate those stereotypes?

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