Watching the radicals
Take the time to go through all the Arabic satelite channels and you will be appaled by the huge number of religious ones. Giving the micro for hours to a “respected theologist” is becoming the only media offer. People call to ask about the Islamic answer to various questions that range from ” what kind of music can I listen to?” to ” what is the length of the stick I can beat my wife with?”. And he takes hours to give generic answers full of warnings and orders. Needless to say how conservative, outdated, ambiguous and misogynous his answers are.
Three points are really worrying about these religious programs:
– They convey a passive and negative vision of life, during which you should be obssessed by what is allowed and what is not, without any creative or critical mind;
– They are becoming more and more popular and gurus like Amr Khaled have millions of fans on Facebook;
– The theologists are never contradicted. There is only one micro, and no one is here to discuss their ideas, interpretations and “advice”. They present their speech as the only truth without any attention to the consequences of their words. And I can tell you that their ideas are not very liberal…
So what does one do to deal with the encroachment of these channels? What can we do as citizens to blow the whistle? Anyone can ascertain the multiplication of veiled women on the Arab streets and the radicalization of a big part of the society, and something should be done to counterbalance that.
One option is to really put these TV Religious Showmen in front of their responsibility and to make them aware that any of their words count, so tthat hey really think before conveying obscurantist ideas. I believe it is possible to create a sort of “observatory” form of liberal religion experts and jurists. They will be in charge of monitoring these programs, writing reports and suing the religious presenters for juridic reasons such as human/woman rights undermining and for any other judicial purpose (I am sure it is always possible to find one) that may help in making them less extreme. The goal is not to win the case, but some media spotlights on these actions can convince these guys that someone is watching them, that they are responsible for their sayings, and that presenting art and women as the devil is not tolerable in some countries!