“Don’t believe everything you read.” I learnt this not from my Moroccan schoolteachers or parents. I learnt it from American TV. I heard it on TV a couple of times as a teenager and I never believed everything I read or heard unless there were proofs that sustained those claims.
Unfortunately, many Americans seem to have forgotten this golden rule. In fact, I’m no longer surprised to encounter Americans with unbelievable assumptions and overgeneralizations that they picked up from some magazine or blog post. Running to premature conclusions seems to have become very widespread among Americans nowadays, especially if a degrading piece of news about Islam is what’s making the headlines.
The latest scandal Western media focused on went viral when some outlets reported that 13 Tunisian girls went to Syria for “Sex Jihad,” where they are reported to have had sexual intercourses with up to 100 men! The girls are now back to Tunisia with bubbled bellies and infected wombs.
Who are these girls? Who sent them to Syria and why? Who’s behind the “Sex Jihad” rumors? Who would benefit from stigmatizing the concept of Jihad and the “Syrian Free Army”? These are all questions that one should ask before jumping to conclusions. Nevertheless, when asked about their assumptions, people say that they believe so because they heard it on the news, or read it somewhere on the Internet! How credible is that? How is it possible for a sane man to send his daughter to a place like Syria for “Sex Jihad?” I wonder where did the American sense of critical thinking disappear.
The least thing one should do when hearing a controversial piece of news is try to measure its validity and credibility by comparing it to what other people, newspapers, TV channels have to say about the same subject. Perspectives matter, and that’s one important point that’s being marginalized in today’s biased media.
Of course, it is understandable that people from different cultures might think differently. However, when it comes to feelings of fatherhood and motherhood, I believe we’re all the same. An Arab father loves his kids as much as an American father loves his kids. YES, Arabs and Muslims can love, too. I bet you don’t hear that very often on Fox News!