Seen I: The Visit
The Birthplace of Minnesota
On one beautiful Saturday afternoon, Sophia Rashid, a 25-year-old Muslim woman, decided to take her four-year-old daughter to Stillwater for an outing. “It was a gorgeous day,” she thought. Stillwater Afterall, as their website tagline says, Stillwater is “The Birthplace of Minnesota.” Sophia, like many Americans, went for burger and ice cream at Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop. As Sophia was leaving with her daughter, on the sidewalk, she was approached by Metscial gang. The Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, the ACB, according to ADL, “… is a small white supremacist prison/street gang based primarily in Minnesota and Kentucky. violence racist prison criminal group.” The ACB physically approaching her and started staring at her and her daughter. “we’re watching you”, Sophia overheard them, saying, according to the police report. Sophia said the gang members are walking past her “it felt like a coordinated effort to intimidate her.” On my show, Sophia explained that she made it safely to her car with help from the restaurant staff provided some community security. Sophia, who happened to be white, was wearing the Islamic dress Burqa/Niqab. At that moment, she realized she lost her white privilege, which she had enjoyed for 17 years before she converted to Islam now, we have a story with a plot!!
Seen II The Interview
Blondie meeting Niqabi in the Guantanamo interrogation room!
A few days later, Sophia was contacted by Beth McDonough, a KSTP-TV veteran reporter who happened to be white; this is getting exciting. I can’t even contain myself, so bear with me. According
to Sahan Journal, Sophia wasn’t sure that this interview was such a good idea, but with the help of some folks from community leaders, she agreed to the interview, “a chance to tell Muslim stories and concerns”, they told
her. The interview will be taken place at Dar Al Farooq, (The House of the Judge), a mosque in Bloomington. Sophia and KSTP-TV discussed wherein the Mosque. Finally, the KSTP-TV crew chose a room that was off-putting, cluttered, and looked like an interrogation room in Guantanamo. “They wanted to film me walking in my full dress. Sophia objected, she explained on my show. They wanted to Exotify the interview; they wanted my dress and me to be the story”. In that room, you can see Ms. Beth McDonough, the KSTP-TV reporter, who looks more of FoxNews blondie reporter than a local TV channel. She was wearing a mask and what it seems to be a tied or yoga pants and sneakers keeping her social distancing. Sophia didn’t have to; she already had a permeant one with her Burqa. According to Sophia, the interview took about 45 minutes, which ended in a four-minute segment aired on KSTP-TV. Sophia was worried about how the interview went, to be assured by Ms. McDonough not to worry, and assured her the interview went well. We aren’t going to get into the details of the interview; you can watch it here. But what concerns us here is one question that triggered lots of debates and reactions on social media and elsewhere. Ms. McDonough, in the middle of the interview, tried to play the devil advocate, achieving only half of her mission. She asked Sophia “You and your daughter were there exercising your right and freedom of speech, and you are wearing particular clothing, and that these bikers were there blocking the streets exercising their right wearing various insignia” as she was balancing her hands in the air as a scale for visual aids. There are so many things wrong with this question I could waste my 1000 words article limits on it. But for the sake of our reader’s time, here is Sophia eloquent answer to Ms. McDonagh’s fake question, “I guess I see that as a strange thing to equate with each other. I’m a Muslim; they’re a violent supremacist gang.”
I’m not sure how reporters prepare when they cover stories about minorities. Ms. McDonagh, who, according to her BIO, enjoys a good adventure and has traveled to 20+ countries, not sure any of Middle East countries were in her adventure traveling. According to the fake media objectivity manual, there are always two sides to any story, even when there is one clealy on the wrong . Sophia was a victim of intimidation and Islamophobic hate threats, on the other hand, the other side is a violent racist gang. But according to the amendment of equal protection, both sides have the right to be there, wear whatever they want, enjoying their freedom of expression. While white nationalists march with machine guns in the street!! Black young men get shot by the police for wearing a hoody, Visisbale Muslims are racially profiled, kicked out of Airplanes, and practically banned in this country.
Seen III: The Reactions:
Media outcries, social media exploded, “KSTP-TV reporter asks Muslim woman: What’s the difference between a hijab and white supremacist gang regalia” Sahan Journal headline. CAIR jumped on it, asking for FBI investigation, a letter from Ted Kozlowski, the mayor of Stillwater, “I’m incredibly saddened and disturbed that a visitor to Stillwater, and her daughter, didn’t feel safe in our town. We welcome everyone here and do not abide racism or discrimination of any sort” he posted on his
A police report produced that indicates the violent nature of the ACB gang. There were death threats and lots of likes and support from people all over the globe. Sophia posted her ordeal on her Facebook with more details. “I’ve been in not-all-that-safe situations around racists/islamophobes before, but this one was just different, and I knew it almost immediately. Something was *extra* wrong, wrong beyond a group Nazis walking casually down a busy street in broad daylight obviously trying to signal to me that they saw my presence and weren’t too happy.” She wrote
Seen IV: Fake Media Objectivity
We are living in a post-truth world, with constant fake news filling the air, laced by false reporting, fake interviews, and fake questions, and, most of all, fake media objectivity. The mantra that every story has to have two sides is fake. The fake debate that racism has another white fragility side, police brutality killing young blacks men, how about our law and order side, inequality has how about fairness side, toppling racist statues has how about our heritage side.
as Canadian Auther, Alain Deneault explained in his book, Mediocracy…
The political order of the extreme centre.! “… poets hang themselves in the corners of their messy apartments, passionately committed scientists develop answers to questions that no one is asking, brilliant industrialists build imaginary temples, and great policy thinkers produce soliloquies in church basements. ” The majority are stuck in the middle where nobody wants or can deviate from the mediocracy of the average, and the tyranny of centrism of our political system that brought us a white racist, corrupt looter into the white House.
Host/Producer of Arab American TV show
Blogs at Notes from America
Follow him on @Twitter.com/ahmediaTV
His articles published in national and international publications
Lives in Minnetonka, MN