About Me

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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CAIR Asks Studio to Change ‘Towelhead’ Film Title

The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on Warner Bros. and Warner Independent Pictures to consider changing the title of the soon-to-be-released film “Towelhead” because that derogatory term is offensive to American Muslims and Arab-Americans. CAIR says Muslims and Arab-Americans view the term “towelhead” as a racial and religious slur.

In a letter sent last week to studio executives, the Islamic civil rights and advocacy group asked that the film be called “Nothing is Private” – a title previously used in some markets.

In the letter to Warner Bros Chairman and CEO Barry M. Meyer, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said in part:

“The title…is of great concern to us, since the word is commonly used in a derogatory manner against people of the Muslim faith or Arab origin…We have no desire to inhibit the creative process or your right to produce any film you wish. However, I ask you to take the above concerns into consideration and examine the social implications of releasing the film under its current title, ‘Towelhead.’”

Ayloush said that although Warner Bros. executives have made it clear they intended no offense, the use of such a derogatory term by a major film studio will serve to increase its acceptability in public discourse.

“It is unfortunate that a major film studio would choose to exploit an ethnic slur as a sensational promotion for a movie,” said Ayloush. “Mainstreaming a bigoted term in this manner will only serve to legitimize and normalize anti-Muslim prejudice in our society.”

1 comment:

Adnan Masood's Data Mining Readings said...

I wonder if the particular studio will allow N-word to be used in lieu of artistic freedom? Even after the author acknowledged the T-word to be 'shocking' and a derogatory term towards Arabs and Muslims, it's surprising that they stand behind it. It debuted at last year's Toronto Film Festival under the title Nothing is Private, which sounded pretty ok bit I guess they want to ensure that they offend as many people as possible. May be adding a subtitle stating its a sequel to "Birth of a Nation" would help increasing shock value?