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American Movies Do Not Impact Muslim Cultures Negatively

American Movies Do Not Impact Muslim Cultures Negatively

Islam is one of the largest religions around the world. Although the religion is widest following is in Asia, it also has fair representation in other regions such as the United States and Africa. In 20th century, movie industry rose and became one of the most influential tools of entertainment and platforms for conveying social cultural values of the people. Movies about the Chinese people, Native red Indians, African Americans, Arabs, and many more have been casted (Mackenzie, 2004). But one of the main concerns over the past decade has been the negative light shone over the Islamic religion. One of the begging questions has been; do American movies have negative impact on Muslim culture? This argumentative paper addresses this concern. It will explore the benefits and the damages caused by the movies to Muslim cultures in the US.

America is the most powerful nation on the planet, and its culture is one of the most popular. Consequently, it has led many communities around the world to drop their cultures and follow that of the US. While this may be viewed as a positive attribute, many critics have demonized the effects the American cultures have had on Islam. Many Muslims have changed their lifestyles to align themselves with the American cultures and in so doing have altered their cultural lifestyles (Mackenzie, 2004). Muslim is based on strict religious concepts that have resulted in conservative lifestyles around the world. Movies filming and watching was not a common phenomenon among the Muslims but interaction with the Americans have led many to love and follow movies. However, several recent movies, especially those that were produced after the September 11 bombing have casted Muslims in a negative way. This has lead many American citizens to largely associate Muslims to terrorism as opposed to the true nature of their beliefs.

American culture upholds freedom of expression and information sharing. Thus, distribution of all sorts of movies is not restricted by the authorities. American Muslims, especially those that do not interact widely with other Americans are able to watch the movies from their homes and observe the deeds and practices depicted in the movies. Many recent movies are enriched with modern American lifestyles that highlight socialization, trade, dating, family life and other facets of a normal American community (Cronk, 2011). Muslims learn and adopt most of the concepts highlighted in the movies in their own lives, thus enhancing their traditional lifestyles. The positive aspects drawn from the movies can help boost their socialization amongst non-Muslim believers.

Socializing with other people is an important part of everyone’s life. Due to the wide differences that exist between Islam and Christianity, a religion professed by most Americans, socialization is often limited, but with movies that teaches highlights the lifestyles of other American people, Muslim believers are able to interact with other Americans easily (Cronk, 2011). Socialization on the other hand opens opportunities that otherwise would not have been available. These opportunities may come in the forms of; participation in sports, school, politics, among other social activities.

Although movies are emerging as an important tool for harmonizing social differences, it is important to note that not everyone watches movies. The elderly mostly refrain from watching films because they deem them to be elusive and unnecessary time waste (Woodward, 2007). However youths living in the same communities and who are attracted to the modern way of entertainment, can view and eventually apply concepts learnt from the movies. Ideas that are considered to be morally acceptable by the Muslim communities are assimilated by both the old and the young (Lechner & Boli, 2004). Regardless of whether the lessons from the movies are adopted or detested, the movie achieves one of the main functions of communication; educating people.

For a long time, Muslim men have been discriminating against women. This has led to slow socioeconomic development in many Asian countries, but through viewing of American movies, most of them have learnt to treat women as equal and important partners. As a result many ladies are now learned and are taking more professional jobs. In return women have helped grow their domestic and national economies. Many women are currently competing for high political offices in countries that were previously controlled by fundamentalists. Although the process has been slow, the effect of movies and media can not be down played.

Movies can be based on various subjects that target different social groups. Apart from entertaining the audience, the movie directors also have lessons to pass to the people. There are movies based on historic happening in the US, these movies are important to people that would like to learn more about certain instances in the history of their nation. There are movies that are based on specific communities, their history and cultures. These movies can enhance the knowledge of the Muslim viewers on a number of important concepts about different communities that makeup the United States. School based movies are important to the young Muslims because they do not only focus on important curriculum lessons but they also highlight the socialization part of the class. The young Muslims can learn important concepts about the communities they may encounter later in their lives.

Case study movies can enlighten Muslims on real life experiences. Islam discourages its followers from using substances that are harmful to their health, as a result drug abuse problems are a rare phenomenon in their societies. On the other hand the freedom in the US has also led many youths to drug usage, and the problem of drug and substance abuse is real in many American societies (Clemetson & Keith, 2008). Watching documentaries and case study movies based on such instances educates the Muslims on some of the dreadful hobbies that should be avoided whenever they are interacting with other members of their societies. The lessons learnt from such movies can be used in guiding others that have never watched such movies from getting involved in practices that are already a social menace.

Some historic and catastrophic events that have happened in the past can better be understood when viewed in a Movie. Videos based on real happening such as the September, 11 bombing of the World Trade Center, the Haiti Disaster, the Gulf War, World War I and World War II, can help the Muslim viewers internalize the historic moments. They can better understand why economies and politics of different regions are aligned in the direction they currently take. Understanding the movies helps individuals in making informed decisions and also widening their knowledge. It is possible to make more informed decision after following through event based movies, and avoid following decisions biased directive offered by political leaders.

Movies help in widening ones knowledge of people, events, places, animals, etc. Historic events based movies provides historic names and places to the viewers. By interacting with the movie, the viewer understands the individuals involved and the places that the real events happened. Historic events based movies also shows the contrast between the current level of technology and the technology that existed during the time (Falk, 2003). People can appreciate the electronic devices and other utility items that did not exist during the historic periods. Through such movies, the Muslims become aware of some of the admirable socioeconomic facets that have been lost over time and they appreciate the advances that have been brought by technology today.

Through watching movies Muslims learn to appreciate and help the less fortunate persons in the society. Although unfortunate persons are found in every society, it is very easy to ignore them as one pursues their individual goals, but movies highlights the plights of the needy and disabled in a manner that brings to the fore their real suffering. After watching such movies, Muslims can henceforth plans and help better the lives of the less fortunate people in their societies (Qasim, 2010). The movies also highlight practices that are retrogressive and which maybe derailing efforts made by governments and other social groups to eradicate social problems. Through watching movies individuals can adjust their lifestyles and lead healthy lives, and also help improve those of others.

Recently many movies that depict Islam as an evil religion have been produced. This has been propelled partly by a repulsive move to fight back the terrorist groups that have claimed responsibility for such evil deeds. Many people, especially Americans, have changed their perception towards the Muslims, and they view them as potential terrorists. In the same light, Muslims have been variously harassed by public and the authorities. After watching such horrendous movies it is apt for Muslims to engage reversal efforts and try to paint a different image of the real Islam (Heinberg & Thompson, 2006). The move would help reduce the unnecessary tension that has since existed between societies and Muslims. It would also help authorities in identifying the real terrorists that easily masquerade as common Muslims.

In conclusion, movies can be used for building the social fabrics that joins all social groups. Although there are many evils associated with movie watching, the wrong aspects cannot overrule the important part that they play. Muslims have largely benefited from American movies. Although there are many American movies that demonize Muslims, there are many movies that are beneficial to them. It is apparent that most movie viewers are the youths who are vulnerable can easily be mislead by wrong messages included in the movies. Parents should guide their children through counseling them regularly on the concepts highlighted in by the movies. It is important that the youths are taught on what the right ideas to pick from general movies. This way the parents can ensure that their children enjoy movies and remain staunch in their faith.

References

Clemetson, L & Keith, N. (2008). Patriotism vs. Ethnic Pride: An American Dilemma. Newsweek, 69.

Cronk, B. (2011). Effects of Film on Body Image. Missouri Western State University, 12.

Falk, R. (2003). A Worldwide Religious Resurgence in an Era of Globalisation, in, F. Petito & P. Hatzopoulos (Edtd.), Religion in International Relations: the Return from Exile. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Heinberg, L.J., & Thompson, J.K. (2006). Video Pictures and Their effects to Psychological Development. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 14, 325-338.

Lechner, F.J. & Boli, J. (2004). The Globalisation Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.

Mackenzie, J.M. (2004). Imperialism and Popular Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Qasim, B. (2010). I Am a Muslimerican. Huffington Post, 23.

Woodward, K. L. (September 24, 2007). A Peaceful Faith, a Fanatic Few. Newsweek, 67-68.