‘United 93’ Incites Rage, Vengeance
BY FIZA NAJEEB
“United 93” is the type of movie that evokes emotion in audiences. Along with feelings of shock, sadness and hurt comes a strong sentiment of anger and hate. When something as major as an attack on your country happens, generally, two things are bound to happen.
First, people develop a strong sense of patriotism and unity toward the rest of their fellow citizens. Next, people develop a thirst for revenge toward the perpetrators. In this case, the way this film portrays the antagonists would be those who fit the Muslim profile.
It seems Paul Greengrass’ intent was to create a sense of unity among his audience when directing his film “United 93,” and united we were.
Like everyone else, I relived the moments of that life-altering moment. And even though, I, like the rest of the audience, was American, I left the theatre with a strong sense of discomfort and isolation from everyone.
I am an American-born Muslim and I find it hard to be comfortable and patriotic in this country when overhearing comments such as “I can’t believe those Muslim people” or “this movie makes me really mad at those Muslims.”
It’s unfortunate that I overheard two people represent the beliefs of many people in the United States. The amount of ignorance and intolerance against Muslims can be largely attributed to media such as “United 93.”
When the opening scene portrays a terrorist praying to God for strength and guidance to carry out a suicide mission while screaming “God is great” in Arabic (Allahu Akbar) and terrorizing passengers, it is easy to see how people would associate the religion of Islam to a religion that preaches terrorism.
When people are emotional, they have the tendency to be extremely irrational. You would think the absurdity of the idea of a major religion preaching violence and terrorism in the name of God is common sense, but many people seem to forget that terrorism is a religion of its own.
While terrorists responsible for the devastating occurrence of Sept. 11 identify themselves as devout Muslims on a religious crusade, the Quran specifically states, “Whoever kills a soul, it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one, it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” But many Islamic nations, excluding Iraq, has sympathized with the United States’ situation.
According to an article by James Beverly printed in Christianity Today, “Iran has vehemently condemned the suicidal terrorist attacks in the United States,” and printed a story in Iran Today expressed their sorrow and sympathy for America.
The issue of ignorance is already a big issue in the United States with the news attaching the word “Islamic” with the word “extremist” and/or “terrorists,” and ignorantly throwing around words like “Jihad” and “Shari’a” without knowing their true meaning.
The power of the media has been severely underestimated. When the Twin Towers fell, the media replayed images of the incident, the mind-numbing devastation that resulted and the importance of showing unity and displaying patriotism.
The media puts strong emphasis on the Patriot Act as a weapon against the war on terrorism, which is translated into patriotism as a weapon in the war on Islam.
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, hate crimes against Muslims went up from 4 percent (pre-9/11) to 9 percent in 2003.
On April 24, 2004, a woman in Pennsylvania was a victim of verbal harassment when a woman yelled at her in a parking lot saying that the American troops were in Iraq and Afghanistan so that women wouldn’t have to dress like her.
She then proceeded to repeatedly hit her with her shopping cart. The Muslim woman requested employees to call security, but they refused.
It’s absolutely ridiculous that a small faction of people have come to represent the followers of an entire faith.
Despite the continuous reinforcement of certain misconceptions, there is no justification for committing hate crimes.
Violence inflicted on innocent people in the name of patriotism is the very definition of terrorism.
Because of the amount of time Greengrass put into focusing on religion, the message of unity and patriotism is lost in feelings of anger and resentment.
What could have been a valuable movie is just another source of media fueling ignorance into an already ignorant nation.
Fiza Najeeb can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (909) 869-3531.
Right about now, I am offically speechless.
If I can pick up my shattered jaw and scattered thoughts, I'll comment later.