In the wake of the horrifying images of halal animal cruelty in Indonesia, the race is one to peddle out yet more feel-good stories about Muslims.
Al Age doesn’t disappoint:
Melbourne mates Mo and Mos might not win the Amazing Race but they are winning fans…Chubby, slow and still in the show only by the skin of their collective teeth, Mohammed El-leissy (Mo) and Mostafa Haroun (Mos) are the Muslim mates from Melbourne who have entrenched themselves as firm fan favourites on The Amazing Race Australia.
Three episodes in and they have already come so close to elimination so many times that no one gives them much chance of winning the series, but there's no denying they've won viewers over. And that, says Mo, is victory enough.
''Up until now the media's engagement with Muslims has been a little tokenistic,'' says the 26-year-old social worker from Brunswick. ''They try to do good stories, but it's all, 'Oh look, it's the hijab in football colours.' They've been trying to push a really positive message, which is great, but for us on the receiving end, it's a bit like, 'Oh look, they're human.' ''
The Amazing Race is different, he says, despite the fact early publicity played up the challenges of the boys, both practising Muslims, having to stop to pray five times a day. ''With us, they've put our humanity before our faith. We’ve reached a new audience on Channel Seven that never get to see a positive story about Muslims.''
Not that they're keen to see themselves as role models. ''If I was ever to be a role model, it would be for 'eat more food','' jokes Mos, who works part-time in the gift shop at Melbourne Zoo.
''We'd be role models for obesity,'' chips in Mo. '' 'Eat more doughnuts - but make sure they're halal'.''
The boys have developed a fine line in self-deprecating humour and have vague ambitions to spin that into a media career.
In fact, Mos has a master's in sports business, but has never had the opportunity to put it into practice in the workplace. How come?
''No one seems to like my name when I apply,'' he says, suggesting that while the reality TV world has embraced him and his faith, the real world remains a little more of a challenge. ''I can't get my foot in the door, get that interview, even though I am qualified. And when I do get interviews, people are surprised I speak with an Australian accent.''
''It's very Anglo,'' says Mo of the world of sport. ''Matey.''
''I can be matey,'' says Mos. ''I can go to the pub and drink water.''
Right now, there's a fair chunk of Australia that'd be willing to shout him a glass, too. (source)
This clever exercise in damage control gives two messages:
Muslims are just like other Aussies, having a self-deprecating sense of humour, enjoying their food and a bit overweight. Australians, on the other hand, are racist, seeing Muslims as not really human and discriminating against them by denying them jobs because of their religion.
How different is the reality. In Australia, there is NO systemic racism and all are treated equally under the law. Contrast EVERY Islamic country, where non-Muslims are discriminated against by law, treated as second class citizens, often harassed and their buildings destroyed. As for employment, don’t get me started on Islam’s differential pay for non-Muslims and slave labour.
Just a note: We view animal cruelty through the prism of our Judeo-Christian culture, which says that we must treat animals with kindness and not cause unnecessary suffering For a Muslim, so long as the animal is facing Mecca when its throat is slit, the slaughter is halal. But of course, this doesn’t just apply to animals: non-Muslims can also be treated with barbarity – raped, tortured or slaughtered. You may remember the outrage when London’s Sheik Abu Hamza was caught on film urging his followers to kill non-Muslims:
“If a kafir person (non-believer) goes in a Muslim country, he is like a cow. Anybody can take him. That is the Islamic law. ...If a kafir is walking by and you catch him, he’s booty. You can sell him in the market. Most of them are spies. And even if they don’t do anything, if Muslims cannot take them and sell them in the market, you just kill them. It’s OK....I say the reality that’s in the Muslim books anyway. Whether I say it or not, it’s in the books.” (source)
Hamza knows his Islam, but this is unpalatable to the Western world, which cannot accept the reality. This plays straight into the hands of Islam, which finds a willing audience for its deceitful message.
You have to hand it to Muslims: their mastery of propaganda would make Goebbels envious. As the article states “there's no denying they've won viewers over. And that, says Mo, is victory enough.”