During Ramadan, Zubair attempts to connect with his culture through food content on social media ... he ultimately ends up getting schooled by his grandmother on how to prepare a traditional dish.
Muslim Twitter Reacts to NY Times Article on "Jihad Rehab"
A recent New York Times article is rehashing a yearslong debate over a controversial documentary and whether it deserves a wider release than it has received so far.
Meg Smaker’s “Jihad Rehab” premeired at the prestegious Sundance Film Festival in Februrary 2022. Supporters of the film say it offers an important look at how former detainees released from Guantanamo Bay re-enter the world.
From the start, however, a number of critics, including prominent Arab and Muslim filmmakers, criticizied the film for its “Islamophobia and American propoganda” and claimed it exploited and endangered the main subjects of the documentary.
The New York Times’ Sept. 2022 article, entitled “Sundance Liked Her Documentary on Terrorism, Until Muslim Critics Didn’t,” sparked an influx of letters to the editor. According to one letter-writer, “The fight, then, against ‘Jihad Rehab’ is not another example of America’s culture wars. It is an attempt to fight against xenophobic and racist media representations, the injustice of unlawful detention, and the continued victimization and dehumanization of those trapped within it.”
Many online, especially on Twitter, were also critical of the Times’ coverage of the debate. Below is a sampling of what people are saying both about their reporting and the documentary itself.
smh at the mendacity of this NYT article accusing indy Muslim filmmakers of “censoring” a white woman while omitting the chief criticism of her deeply exploitative documentary: the main film subjects have publicly come out saying #JihadRehab “POSES A SERIOUS THREAT TO MY LIFE" 🧵 pic.twitter.com/ThUj8gXoEn— assia boundaoui (@assuss) September 26, 2022
🧵Instead of focusing on the #Muslim men who were harmed by the #JihadRehab documentary, the @nytimes took it upon themselves to solicit sympathy for the filmmaker by reducing the problem to one of identity politics. Whitewashing the violence of the doc is itself, #Islamophobia. pic.twitter.com/7LKuRRi8M3— Dr. Maha Hilal (@Dr_Maha_Hilal) September 26, 2022
Important, substantive critiques about the ethics of the documentary Jihad Rehab, which contradicts the NYT narrative that it was about the filmmaker’s identity and race. https://t.co/jlmPQNi3mM— Laila Al-Arian (@LailaAlarian) September 27, 2022
This response to the Jihad Rehab controversy is the most telling about the film industry's approach. Rather than seek – or simply programme from the wealth of – brilliant films by Muslim filmmakers on the topic, they look at this film and say "meh, good enough". pic.twitter.com/CDYwt978VF— Saeed Taji Farouky (@saeedtaji) September 29, 2022
An article from this summer’s Guardian provides more insight.