Reformist Muslim

Exploring possibilities for the future of Islam and other thoughts

Location: London, United Kingdom

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Muslims At Hogwarts???

So it turns out that Padma and Parvati Patel in the new Harry Potter movie are played by two, second generation, Bengali-British girls (Read more here). Surprisingly, considering the fact that their part sees them accompanying Harry and Ron to the 'Yule Ball', there has been no fuss, no fatwas and definitely no burning effigies by anyone in the Muslim community.

This leaves the following possibilities;
a) Muslims don't read/watch Harry Potter (I think we can safely discount this one)

b) Muslim parents who have taken their kids to see the film heard the names Padma and Parvati and have assumed that the actresses playing them are Hindus. (Again implausible, but you never know)

c) This just isn't a big issue for most Muslims in this country. Muslim kids like Harry Potter just as much as the next child and most Muslim parents if told that their children were offered parts in a film of this magnitude, rather than considering this sinful would be proud of their children just as I'm sure that Shefali's and Afshan's are. (For those who are wondering it says somewhere that one of their father's is quite conservative but this didn't get in the way of participating in the film)

I'm going for option (c) and while not trying to paint an overly rosy picture, I think that it suggests that while there may be problems, Muslims are integrating and figuring out how to live in today's Britain just like all other immigrants have in the past and are doing so today. As for the fear-mongerers on both sides - there is no 'clash of civilisations', let's be proud of our individual heritage and cultures but more importantly unite in our common humanity.


Blogger DA said...

Mash'allah. I'm pretty traditional in some aspects, but I was appalled that some Muslims are seriously speaking out against the Harry Potter books. Fantasy is fantasy and there is no serious occult influence, the books are purely a product of imagination. I'm a 25 year old Muslim man, and while not the target audience, I even enjoy them.

I was reading the comic strip Medium Large, and it described the religious right in America as "being at war with an imaginary boy wizard". Yeah, it's just a comic but the description was mercilessly spot on. When the people of my din, a religion of reason, start acting like Fallwell and Roberston it scares the hell out of me.

Thanks for doing the link to my polemic, akhi, it's always appreciated :)

6:02 am, November 26, 2005  
Blogger reformist_muslim said...

"When the people of my din, a religion of reason, start acting like Fallwell and Roberston it scares the hell out of me."

This is true. It's something which should make all of us uncomfortable, for such people definitely do exist in our religion, and rather than giving them due deference on the basis of them being more religious, we should actively argue against them.

8:53 am, November 26, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely Muslims on screen is not a big shocking thing for most, at least for the South Asian strand of the species.

Dilip Kumar had to change his name, but then they came and took over the Bollywood screen - the Khans that just keep on rolling. I dont think South Asians are too hoo-haa about them being on screen.

Plus, hissing Harry Potter makes you look like a true looney. (Other than for bad-literature-boring-film reasons)

1:35 pm, November 26, 2005  
Anonymous Ahsan Shah said...

hey chico, where have u disappeared? found some links that might interest you.

8:26 pm, November 28, 2005  
Blogger liberal fundo said...

i think that option b) might actually be closer to reality... although i do like the rosy picture you paint, i had no idea the girls were muslim though i went to see the film the weekend it came out (yes i'm that kind of fan)

then again, even if the muslim community were aware, the absence of any physical intimacy (kissing, hugging, etc) and their modest/traditional garb may have narrowed any space for controversy or uproar...

not to rain on your parade or anything...just my 2 cents

9:12 pm, November 28, 2005  
Blogger reformist_muslim said...

Liberal Fundo you may well be right about option b, although even as more people find out about this, I don't see it erupting into a major issue.

Also, just the fact that the girls were allowed by their parents to be in the film is to me a positive sign.

Anonymous, agreed that railing against something like this would make you look like a true loony, although that hasn't stopped people before.

10:38 pm, November 28, 2005  

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