August 2, 2009

This is why I don't do Interviews

When I first took my shahada everyone seemed to be interested in me. The Muslims wanted to put me on billboards and pamphlets to be handed out to Hispanics and the non-Muslims were equally curious. I refused all of them. Not because it wasn't flattering (it totally was) or I didn't have faith in my new religion (totally did) but rather I was scared of how they will edit things. I didn't know what their intentions were and I am a person that easily internalizes things so if they decide to butcher my character and reputation, I wouldn't get over it. AllahuAlem. Ya Allah swt please save me from those trials ameen.

a little background
While I was still debating going to West Point I joined the Air Force ROTC in order to keep in shape in case I did decide to go. The program was in another college that had an agreement with mine. Two months before I was supposed to leave for field training I fractured my foot . Actually my fracture started as a hairline fracture and then got worst as I overly exercised and worked long hours on my feet. It had started to heal improperly and therefore needed to be broken again in order to be set right. Lets just say that they gave me Percocet which is a narcotic and I was out for 18+ hrs of the day, I was also a very happy camper, emphasis on VERY HAPPY. I wouldn't make it to class because I was knocked out and I was scared of becoming addicted so I quit cold turkey. Hurt like a mother.... and class sucked too.

Any way, I happen to take my shahada at the second school and it was a known fact that I was from the ROTC program so the brothers wanted to know more about me and the sisters were very interested. "Hey look everyone, a soldier took her shahada AND she is Spanish! Allahu Akbar" first of all I wasn't a soldier. Shoot, I don't think I ranked high enough to polish the shoes of the lowliest ranking soldier. I felt bad but I didn't want to be part of their dawah project I don't like feeling like a pawn on either side of the issue. I will give dawah my own way on my terms bub.

Because again you really don't know what they will do with the footage/interviews/pamphlets and I am pretty much a novice. CNN was also interested in interviewing me because they were doing a piece on Hispanic Muslims and how Hispanics are converting in large numbers (my masjid sold me out without letting me know first, NOT cool). I declined.

If you are the type of person who doesn't mind or has a thick enough skin to deal with the trials that come with a public life go ahead. I am not bashing people who do it. MashaAllah we benefit from such extroverts. I did mention before that I deal with some crazy social anxieties and being video taped for posterity scares the crap out of me. ESPECIALLY since I have no editing control. Alhamdulillah after almost 3 years of being Muslim, my novelty has worn off and I am thankful that I can blend in to the background with my niqab. Because that's the way aha aha I like it aha aha.

Moral of the story: KNOW what you are getting yourself into. My 2cents.

Cases that scared the crap out of me
Imam Siraj Wahaj
(alhamdulillah by the Grace of Allah swt he was cured from cancer)
He granted an interview to one media station for an hour and at the very end the reporter asked him, "can we record you as you go to your car?" Imam Siraj Wahaj didn't think anything of it and granted permission. When the interview was broad casted guess what was shown? The reporter saying that the imam had rejected his request for an interview and instead fled from him. Guess what footage they showed? Yup. The one where he is walking towards his car.

Michael Jackson
Granted an interview to British journalist Martin Bashir it became know as living with Michael Jackson and resulted in MJ being accused of child molestation. I was not a fan of MJ and I am not trying to defend him. HOWEVER, Mr. Bashir forgot that MJ was recording the interview as well and in the following videos he is clearly sucking up to MJ but when the interview is broad casted he is talking disparagingly of MJ. I am just saying that the product I saw on TV does not match this product.

The Michael Jackson Interview (1of 9) - Footages You weren't Meant To See

Ayman Abu Aita The non-profit worker from Bethlehem who was branded a terrorist by Bruno. He was running for gov't office and is getting angry calls from Palestinians ashamed that he would allow himself to be manipulated in that way. Poor dude, I will be very surprised if he wins the elections. The Israelis seem to be interested in him now as well.


Skye said...

wow so true sis it just goes to show how the media can get it twisted and edit it to there liking

Yasemin said...

I had forgotten all about the Siraj Wahaj case, thanks for the reminder. That was just so sick what they did to this wonderful man, and I can see why you'd be afraid.

And the Martin Bashir interview, well I have to say I'm no fan of his! You can forget me watching Nightline after that!

You have to really know whose doing the interviewing. In my case, my ex-husband and I were interviewed for a Turkish Islamic news program about my conversion and our life in TX. We knew the sources though! I'm glad you've declined just to be on the safe side.

In today's world, I'd be afraid they would take a shot of me with hijab, and then create a naked body to go with my face, you just never know! Love you for the sake of Allah sweetie!

PS-LOVE your blog and the gorgeous background!

.::Tuttie::. said...

JazakaAllah khayr Yasemin. You are so right about the photoshoping the body thing. At least with the last one you absolutely had no control and it was some jerk being a jerk. With the interviews though you have given prior permission so when they butcher you its very personal.