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Protest Univision’s Christina Show now!

By Michelle Leroux

December 2001

I saw the “Cristina Show” called ‘Beneath the Veil.’ It was gut wrenching to say the least. I am not the type to really get mad anymore at these types of shows because it happens all the day all the time its like you become desensitized to it. If I would get mad at all the things I hear and see I think I would have an ulcer by now. Anyway, my grandmother had called me up the day of the show and told me to tune in to Christina’s show at 10 pm. She said that it was going to be about Muslims and that there was even one woman with Niqaab. I was not in a good mood that day and asked her what the clips looked like because if it was trying to make Muslims look bad I did not want to see it. She said she did not know if it was good or bad. Therefore, I turn on the TV at 10 pm and the first lady interviewed was the one in Niqaab. She says she was dressed this way to hide from her husband out of fear of him finding her and killing her. Anyway, with in the first 5 minutes I wanted to go through the TV. For some reason I did not believe this lady and what she was saying. I do not doubt the oppression that goes on in many Muslim countries because to deny it would be crazy but I just could not buy it. She said she was born and raised in Spain. That her father was Colombian (non Muslim) and her mother Spanish. Her mother married her off at 13 with out her consent to some 36 year old man she did this do get rid of her ‘bastard’ daughter the women tells the show.

Anyway, first thing that struck me was this ladies accent. She did not speak as a Spaniard does. You know the way they speak Spanish is very distinct with the voice and nose and really clear. She sounded more as if she was from central or south America. I mean she was raised there with her Spanish mother and lived there for 13 years so I would think her accent would be that of a Spanish one. She says she lived with seven other women in the house and that for the first three months of her marriage to this man he only had anal sex with her. In addition, that she was in so much pain the first week that she needed medical attention and even in this condition she had to get up to wash her husbands feet! I am sorry but this sounds like she was trying to say she lived in a haraam. And that there was only one bedroom and that was the place where he would have sex with the wife of his choice when ever he wanted. And on and on and on. The other lady was one who was living in Saudi with her husband because he worked there and she said that she went out and was doing groceries with two men who were not related to her nor was she covered. Some police (?) got her and kept her for 4 hours in a room screaming at her and pushing her around and spitting in her face and hair. She also said one man wanted to hit her with a book. Then the Scholar of Islam (so he thinks) came on. By this time, I was fuming and getting ready to write Cristina and her editors a nice email.

The reason I say I do not believe the first woman is that there was a time when they were doing an investigation on Cristina and her show from the Dominican Republic. She was accused of paying people to come on her show and make some stories up about themselves. Just to make it look all sensationalistic and get ratings I am sure. Anyway a couple of people were interviewed, people who say Cristina and the show paid them to go to Miami and stay a weekend paid at a hotel just to go on the show and play the part they (the show wanted). They tried to get an interview with Cristina but she declined. They showed clips of these shows and you can tell they were so fake. One woman came on stage with rollers in her hair and flip-flops on!

Cristina did release a statement later that year saying that all of her guests and stories are true. I just lost faith in her after that. Before these educational shows about Islam, she would always make inflammatory remarks about Muslims whenever given the chance. On this last show she even said that her parents worked in Riyadh and she goes on to tell about stories of how women would ride in the back of trucks with goats while the men would take trips to Europe and go shopping.

I did eventually write to her and I will paste the email below. I did not get a response from them and do not think I will. I have never written a letter to a show or newspaper before but I felt good afterwards. I know there are people who say not to waste your time as they will still keep it up anyway. I used to think this way too but then I thought Is this not enjoining the good and forbidding the evil? IS this not educating people about Islam and telling them what Islam is not? IF we do not educate the people who will? People like those on Christina’s show.

um naseebah
www.zamzamgarden.com

Here is the website for the station that showed the episode.
Here is the website to the Cristina TV show that did the talk show.
    ————-Sample letter to the Christina Show———————
To whom it may concern,

I would like to take a few moments to comment on tonight’s show – Monday December 17- Prime Time -Behind the Veil.

I was a little disappointed with the show because I think it represented Islam and the beliefs and practices of the Muslim people which most of the things said on the show were not. Unfortunately time and time again as in many other of Christina’s shows Islam=culture which is quite unfair to say the least. Being that the majority of Hispanics and Latinos in this country at least are not well read and do not like to think ‘outside of the box’ shows like these I think do more harm than good. I would like to make a couple of points here:

1. Only 20% of Muslims are Arabs. Meaning 80% of the Muslim population is not Arab. One in every five people in the world are Muslim and that includes people of all races and nationalities. So to say as Cristina said at the opening of the show “lo que hay debajo del velo Arabe” is a disservice making it seem that the only people or the majority or Muslims are Arabs. By the way, the Taliban who are Afghans are not Arab. If anything, they are Persians. If it is to educate people that you want then please make sure you get the facts straight.

2. As of late everyone seems to be obsessed with the ‘veil’ and to choose this as the title of your show I think misleads people. The show had nothing to do with the ‘veil’ but moreso with culture clashes that people are having. Many Muslim women around the world wear their veil as a symbol of there commitment to their religion and God. To try to make it seem that all the problems that Muslim women have (which in reality is not the case only the women on the show have but it does seem like the editors want to make it come off as these women represent all Muslim women which none of them on the show even were) is an insult.

3. At one point Cristina says “Esto no tiene nada que ver con ser Musulman sino con ser machista..” well that is true. So why not make the show about Men who are male chauvinists and not try and make it about how Islam is a oppressive religion. Which it is not as Millions of people, including Latinos are coming back to every day.

4. Cristina also said that she would also do a show about FGM (female genital mutilation) I hope that the show gives a clear and balanced picture and not a biased one about how this practice is a CULTURAL one done mostly in Africa including Christians and other tribal people not just Muslims. Cristina also touched upon the fact that Chinese women can only have one child and that if it is a female that is born to them they terminate the child. However, some parts of Mexico people still bury their daughters but I’m sure we will not see that on El show de Christina) and that this is still happening because people around the world don’t talk about it. I’m sorry but I beg to differ these things are out there for those who want to learn and know more about other cultures and what is happening around the world. America is probably one of the only ‘civilized’ and progressive nations out there that are virtually ignorant of the world around them. Add to that number many Hispanics and Latinos that do not want to bother themselves with the rest of the world and you have shows like Cristina trying to educate. Therefore, it is crucial that you give a balanced and informed story of what the lives of Muslim women are really like.

5. I would like to give a couple of facts about what the Islamic religion says about some of the things that the first woman on the show discussing. I don’t know if this woman is Muslim of not but I wish she would have distinguished between what this man did to her and what Islam says about these things. I do not think many people will see the difference. Many things she said are in complete contradiction with Islam that is why I find many of her comments dubious. Although they did try to say that this is not what Islam is really like it did not seem that there was a big effort to emphasize it.

~In Islam it is forbidden to have anal sex. An authentic Haddith states that He will not even look at a person on the Day of Judgment who commits this act.

~FGM is not an Islamic practice and wrongly attributed to Islam all the time.

~In Islam, a man is allowed to have four wives. He must divide his time and wealth equally between the wives. He must also provide separate living quarters for them. Changes in these things come with mutual agreement between all parties involved. I think this is pretty fair unlike the situation we see is in many Hispanic and Latino families were the man has countless girlfriends and is not responsible of any of them many times having children out of wedlock which brings many problems for the society as a whole. I think Cristina should include these women in her future show of women’s rights and pleas with them not to tolerate this behavior from their husbands as many times the wives know of their husbands other families and affairs and say nothing about it but rather turn a blind eye.

~In Islam, you cannot be married against your will. A marriage like that is null and void.

~ In Islam, people are not to be beaten either. Be that man or woman. Every 12 seconds a woman is beaten in the United States of America I believe this should also be included in this future show of women’s rights.

6.In the future, I do hope the editors choose titles and descriptions for the shows that are befitting the content. I also went and read the description of tonight’s show and found it to unclear among other things.

For example:
Monday December 17- Prime Time -Behind the Veil Horror stories, terror, violence and abuse is what we will hear about tonight from Latin women that turned into victims because of their Arab culture (How can it be their culture if they are not Arab?). The sold themselves (I don’t understand “The sold themselves” is it supposed to say they sold themselves? If so who is they? The women on the show? Why would any woman sell herself?), they stole their children, they humiliated them in public y (should that read and?) as if that was not enough all because they are women. On tonight’s Cristina Show, we connect directly with England and Pakistan in search for the truth and the information these women are looking for that have yet to recuperate (Honestly I did not see that these women were searching for answers but just wanting to let others know how terrible Muslims are).

I think a good idea would be to have a word with the publicist for the show or the person who puts up these descriptions for the show as the paragraph above is hard to understand to say the least.

7. I am going to leave you with a couple of links where you can reach Muslims of Hispanic and Latino origin who are presently living Islam and implementing it everyday in their lives. I am sure if you would contact them they would be happy to help you in anyway they can.

Thank you for your time.
Michelle Leroux