ASU hosts dialogue on experiences of Middle Eastern immigrants and Muslims in America

ALBANY, Ga - Albany State University hosted a seminar and panel to discuss the experiences of Middle Eastern immigrants and Muslims in America.The Oct. 25 seminar featured 5 panelists who shared their views of western media’s representation of Middle Eastern immigrants and stereotypes faced post 9/11.

“There are many reasons for the stereotypes, but the media and Hollywood are the basic sources for these stereotypes,” said keynote speaker Mariya Chakir. Chakir grew up in Eljadida, a port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, until she was 27. She traveled to the United State via the Fulbright educational exchange program and began serving as a teacher’s assistant in Arabic at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2003. She is currently a lecturer in French and Arabic at Valdosta State University.

Chakir added that books, hate rhetoric, and the actions of some Muslims are also sources. Over the past 100 years, Chakir said, Arabs have been depicted negatively in film. “Most of the movies depict Arabs as barbaric, violent terrorists, and the women in the movies are belly dancers or are faceless and voiceless.”

Following the presentation, attendees had an opportunity to ask panel members questions related to misconceptions about the Islamic religion and Muslim traditions.


About ASU … Albany State University, in Southwest Georgia, has been a catalyst for change in the region from its inception as the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institute to its designation as a university. Founded in 1903 to educate African-American youth, the university continues to fulfill its historic mission while also serving the educational needs of an increasingly diverse student population. A progressive institution, Albany State University seeks to foster the growth and development of the region, state and nation through teaching, research, creative expression and public service. Through its collaborative efforts, the university responds to the needs of all of its constituents and offers educational programs and service to improve the quality of life in Southwest Georgia. For more information, please visit Follow the university on Twitter and Facebook @AlbanyStateUniv.