Harry Potter Actress Attacked For Talking on Phone With Boyfriend

Image from:  Fox News Article
(link below)
The blog Sepia Mutiny gets credit for posting this story a week ago.  I've been debating posting about it since then for a variety of reasons (it's incendiary, it was posted on Fox, but it's about Harry Potter...) but after checking out the vitriol in the comments on Fox I've decided I've got to write.

The actress Afshan Azad, who plays Padma Patil (seated at right), was overheard on the phone talking to her Hindu boyfriend by her brother. Her brother beat her over the course of several hours, upset that she was not dating a Muslim.  The case was brought to trial and her brother was sentenced to six months in prison.  Judge Thomas at the sentencing stated that the "persistent attack was accompanied by serious and very hurtful abuse and threats.  It must have been a miserable and frightening experience for your sister."  

I don't think it's news to anyone that strong strains of prejudice against other religions run in many families, including Muslim families in Manchester.  Islam is not the only religion at fault in abusively controlling women to protect a sense of family, honor, purity, and patriarchal power.  The beating was wrong on many, many levels.  I'm glad it was prosecuted and I certainly believe that the brother deserves more than six months in prison.  And I hope that Afshan Azad is somewhere safe and supported by people who love and care about her well-being.  

That being said, I was shocked a) that Fox News was interested in the story (what do they care about the dysfunctional dynamics of Muslim families?) and b) that people were responding.  769 of them, to be exact, before they closed the commenting.  I was able to stomach only a hundred comments.  23 people liked the comment "Islam should be outlawed as a Terrorist Organization," and  20 people liked the comment "Just another example of the 'religion of peace.'  Mooslims are mere animals."  It goes swiftly downhill from there- I'm not even going to repeat any of the rest of the comments.

This is the ugly underbelly of the "culture wars."  Prejudice, intolerance, and ignorance.  That Fox News allows and keeps up obscene posts is not surprising (unfortunately) but it's doing nothing to further civil discourse.  And all these Americans responding with such vitriol- they should be ashamed of themselves.  (Anyone who can't spell "Muslim" should be banned from commenting).  It's almost enough to make me consider teaching public school because clearly the American public is woefully uneducated.  I do agree that fundamentalist strains of Islam are out of control.  And I find it strangely ironic that men who probably have problems with feminism in their own home or workplace are "coming to the defense" of a Muslim woman.  But to castigate an entire religion, across the world, because of the actions of one person... how we manage to remain a superpower with that level of ignorance is shocking to me.

Fox News Article