Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
September 9, 2010

Equating Muslims with the Threat of Violence? You're Kidding, Right?

In the current atmosphere — given the attacks on Obama’s religious status and the NYC Islamic center, coupled with the obsessive preoccupation with the small-time Florida preacher intent on holding a 9/11 Quran burning — I can’t see where a photo like this is very constructive.

It showed up in Wednesday’s WAPO “Day in Photos” slideshow.  The context had to do with the precarious status of the Sept. 18th Afghan election, the caption (below) also highlighting threats by the Taliban against the vote.  Given the power of pictures and the way they tend to run together in an overarching news narrative, the skull caps, the primitive setting, the smile, and, of course, the gun pointed right in our Western faces, can only add fuel right now — published three days before the 9/11 anniversary — to the raging paranoia equating Muslims, and Islam, with the threat of violence.

(Photo: Raheb Homavandi/Reuters. Caption: A boy plays with a toy pistol in Mohajerin, Afghanistan. Observers warn that Taliban threats, shuttered polling centers and warnings of widespread fraud are clouding hopes for Afghanistan’s Sept. 18 parliamentary election, a key test of an already-fragile democracy.)

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