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Monday, June 2, 2008

Fashion scarf or Keffiyeh?

As I was browsing around the feature stories on Yahoo, I noticed a story featuring Rachel Ray. She's the bubbly Food Network star that everyone knows... so of course I'm thinking what kinda controversy could be brewing with her??

Dunkin Dounuts have pulled her ad due to protests because she is wearing a black and white paisley scarf with a resemblance to a keffiyeh.

For you who do not know, a keffiyeh is a traditional headdress of Arab men. It is commonly found in arid climates to protect against wind and sun. Ultra-conservative blogger Michelle Malkin describes the keffiyeh as the "traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad." Malkin and other conservatives have complained that the keffiyeh symbolizes Muslim extremism and terrorism.

Dunkin Donuts released this statement:
"Thank you for expressing your concern about the Dunkin' Donuts advertisement with Rachael Ray. In the ad that you reference, Rachael is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design that was purchased at a U.S. retail store. It was selected by the stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we will no longer use the commercial."

Rachel Ray obviously wore this scarf without any intention of supporting terrorism or even trying to be the least bit controversial. The blog world sure is powerful, especially the opinion of Michelle Malkin. I understand that some people may consider this scarf a symbol of terrorism due to the people who have worn it, but did anyone consider the fact that NOT everyone who wears a keffiyeh in the middle east is a terrorist!?!

Amahl Bishara, an anthropology lecturer at the University of Chicago who specializes in media matters relating to the Middle East says:

"I think that a right-wing blogger making an association between a kaffiyeh and terrorism is just an example of how so much of the complexity of Arab culture has been reduced to a very narrow vision of the Arab world on the part of some people in the U.S. Kaffiyehs are worn every day on the street by Palestinians and other people in the Middle East _ by people going to work, going to school, taking care of their families, and just trying to keep warm."

Rachel Ray among many others are merely making a fashion statement. Lightweight scarves with various designs are in style. She was NOT promoting terrorism in any way. I think that some bloggers and conservatives have gone a little far, but it does show how much the opinions of others can have an affect on a company.

What do you think about this issue, the scarf is a fashion statement or a parade of terrorism?


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