Removing Persepolis from Our School Curriculum

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                                Haneen Bany-Mohammed, Yara Mansour

     Islamophobia is currently at its highest peak. Fear. Hatred. Muslims worldwide are suffering. Mosques being burned down, acid being thrown at us, how can this be happening? Islamophobia is on the rise because of constant false misconceptions being spread about Islam. President Donald Trump said, “I think Islam hates us,” banning some Muslims from entering the U.S. Post 9/11, Muslims are being given titles like “terrorist” and “oppressed” and the main reason for this is because “Prejudicial stereotypes that broadly paint Muslims in a negative light are quite persuasive” (Newsweek). With all this hate towards Muslims, shouldn’t schools ensure that we are safe? I guess not. A book that portrays Islam in a negative light is being taught to thousands of high school students, enforced by education. The Islamophobic Industry has entered our schools.

      Persepolis is a graphic autobiography by Marjane Satrapi that depicts her life growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Unfortunately, Satrapi was subjected to violence and oppression. She as well as her peers were forced to become Muslim and start wearing the veil at the age of ten. They would be put in jail, and sometimes even be subject to violence. All these horrific acts the government inflicted has caused her to be very angry, and write her memoir based on it. I feel with Marjane, and all those were oppressed, but this book is oppressing us. Satrapi constantly paints Islam as the oppressor, when in reality all those cruel things were from Iran itself. The Iranian government used Islam as a means of gaining power; using violence to control their people. Why are thousands of high school students learning about Islam from an extremist government?

      This book not only represents Islam in a negative light but spreads false information about it. On page 74, the text states, “And so to protect women from all the potential rapists, they decreed that wearing the veil was obligatory.” This promotes the idea that what Muslim women believe that all men are rapists and that we cover simply to protect ourselves from getting raped. The veil or Hijab is worn by Muslim women to stay chaste as a part of devoting themselves to God. Hijab is not limited to a headscarf and should be present in the way we speak and act. On page 73, schools are shut down because “everything needs to be revised to ensure that our children are not led astray from the true path of Islam.” This suggests to readers that Islam is very censored and that pursuing education is looked down upon when in reality it is the complete opposite. Islam teaches that “knowledge is light,” and the first university in the whole entire world was established by a Muslim woman! High school students are getting false ideas about what Islam is about, so there is no wonder why they are going to dislike Muslims and potentially cause harm to one.

      Marjane Satrapi wasn’t kidding when she called it a graphic memoir-some of these things are very graphic. Women are being called “sluts” for not wearing the scarf properly, and girls who don’t wear it are being told that they “should be pushed up against a wall and f***ed” (Satrapi 74). Should high schoolers really be hearing this type of language, especially when it is associated with religion? Not only that, Satrapi moved one step too far. On page 51, a man is shown peeing on someone. PEEING. Don’t believe me, look for yourself. Graphic body parts are being displayed in a HIGH SCHOOL BOOK, and I am sure parents would not be happy about it. Persepolis is a danger to students, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Is keeping this book really benefiting education? Or is it making it worse by promoting biased information?

     Please join us in removing Persepolis from the school curriculum. All these derogatory messages towards Muslims sent to teenagers has a major effect, and can really harm the future leaders of tomorrow. Muslims should not have to go through these horrific books at a time where Islamophobia is at its greatest. Join us in letting our voice be heard! Will you #CombatIslamophobia?