August 25, 2008

Muslim Group Asks Studio to Change ‘Towelhead’ Film Title

The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on Warner Bros. and Warner Independent Pictures to consider changing the title of the soon-to-be-released film "Towelhead" because that derogatory term is offensive to American Muslims and Arab-Americans. CAIR says Muslims and Arab-Americans view the term "towelhead" as a racial and religious slur.

In a letter sent last week to studio executives, the Islamic civil rights and advocacy group asked that the film be called "Nothing is Private" -- a title previously used in some markets.

View the "Towelhead" trailer:

In the letter to Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Barry M. Meyer, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said in part:

"The title... is of great concern to us, since the word is commonly used in a derogatory manner against people of the Muslim faith or Arab origin... We have no desire to inhibit the creative process or your right to produce any film you wish. However, I ask you to take the above concerns into consideration and examine the social implications of releasing the film under its current title, 'Towelhead.'"

Ayloush said that although Warner Bros. executives have made it clear they intended no offense, the use of such a derogatory term by a major film studio will serve to increase its acceptability in public discourse.

"It is unfortunate that a major film studio would choose to exploit an ethnic slur as a sensational promotion for a movie," said Ayloush. "Mainstreaming a bigoted term in this manner will only serve to legitimize and normalize anti-Muslim prejudice in our society."

CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. CAIR's mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

 CONTACT: CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush 714-776-1847 Email Contact  CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator Munira Syeda 714-776-1847 714-851-4851 E-Mail: Email Contact  CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726 E-Mail: Email Contact  CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin 202-488-8787 E-Mail: Email Contact

SOURCE: Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)