Islamic Rage Boy
A few days ago, the British tabloid, the Daily Mail, brought an interesting story (it came to me via 3 quarks daily) . It contrasted the media and pop culture portrayal of Shakeel Ahmad Bhat known globally as Islamic Rage Boy (featured as a most frightening example of radical Islam in countless newspapers, on Jihad Watch websites, boxer shorts and bumper stickers – look at the picture, you have seen him before, he scores more than a million results on google) with the real man as encountered by an author/journalist in Srinagar, Kashmir. The man – not very surprising to people critical of the current Islamophobia – turns out to be quite different from what he has come to stand for. Yet I found the story powerful, as anthropologists tend to deconstruct clichés with the description of specific social scenes and are not often able to demonstrate the processes of demonisation with regards to a particular individual.