MSU conference to focus on ‘Islam and media’
EAST LANSING, Mich., Dec. 15 (UPI) — Lectures, a panel discussion and a Muslim comedian are all on tap for an “Islam and the media” conference slated for February at Michigan State University.
Rami Khouri will be the keynote speaker. He is the director of the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and the editor-at-large of Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper.
The conference is the final project of a grant that also funded the new class “Reporting on Islam,” and the new Web site IMAJE, or Islam, Muslims and Journalism Education.
“The idea is that we would be a go-to place for students of journalism and students of Islam,” said Salah Hassan, an English professor who is helping to build the Web site.
The conference will focus on Western media coverage of Islam and Muslims.Information gathered from the class and the Web site is expected to be presented and critiqued.
“Muslims are like anybody; they are diverse. Scholars have critiqued U.S. media and found that we continue to see the dominant paradigm is that Islam has been framed in a negative light,” said Geri Alumit Zeldes, the journalism professor who taught “Reporting on Islam” and is working on the Web site.
The new Web site will have a section to teach students and journalists “best practices for reporting on Islam.”
“The challenge of IMAJE is to take the knowledge of experts and scholars and translate it to common terms a journalist can use,” said Hassan.
Zeldes and Hassan plan to do future media projects related to IMAJE as well. One plan is to create a stylebook focused on Arabic or Islam. Another is to create a similar audio/visual style guide.
“It’s not only a sign of respect when we pronounce things accurately, but it’s also a sign of good journalism,” said Zeldes.
Professors also want to get high school students involved in their quest to provide more information about Islam and the media.
“I think there is a growing interest in this subject matter, especially where media and religion are concerned. It’s something you see every day,” said Zeldes.
The country is slowly waking up to the threat that Islam brings to America, but Muslims also see this and now they are looking to manipulate the media. By “teaching” them what Islam is about using the knowledge of Islamic scholars. Scholar Bukhari and those at Al-Azhar (the highest learning Islamic school in the world), teach us that Islam is a religion of war that allows the taking of sex slaves. Will they teach the journalists these aspects of Islam? Of course not.