As usual Muslims are playing the victim card, but this time it is against the MSM which actually covers for Islam. No matter what non-Muslims do, Muslims will always want more.
US Muslims & Media…Lost Love
By Dina Rabie, IOL Staff
WASHINGTON – The Muslim community remains poles apart from the media industry in post- 9/11 America, where a severely negative image about Islam and Muslims is being projected by many media outlets in the absence of a clear Muslim media voice. “We have a big problem; it’s that other people are shaping the story about us,” Shahed Amanullah, editor-in-chief of altmuslim.com, told IslamOnline.net.
Media professionals agree that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, the US media put much focus on Muslims, estimated between 7-8 millions.
In many cases the media narratives were mostly stereotypical, and Muslims suffered constant media campaigns depicting them and their religion as a threat from within.
The latest episode came following the Fort Hood shooting tragedy last month, in which Maj. Nidal Hasan, a Muslim army psychiatrist, is accused of killing 13 fellow soldiers.
Many right-wing and conservative commentators have jumped on the wagon, using the attack to defame Islam and American Muslims.
“Since 9/11, the American Muslim community is on the receiving end. Its resources are sucked into defending its institutions and individuals,” says Abdus Sattar Ghazali, editor of the American Muslim Perspective website.
“Despite all this, ironically, American Muslims are always blamed by the anti-Muslim and anti-Islam media commentators as well as right-wing religious and political leaders that they are not condemning the so-called ‘Islamic terrorism’.”
Ibrahim Hooper, Communication Director at the Council on American Muslim relations (CAIR), said they advise their community on how to respond to media misrepresentation.
“We made sessions in CAIR for Muslims on how to interact with the mainstream media outlets in the US.”
Stephen Schwartz, head of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), America’s largest Jewish movement, has accused American media of demonizing Islam and portraying Muslims as “satanic figures” since the 9/11 attacks.
“The goal is to reach the general public, and for that we have to get involved in the mainstream media outlets,” believes Lekovic.
American Muslim media professionals believe their community has not learnt to use the media as a powerful tool to project their own image away from the stereotypes currently being propagates about them and their religion by many.
“Other groups in the US have their own media outlets. Latinos for example have national newspapers now,” notes Amanullah, an award-winning journalist who writes regularly about the challenges and opportunities facing Islam in America.
“We have no national newspapers, magazines or TV stations.”
Ghazali agrees that there is no major Muslim TV or radio network to project the news and analysis from the Muslim or Islamic point of view.
Even the few Muslim outlets present, he asserts, are speaking to their community rather than reaching out to the wider American society.
“There are some ethnic printed media such as newspapers in Arabic, English and Urdu languages which are popular only in the concerned community.”
Omar Bin Abdullah, editor of Islamic Horizons – the largest circulating English-language Muslim periodical in the US and Canada – says that even the reach of the existing Muslim media is severely limited.
He says his publication goes to 60,000 homes, offices and libraries every two months.
“The distribution of other nonprofits is even smaller. If we are saying that we are 7 to 8 million, then a 100,000 copies for such a community is just too small.”
Bin Abdullah regrets that even Muslim professionals are barely noticeable in the mainstream media.
“The one or two names we see may not even represent us, the mainstream Muslims.”
But others contend that Muslims are not so far away from the media industry, but they are rather invisible.
“There are more Muslims working in the mainstream media than ever before. There are Muslims working in the CNN, ABC, New York Times,” Edina Lekovic, Communications Director at the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), told IOL.
“But they either keep their Muslims identities aside and work without telling everybody about it, or they maintain a professional attitude and keep distant from the Muslim societies.”
Bin Abdullah, the Islamic Horizons editor, believes the solution for US Muslims media crisis is to have a national mainstream outlet that offers a Muslim view.
“Such positive representation will address the issue of spreading correct information about Islam.
It is funny how only Islam has the problem of being misunderstood. Then again you are most likely lying, like your religion encourages you to.