Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism

Covering Islam and Muslims
in America

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Introduction and Discussion of Goals

Improved media coverage of Islam in the United States is contingent on journalists learning to ask the right questions, working to understand the answers in context, and explaining those answers to the public in appropriate ways. (Story, video and more)

Media Coverage of Islam in America

The introductory session of the seminar was designed to broadly present, through the perspectives of three panelists, the problems facing media coverage of Muslims in the United States. (Story, video and more)

Muslim Religious Diversity: Sunni, Shi’a, Nation of Islam, Sufi, etc.

Journalists seeking to understand Islam in America must distinguish between Islam and culture, so they can grasp the many variations within the religion. (Story, video and more)

Keynote Address by Sherman Jackson: Overview of Muslims in America

Muslims in America are locked into a hidden battle over who will get to decide what Islam means in the modern world. (Story, video and more)

Muslim Ethnic & National Diversity

While the overriding cultural image of a Muslim in America is that of an Arab in a flowing djellaba robe, the reality is that Islam contains some wildly diverse ethnicities – such as the black Nation of Islam, the South Asian Pakistanis and Malaysians and North Africans. (Story, video and more)

The Next Generation: Culture and Identity

Young Muslims growing up in the U.S. face the same basic struggle that immigrant groups have always faced in America – how to blend in and find a place for yourself in this country without losing that identity that makes you unique. (Story, video and more)

Community, Family and Gender

Journalists are taught to avoid stereotyping people based on their religion – but when it comes to Islam, recent events have fueled a rise in stories that are based on and reinforce tired cultural clichés. (Story, video and more)

Arts, Entertainment, and Music

In December, Showtime will launch "Sleeper Cell," a series that plans to rock the television world by presenting two things that have yet to be seen on the tube: the humanization of a terrorist sleeper cell, and a main character named Darwyn, an FBI agent with the makings of a Muslim-American hero. (Story, video and more)

Muslim Participation in American Politics and Civic Life

The Muslim community's participation in American politics depends on the younger generation's involvement, and according to Ahmed Younis, the national director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, it all comes down to an issue of identity: the ability of Muslim Americans to reconcile the plurality of their societal role and be equally Muslim and American. (Story, video and more)

September 11th, the War on Terrorism, and Civil Rights

In August 2004, 26-year-old poet and former teacher Amir Sulaiman was featured as an artist on HBO's "Def Poetry Jam." Standing before a captive audience, he stalked the stage, passionately stringing his political sentiments through the air with a piece called "Danger." (Story, video and more)

Transnational Ties

It is difficult to pin down what we mean by "transnational," said associate professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture and Islamic Studies, Mark LeVine of UC Irvine, after each panelist made a markedly different presentation on the topic. (Story, video and more)

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Funded by the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation