Rescripting Islam and Muslims in the Media

Article excerpt

IT IS AN IMAGE WE ARE ALL too familiar with when flipping to the news on our televisions, listening to it on the radio, or reading it in newspapers and magazines - Muslims portrayed as anything but friendly and peaceful. "On the whole, it is not necessarily that the media want to portray Muslims in a negative light. The problem is the context of news itself," ISNA Secretary General Safaa Zarzour told a conference hosted by Indiana University on "Rescripting Islam and Muslims in the Media."

The two-day program featured panels of leading journalists, community leaders, scholars, and professionals to explore narratives about Islam and Muslims in the media and practical steps to shift the conversation of changing narratives into practice. The event, organized by the University's Voices and Visions Project, aims to increase intercultural understanding, inform and promote dialogue, replace misinformation, and promote accessible scholarship on topics regarding Muslims.

"The problem is not malicious journalists, although there are a few of those out there; the problem is the focus of news itself. Muslims are only considered worth reporting on when a crisis has happened; they become a link to something potentially dangerous or harmful, as either the aggressor or the helpless oppressed victim," Zarzour said. …