New Media = New Dynamics?

Amir Ahmad Nasr, aka Drima from The Sudanese Thinker blog, recently created a project exploring new media—a source of information that altered his life many times. From fundamentalism to heartbreak and disillusionment, and finally to his current spiritual practice of Sufism, Nasr says he was greatly influenced by the internet and the different kinds of religious resources that he read throughout his Islamic spiritual development.

His new project, The Future of Islam in the Age of New Media, highlights the perspectives of 60 academics, scholars, and bloggers on how access to new media has shaped Islam and Muslims around the world. While most contributors see the internet as a “democratizing force,” some warn of the dangers that arise with equal access and speak about the potential hazards of providing a platform for anyone and everyone to offer their voice. Continue reading

Muslim Alliance in North America

Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) held their 2008 Annual Conference in Philadelphia last month. The conference focused on a range of topics and perspectives from guest speakers. Amad, a writer for MuslimMatters, concluded his blog series on the conference today. It’s an innovative, thought-provoking piece of new media because it transcends the image of Islam that you hear and see in mainstream sources.

Continue reading

The Brass Crescent

Fellow Wisconsinite and blogger Aziz Poonawalla contacted me after reading about Inside Islam on ReadWriteWeb. He has two interesting web projects, the Brass Crescent Awards, ending this Friday so vote now, and the group blog Talk Islam. After a description of these, you can read more about Aziz’s bio with his other sites below.

Continue reading

MyUmmah (Guest Entry)

Naeem Mayet joins Inside Islam today as a guest blogger to post about the site MyUmmah, an aggregation of interesting articles and works on Islam from Muslim authors. Naeem is a blogger, graphic designer, photographer, and web strategist. I met him on Twitter, where he recommended some interesting web sites from South Africa. Those links are included below at the end of his post.
Continue reading

What’s wrong with being Muslim in America?

kareem1.jpgWhile gearing up for this Wednesday’s Inside Islam program: Young Muslims and New Media, I found myself thinking a lot about the question Colin Powell posed to Tom Brokaw on last Sunday’s Meet the Press. He said he was troubled by some members of the Republican Party who were helping to spread the rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Powell said:

Well, he’s not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the right answer is, Well, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in America? …Is there something wrong with some seven year old Muslim-American kid believing that he could be president?

I missed Powell’s live endorsement over the weekend since I was out of town at a retreat center. There was another woman staying at the center who had her grandson in tow – a six-year-old just a few days short of turning seven. She was white; he was black; they had the same profile. He was an extraordinarily well-behaved little boy with flashing eyes and a smile to match who managed to sit through some long sessions without wiggling. I surprised myself by saying to him, “You know, Bradley, you might grow up to be president someday.” Would I have had the same thought about a little Arab-American boy?

What do you think? Do we have to wait another generation before Muslim Americans will be considered “real Americans – like you and me?” What will it take, do you think? We’d love to have your comments before Wednesday’s program with Reza Aslan and other media analysts at 3:00pm CT so we can read them on the air.

Continue reading

The Jewel of Medina: A National Security Threat?

The controversy over The Jewel of Medina, a novel about Muhammad’s youngest wife, Aisha, has taken many forms. Recently, in this press release, Random House announced its decision not to publish the book because of the threat it poses to the company, author Sherry Jones, and more broadly, national security. An excerpt of the novel is available on NPR’s website and a simple Google search will reveal how many people are covering the controversy in the media and contributing original ideas about it, despite the fact that so far the book has not been released in English yet.

The_cover_of_Serbian_release_of_

In fact, the book has only been officially published in Serbia. Soon after it was released, however, it was removed from shelves and accused of being offensive to Muslims. The debate over free speech is a hot-button issue in the media today. Some think that The Jewel of Medina is a scandal on par with the Danish cartoons of 2005 and The Satanic Verses published in 1988. Even with serious backlash, the book has developed a following and advocates for its release are keeping a level-head despite threats of violence. Pirated copies and unofficial translations of the book led to its re-release in Serbia. Also, The Jewel of Medina is scheduled for official release in England later this month.

Continue reading

Live interview with Reza Aslan on 29 October 2008

Media commentator, writer and scholar of religion Reza Aslan will join host of Here on Earth: Radio without Borders Jean Feraca for Inside Islam’s second radio show. Discussion about young Muslims and new media opens online before the show airs on October 29, 2008. We want your input. Ask Reza Aslan a question or suggest a topic on this post. Click here to comment. Bio, interview, and recent work available after the break.

Young Muslims and New Media

Comedy Centralreza_small.jpg Baba Ali Videoblogger
Photo Credits. Hooman Majd (Source); Reza Aslan (Source); New York Times (Source)

Continue reading

“Obsession” Video Sparks Online Debate over Muslims in the Media

“Obsession,” a film about “radical Islam’s war against the West,” is controversial both in its content and also because of its timely promotion just after the seventh anniversary of September 11, 2001, and weeks before the 2008 US presidential election. The film itself does not mention the presidential campaign and was actually produced back in 2006 by The Clarion Fund, a non-profit, making it illegal for the organization to take choose sides in campaign politics. On NPR critics of the film claimed producers and promoters of “Obsession” attempted to sway voter opinion in favor of John McCain.

Continue reading

Muslims in the Media, Videoblogs, Sitcoms, and Satellite TV

“Muslims in the Media” Radio Show (20 Oct 2008)

Join Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders and Inside Islam for a radio program exploring Muslims in the media. “Muslims in the Media: Videoblogs, Sitcoms, and Satellite TV” airs October 30, 2008 at 3 p.m. Central Time. The program will be rebroadcast at 9 p.m. the same day. We are looking for input and comments from you, the public, about the specific content of the program.

Before the show, share your suggestions for guests, share links, and your thoughts about Muslims in the media in the comment section for this post.

Continue reading