Islam and popular culture: an Inside Islam recap

All-American Muslim, a reality TV show we covered in 2011. Photo: TLC

It’s fitting to end Inside Islam where we started. When we first began the project, we focused heavily on Islam in popular culture and media. Our first shows and posts focused on Muslim youth and new media, videobloggers, and even fashion.

Our focus on cultural topics was deliberate. In our efforts to break down stereotypes about Islam, our strategy was to humanize Muslims by showing them engaged in activities non-Muslims could relate to. Popular culture has always cut across cultural and geographic borders, so we focused heavily on the medium. 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.

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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)

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