OnIslam.net

The Islamic Monthly: A Muslim Media Model in US

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Religions in the Media
By Julian Bond
Director, Christian Muslim Forum- The UK
Islamic_Monthly
The cover of the latest release

One of the privileges of being a national Christian-Muslim charity is finding out what happens around the world as people send us emails, letters and interesting packages. We have received a number of interesting books over the years and struggle to read or review them.

This week’s mail included a magazine from the USA – ‘The Islamic Monthly’. It’s published independently and says this in its introductory paragraph:

‘The magazine is part of an ongoing experiment of a free Muslim press eager to build on the rich tradition of public discourse found in Islamic and Western history. We firmly believe that an honest discourse is only possible when we open ourselves to response, criticism, feedback and debate.’

There is no cover price, but when I see the Islamic and Western in the same sentence and encouragement of honest discourse and self-opening I think, ‘I’ll buy that!’

Of course it is aimed at an American audience so this edition (No. 4, Summer/Fall 2012) has articles comparing whether Obama or Romney are most suited to the Muslim electorate. From this side of the Atlantic, the more interesting human story (or stories) is under the title ‘The Politician Next Door’, profiling Muslim politicians:

‘While Muslims continue to have their loyalties and intentions externalized and attacked, they are increasingly winning hearts, minds and political office across the country.’

And so, we read of Arjumand Hashmi, who is currently, and somewhat unexpectedly, Mayor of Paris, Texas, surely four words which can change some perceptions. Speaking of himself he says, ‘Everyone thought this Muslim guy … born somewhere else, talks different, looks different, walks different – how is he going to get elected?’ It was this difference that was to his advantage in the adversarial world of politics:

‘His opponents took advantage of the “unknown” that the doctor [he is a cardiologist] seemed to represent and ran a counter-campaign, targeting his religion and ethnicity. This, however, seemed to work against his opponents as it highlighted their own dirty politics and turned more attention toward the foreign-born candidate …’ We also read that his original handful of supporters were mostly Christians as there are very few Muslims in Paris.

Check the Islamic Monthly website by clicking here.

Scopes

There is a long and timely article on ‘America and its Future with the Muslim World.’ Personally I think we should all stop talking about ‘the Muslim World’ and remind ourselves that there is only one world inhabited by Muslims, Christians and others.

Given the Christian Muslim Forum’s own interest in the family (we are shortly launching our Ethical Inter Faith Marriage Guidelines) it was good to see an article on Muslims and divorce – ‘Given complexities of balancing religion and culture in America, we ask, why are more Muslims divorcing?’ The article observes, ‘a Muslim-American couple may need to work two or three times as hard as their parents just to sustain the marriage.’

Zaid Hassan writes a challenging article on the roots of the ‘Arab Spring’ in the suicide of the Tunisian Bouazizi, why suicide is about self-determination and whether the well-worn description ‘suicide bomber’ fully describes the motivation of those who attack the innocent.

The magazine closes with an interview of Ayad Akhtar, the writer of ‘American Dervish’ who has been influenced by Jewish writers, but I have now run out of space …

Related Links:
A Positive Contribution of a Tennessee Muslim
A Challenge for Pamela Geller
Religion and Elections in America (Special Folder)

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