A week of “Muslims in America”

This is what I get for showering at the same time every morning, I suppose. Somehow I missed all of NPR’s Morning Edition series on Muslim life in America.

The series began on Monday, 09/11/2006 the fifth anniversary of 9/11, with a report from Chicago on the tension between being Muslim and being American.

As you’d expect, the NPR series has a wonderful variety of voices talking about the identity clash many Muslims and Arabs in America experience. They have one man saying that for him that clash “went away on 9/11.”
The second half of the interview features Ingrid Mattson, the first female leader Islamic Society of North America, who was just elected to the post.
Day Two – An in-depth profile of Sheik Hamza Yusuf. Born in California, Yusuf converted to Islam as a young man. Yusuf is a leading intellectual in the Muslim community and calls on his community to force extremism out of mosques.

Day Three – A segment on Arab American filmmakers who feel that 9/11, ironically, has given them greater opportunities to tell their stories. Now, Americans and Hollywood are interested in real Muslim stories and characters, not just bad guys or caricatures speaking gibberish. The filmmakers claim that most Arabs would describe America’s behavior over the last few years as “terrible” and “horrible.” At the same time, many of those same Arabs respect America as a land of unlimited opportunity.

Day Four – Interviews with two Muslim young women from Chicago who claim to be “Muslim first.” The theme in this piece doesn’t stray too far from a fairly common thread in the media and in books that posits that young Muslims identify too much as Muslims and not enough as “Americans.” But, don’t most teens and twenty-somethings tend to identify in this same way?

Day Five – In this last installment, NPR rightly continues its profile of the young women from Day Four: Assia and Iman Boundaoui.
Overall, NPR has given us an excellent portrait of Muslim life. Though it is not too hard hitting and doesn’t seem to really reach the anxiety that seems to be out there.

This publication exemplifies that anxiety. It is only available on IE 6.0 as a “web reader” and, thus, not a good model for online publishing, but Aramica is a faily accurate reflection of its audience in the things it chooses to report and others it chooses to ignore.

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2 Responses to “A week of “Muslims in America””

  1. annaliese Says:

    This post highlights something I find frustrating, but also sort of magical, about radio: you never know when a great little segment is going to come on. I know that for most NPR shows it’s possible to the web and listen, but it seems like there must be a way to put radio bits on an RSS feed and have each medium enhance the other. Maybe there already are RSS feeds for radio and I should research before I comment.

  2. A shortage of imams « The Generalist Says:

    […] It is a very similar sentiment to that voiced by Sheik Hamza Yusuf in this book. Will the next generation of Muslims in America follow American-born imams? […]

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