JMC professor re-routes conversation about Muslims in the U.S.
Recent violent reactions to a YouTube video that mocks the Prophet Mohammed sparked debate and discussion about cultural clashes and misunderstandings surrounding Islam.
CU Journalism & Mass Communications Professor Nabil Echchaibi hopes to open communication about such controversies and what it means to be a Muslim in the United States through “Muslim Voices in the Heartland,” a three-day conference that begins on Thursday at various locations on the CU-Boulder campus.
The event will open with a panel discussion entitled “On ‘Muslim Rage,’ Media & Politics” at the Old Main at CU-Boulder. The panel, featuring Dr. Echchaibi, University of Denver professor Nader Hashemi, and CU-Denver professor Megan Reif, will discuss recent violence in some Muslims communities abroad, and examine its coverage by the media.
The conference will also feature artists and writers and Muslim-Americans exploring life in the United States. Filmmaker Qasim Basir will screen his 2011 film Mooz-lum, about an African-American Muslim and his family whose lives are changed by the September 11 attacks. Slam poetry champion Dominique Ashaheed will perform and playwright Wajahat Ali will discuss his play The Domestic Crusaders following a staged reading. Additional panel discussions will feature members of the Muslim community speaking about their experiences living in the mountain west.
The event is part of Dr. Echchaibi’s broader research project into the experience of Muslims living in the mountain west. The conference coincides with the launch of the new Muslims in the Mountain West website, which will feature videos and other storytelling about the lives and history of Muslims in the region.
Echchaibi, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications and associate director of CU’s Center for Religion, Media and Culture, wants to address what he sees as deficits in mainstream media coverage of Muslim-American life.
According to Echchaibi, the media focus on Muslim issues that relate to terrorism and radicalism. For instance, he said, journalists only seem to want to speak with him when they are covering acts of violence perpetrated by Islamists.
Echchaibi said he isn’t calling for sanitized coverage of Muslim-Americans, but rather for their lives and experiences to be treated with more depth.
“The stories aren’t always rosy and happy,” says Echchaibi, “The other side should be about the complexities of being Muslim in all its facets.”
The three-day Muslims in the Mountain West Event is hosted by the Center for Religion, Media and Culture at CU Journalism & Mass Communication, and CU-Boulder’s Center for Asian Studies. For more information visit http://muslimsinmountainwest.org/
Muslim Voices in the Heartland events:
On “Muslim Rage,” Media & Politics
Thursday, October 4 at 4:30 p.m.
Featuring Nabil Echchaibi, CU-Boulder, Nader Hashemi, University of Denver, and Megan Reif, CU-Denver
Followed by reception
Life as a Muslim in the Mountain West
Thursday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m.
Storytelling, Media & Muslims in Amerca
Friday, October 5 at 5:00 p.m.
Eaton Humanities Room 1B50
Panel discussion, followed by reception
Mooz-lum and Q&A with Director
Friday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m.
Eaton Humanities Room 1B50
Film screening, followed by Q&A with Qasim Basir
Slam Poetry Reading
Saturday, October 6 at 5:00 p.m.
Reading by Dominique Ashaheed, followed by reception
The Domestic Crusaders and Q&A with Playwright
Saturday, October 6 at 6:00 p.m.
Staged reading of the play, followed by Q&A with Wajahat Ali