Reporting Islam Guidelines for Journalists
Knowledge check on Islam and Muslim, based on CNN article. • Muslims are a significant portion of the U.S. population, Yes or No? What percentage of the population are Muslims? • Muslims make up less than 1% of the U.S. adult population. By 2050, their numbers will grow -- to 2.1%. • They're less educated than most Americans. U.S. Muslims have the second-highest level of education among major religious groups in the country; Jews have the highest.
Fact-check • There are about 3.45 million Muslims of all ages in the U.S., according to 2017 survey of U.S. Muslims. • Muslims are also the youngest (median age of 24 years old in 2015) of all major religious groups, seven years younger than the median age of non-Muslims.
They have less gender equality. While in many parts of the Muslim world, women are confined to second-class status, that's not the case among American Muslims. Virtually all of them, 90%, agree that women should be able to work outside the home. American Muslim women hold more college or postgraduate degrees than Muslim men. • They live in secluded area in big cities. American Muslims live in cities big and small all across the United States. The first mosque built in America was in, of all places, Ross, North Dakota, back in 1929. The fact that American Muslims largely do not live in isolated communities, as many do in France, is measure of their positive assimilation.
Population of the world by religion • Christians were the largest religious group in the world in 2015, making up nearly a third (31%) of Earth’s 7.3 billion people. Muslims were second, with 1.8 billion people
Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. Between 2015 and 2060, the world’s population is expected to increase by 32%, to 9.6 billion. Over that same period, the number of Muslims – the major religious group with the youngest population and the highest fertility – is projected to increase by 70%. The number of Christians is projected to rise by 34%.
Views of Americans • Compared to other religions, Islam is more likely to encourage violence. Yes or No?
Lessons from France • France has the largest number of Muslims in Western Europe. One eighth of the French population is of Muslim origin in 2017 (8.4 million). • French have identity crisis of Muslims, which will always be seen as a threat to French unity. • Ban on Hijab in 2010. • The November 2015 Paris attacks were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks that occurred, which killed 130, wounding 430. • https://youtu.be/HzsC_ynSC8Q
France and Islam: Discrimination in their own country. • The wearing of hijab in France has been a very controversial issue since 1989. The debate concerns whether Muslim girls who choose to wear hijab may do so in public schools. • A French female activist of North African descent said, “For us, France is like a mother, and we feel that the mother has pushed us away. She doesn’t love us.” “When your mother is cruel and rejects you, you feel anger, frustration. You want to do something in revenge.”
France trying to reform Islam:“Transform Islam in France to Islam of France.” • The French Government of President Emmanuel Macron announced a state-run plan, “The Fabric of Islam.” • It calls for the development of a “French Islam” — an autonomous, France-centric branch of the faith that would respond to French law.
What journalists should know.. • Impact of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other extremist groups have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries. • China is suppressing Islamic population in Central Asia. In Russia St. Petersburg apartments were bombed killing more than 300 people.
1. Do not broadly generalize. • Do not say, Muslims are… • Also, there’s a problem with making a broad generalization about Muslims’ beliefs. The community is too diverse in terms of national origins and backgrounds to sweep everyone into one group.
2. Should we use the words, “Islamic terrorists?” • The religion is not the key source of most extremist activity. • To be fair, you should also write, “Christian terrorists,” even when a Christian commits an act of terror, as did Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik in 2011. • So, “mass murderers” or “criminals” might be more accurate. Or experts suggest more nuanced, contextualizing labels, such as “radical Islamism,” “radical jihadism,” “Islamic extremism,” or even “radical Islamic terrorism.”
What does Allahu Akbar mean? • “Allahu Akbar,” usually translated as “God is great.” • Allahu Akbar” is the first phrase many Muslims whisper in the ears of their newborns. • It frequently greets the joyous news of a wedding or to express awe. Many Muslims say “Allahu Akbar” 85 times a day, as part of the five daily prayers. • Do not connect it to terrorism.
3. Shed light on what is less reported. In other words, ask why? Or report the view points of people. Story examples: • The Atlantic, Even as the militant group loses ground in Iraq, many Sunnis say they have no hope for peace. One family’s story shows why. • The Guardian, Why Europeans joined ISIS parses the feelings of isolation expressed by his dozens of interviewees, explaining how they might believe ISIS could be “empowering.”
Reporting resources for covering Islam • Islamic Resource Bank : A joint project of three Muslim organizations—The Minaret of Freedom Institute, the Association of Muslim Social Scientists of North America, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought. • Islam for Journalists: Published by Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communications • Religion Link : A site for journalists covering faith topics of all signs run by the Religion Newswriters Foundation
Next week, • Presentation: -Hijab ban in France -How US view Islam • Reading on blackboard -History of the Middle East conflict
Assignment due April 13: Shadowing NGO • Select an international NGO from any global issue, such as Women’s rights and Refugee/migration. The one that is the most relevant to your interest. • Select an issue or project the NGO is working on. • In a blog essay, write the following. -Evaluate the project, strength the weakness -Describe how you see yourself contribute to the project -List a person in the NGO that interests you.
Next, we go to the Middle East • Reporting Islam • CNN effect, Aljazeera and New Media • Israel-Palestine Conflict & Changing Public Opinion • Iran and Saudi Arabia, What Is Happening Inside?