Thursday, September 14, 2006

Where are the Americans?

This is a followup to my post from yesterday, "Where Are the Muslim News and Television Analysts?" I hope you'll take a moment and read that post.

National Public Radio (NPR) is doing an absolutely superb job of covering the Muslim in America issue even though they, too, lack full time Muslim reporters/commentators.

NPR is currently broadcasting an enlightening series, now in it's second week. It's titled, cleverly enough, "Muslims in America."

Every single entry is available for listening on-line. And I encourage everyone to go to NPR and listen.

But what prompted this urgent entry in this journal was the disturbing letters NPR has received from listeners objecting to the series and/or objecting to the fact that one of the series' shows was aired on September 11th.

These are comments, letters or emails from listeners last week (the transcriptions are mine, and name spellings might be in error):

Listener Tom Galley wrote a response to an earlier story about a devote elderly Muslim who had told of the difficulty in following his religion while being an American. Galley said "If it is truly that bad here, why not exercise your freedom, leave and live among those who settle their differences by suicide bomber."

It seems to me this is the same language we used to hear about blacks (and the word 'black' was never used, but the derogatory slang we now call the "N" word). "If they don't like it here then they should just pack up and move back to Africa."

I had hoped we were past all that.

Jennifer Folks wrote: "It is the fifth anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in American history and the attack was perpetrated by Muslims. Instead of honoring the fallen hero's, you were broadcasting a story about the people who were dancing in the street."

This, of course, was pure nonsense! NPR's beautiful broadcast honored fallen Americans all day with interviews, stories from relatives, replaying actual events, and discussing the horror with police, firemen, soldiers and political leaders.

Even worse, the actual NPR broadcasts had nothing to do with "dancing in the streets." In one of the actual stories presented by NPR on September 11th, one Muslim Doctor in Chicago (unnamed) said "I was working though that identity clash and it went away on September 11th. On that day I became an American."

But the blind hatred continued. NPR listener Allison Lurea wrote: "This was not the time to discuss Muslim tolerance, it was highly insensitive and disrespectful."

Katherine Adam said, "For interviewing American Muslims we (NPR) should be prosecuted for treason and sedition."

Listen to the full report
here (this takes you to the NPR web page and then you need to click on the "listen" button).

Congratulations to NPR for the superb job they do in covering the news and the reality behind the news everyday. If only every American would listen with an open mind and open heart to the "Muslims in America" stories.

This type of horrific prejudice will continue and grow until the news media and the entertainment industry help all of us to understand that most Muslim Americans are just ordinary people with the same hopes, dreams, fears and concerns we all share.




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