American Muslims: A Journalist’s Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims:
A CAIR Initiative to Promote an Accurate Image of Islam in the Media
According to a report by Media Tenor, a research firm that monitors and analyzes media coverage, “Islam is not only the religion that is the most frequently mentioned in television news in the United States, but also a significant share of the coverage is negative.” The report goes on to state that the tone of the media coverage of Islam was negative 40 percent of the time, while statements about Christianity were negative 20 percent of the time. Media Tenor also found that “two-thirds of the television coverage about Islam associates Muslims with extremism.”
In response to this report and to the general increase in Islamophobia, CAIR designed an initiative to help enhance understanding of Islam and Muslims in the news media. CAIR distributed more than 35,000 copies of its original publication, American Muslims: A Journalist’s Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims.
The guides were sent to media professionals, journalism departments of universities, and libraries nationwide. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, including comments such as:
- “It is high quality in terms of production value and offers some useful facts on Islam.”
- “Very clearly written – A great aid for journalists.”
- “It’s simple, brief explanations make it a good resource for journalists.”
- “The guide shows Muslims and Islam in a positive light, for a change.”
Since many recent news stories about Islam and Muslims originate on Capitol Hill, we also distributed the guide to the press secretary or communications director for each member of the 112th United States Congress: 100 senators and the 440 members of the House of Representatives.
Recipient Categories and Percentages