The Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) held a media breakfast at its offices Tuesday morning with reporters and editors from various Southern California news outlets to discuss how the American media portrays Islam and Muslims.
The regional office of the Muslim American advocacy and civil liberties group organized the event mainly to give media representatives information, resources and ideas on how to cover Muslims in a more positive light, as they are often typecast.
"Present Muslims like common people," said Ahlam Muhtaseb, assistant professor of communications studies at Cal State San Bernardino.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Muslims' loyalty to the United States has been questioned, and they have been scrutinized and lumped into one group that is seen as untrustworthy and not American enough, said Munira Syeda, CAIR-LA spokeswoman.
Lately, the coverage of the proposed building of an Islamic center, Park51, near the former World Trade Center site in New York City; the abandoned plan by a Florida church to burn the Koran on the ninth anniversary of 9/11; and the upcoming midterm elections has thrust Muslims into the national spotlight.
Typically when there is coverage of Islam or Muslims, it is done in a negative frame of mind, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA. (More)