(ANAHEIM, CA, 10/27/08) — On Thursday, a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA) participated in a panel discussion on images of Muslims and Arabs in the media.
At the panelheld at the Los Angeles Press Club, Munira Syeda, communications coordinator for CAIR-LA, was joined by panelists Robert Greenwald, founder of Brave New Films; Steve Padilla, religion editor for the Los Angeles Times; Lena Khan, filmmaker; Ahmed Ahmed, actor and comedian; and Siamak Kalhor, Radio Iran host. The panel was moderated by Jon Beaupre, award-winning guest host on KPCC Radio’s “Air Talk” and “Talk of the City.”
During her address, Syeda said even though there has been a recent trend of incorporating three-dimensional Muslim characters on film and television, Muslims must play a more central role in reframing their own story.
“American Muslims must take the initiative in engaging the media and sharing our story with the American public,” Syeda said.
Other panelists such as Greenwald noted existing bias and hate-mongering against Muslims in the media and emphasized getting organized and working with other coalitions to counter hate messages. Brave New Films late last year began a campaign against syndicated radio host Michael Savage for his offensive remarks against Muslims, in which he called the Quran a “book of hate.” Greenwald will be presented with the Courage in Media Award at CAIR-LA’s 12th Annual Fundraising Banquet on Nov. 1.
The panel was organized by the Media Image Coalition, the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, and the Los Angeles Press Club.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator Munira Syeda, 714-776-1847, 714-851-4851; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org