(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/13/2007) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today announced the launch of a major initiative to help enhance understanding of Islam and Muslims in the news media.
At a news conference in the nation’s capital, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the centerpiece of its “Beyond Stereotypes” campaign will be distribution of the newly-published “American Muslims: A Journalist’s Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims” to some 40,000 media professionals nationwide.
CAIR’s new guide offers journalists the tools needed to gain a better understanding of Islam and to write accurate and balanced stories about Muslims. The guide also offers background information on issues related to Islam and Muslims, best practices for reporting on the American Muslim community and definitions of terminology often used in news stories or editorials.
In challenging common misconceptions about Islam and Muslims, the guide provides an Islamic perspective on hot-button issues such as Islam and democracy, freedom of religion, women’s rights, and interfaith relations.
Media professionals may request a free copy of CAIR’s journalist guide through the “Beyond Stereotypes” website. (Sample pages of the guide can be viewed on the website.) Members of the American Muslim community are being asked to sponsor copies of the guide or to order hard copies for distribution to local media outlets.
Along with distribution of the guide to editors, reporters, producers, and other journalists, CAIR is offering media relations training to Muslim communities nationwide. The “Beyond Stereotypes” website also offers tips on pro-active educational activities such as hosting media events and meeting with newspaper editorial boards.
SEE: Beyond Stereotypes: A CAIR Initiative to Enhance Understanding of Islam in the Media
“Because we work with media professionals on a daily basis, we know the vast majority of journalists are doing the best job they can with the information resources they have available,” said CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed. “It is our duty, and that of the Muslim community, to make sure every journalist who writes about Islam or Muslims has access to accurate information.”
In a statement released at today’s news conference, CAIR said: “We recognize that much of the negative perception of Islam and Muslims is the result of negative actions by a tiny minority of Muslims. That minority should not be allowed to overshadow the vast majority of Muslims in this country and worldwide who reject terrorism and religious extremism.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org