Radio Islam a First in Chicago



All Things Considered, October 25, 2004 · Radio Islam, the nation's first
daily English-language Muslim radio program produced in the United States,
began airing this month in Chicago. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports...

(Soundbite of radio broadcast)

Unidentified Announcer: This is WCEV, 1450 AM, Cicero, Illinois.

CHERYL CORLEY reporting:

In the tiny control room of WCEV Radio, an engineer and a producer, already
hunched by the phone, take a quick glance at the clock. The station sells
time to producers of ethnic programs, and its newest show is about to
begin.

(Soundbite of "Radio Islam" broadcast)

Ms. SAMIRA SAEED (Host, "Radio Islam"): WCEV now presents "Radio Islam,"
produced by...

CORLEY: This day, Samira Saeed, one of the program's seven Muslim hosts,
starts "Radio Islam's" hourlong show with a newscast, while producer Chuck
Ruby(ph) gets ready for the next segment.

Mr. CHUCK RUBY (Producer, "Radio Islam"): OK. We have about two minutes, I
think. We're coming out of news. I'm going to put you on hold.

CORLEY: The guest on the telephone is Professor Jack Shaheen, who examines
how Muslims and Arabs are portrayed in film in his book "Real Bad Arabs:
How Hollywood Vilifies a People."

(Soundbite of "Radio Islam" broadcast)

Professor JACK SHAHEEN (Author, "Read Bad Arabs"): So what we have is an
unending barrage of images that teach audiences that Muslims are different,
that they're not to be trusted.

CORLEY: "Radio Islam" is the latest offering of SoundVision Foundation, a
program that produces video, audio and Web-based programs for Muslims and
others interested in learning more about Islam. The foundation's president,
Abdul Malik Mujahid, says he wants the call-in radio show to foster
dialogue and a better understanding between neighbors…

CORLEY: "Radio Islam" is among a number of Islam-related radio talk shows,
but the research director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or
CAIR, says most others are weekly, not in English, often deal with
religious issues and are mainly geared towards new immigrants. Mohamed
Nimer says a national poll released by CAIR earlier this month shows
ventures like "Radio Islam" are needed.

Mr. MOHAMED NIMER: Well, the poll asked an open-ended question: 'What comes
to mind when you hear the word "Muslim"?' Only 2 percent could come up with
something that was deemed positive. About a fourth agreed or strongly
agreed with statements like 'Muslims value life less than other people,'
'Islam teaches hate and violence,' and 'Muslims teach their children hate
and violence.'

CORLEY: And it's those perceptions the organizers of "Radio Islam" say they
hope to dispel...

 


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