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Day 4: Islamophobia: Influence of the Media and Education

By Bakrom Ismoilov

Tuesday morning, May 10. Embassy Suites Hotel, Charlotte, North Carolina. Joan Mulholland gathered the student riders for a dialogue on Islamophobia that was brought to her attention by the event happened on Friday. Two imams who were headed to Charlotte for a meeting on ‘Islamophobia’ were taken off a commercial flight after the pilot refused to fly with them.

My fellow riders joined for a short roundtable discussion, which was decided to be continuingly discussed during the ride. Being a Muslim student, I was glad that this discussion started, as in my view, it is a growing issue that might have serious consequences.

A specific attention was paid to the influence of the media on people’s perception of the religion of Islam. Do we consider the media as a deceiver of people’s minds that has a political touch to it? Do we see it as a truthful entity that is just and tolerant? Or can we make the media a resource for the civic engagement and educate people properly?

In my opinion media falls into all three categories: it can be an ally, an enemy and a resource. And I do believe in the power of civic engagement in overcoming political interests by love and integrity.

But, how about the institutional education in US? As 15-year-old exchange student in Battle Creek, Michigan, during my American History class, we were asked which is worse, communism or terrorism, after which it was explained to us that Communism was evil and terrorism was an Islamic action. How can we trust what is taught in schools, and how can we change it? I keep replaying the words of Diane Nash in my mind: “The issue that I see in our society is we don’t ask ourselves: WHY is it that I believe in what I believe?”

The 2011 Student Freedom Ride really brought us together for a reason — to be the CHANGE we want to see in our future. And it is of my biggest hope that this conversation will be continued during and after the ride.

Verse 49:13 of the Holy Koran states: “O mankind! We created you from a pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other not that ye may despise each other. “

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3 responses to “Day 4: Islamophobia: Influence of the Media and Education”

  1. Rebecca Littlejohn

    12th May, 11

    I am so glad you are part of this trip, and I’m glad you all are having this conversation. When I was in college and seminary, preparing to become a Christian pastor, I concluded, given the times, that one of the most important things I needed to learn about was Islam, so that I could be an effective witness for the peace of God. Salaam.

  2. Sherzod Abdujabborov

    12th May, 11

    There are many theories about brainwash and rule of media over people’s minds. it’s a matter of contention. However what’s true is that it is very hard to change the system. But it does not mean that one should give up. In 1963 a speech by the black minister from Alabama shook the world and changed it to the extent most people never had inagined before. Such events like “freedom ride” contribute to believing that such miracles are still possible and that we can make a difference. Let’s dream and strive for a better future where people of different religions, races and values live in peace.

  3. Devon Malnar

    17th May, 11

    The tips you shared here are rather useful. Rrt had been such an enjoyable surprise to have that awaiting me as i woke up this very day. They are often to the point and simple to understand. Warm regards for the useful ideas you’ve shared in this article.