Article Op-Ed

Atlanta Muslims Reaching out to the Media

Atlanta Muslims Reaching out to the Media

Author Huda Saeb by

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Georgia Muslims have finally started—finally started taking chances with the media. Indeed, over the past few months, I have seen an almost unprecedented and yet oh-so-wonderful surge of Muslims appearing in the local media.

For example, Fox 5 Atlanta interviewed Bassem Fakhoury, Roswell Community Masjid’s operations director, regarding the beheading in Oklahoma. Fakhoury’s calm demeanor and arsenal of facts wonderfully represented the Muslim faith.

However, there is a difference between being sought out by the media and reaching out to the media. The former is a rare event, out of our control and seldom occurring. But we can change that by making our voices heard, even if it means something as simple as sending more emails.

Alan Howard and Plemon T. El-Amin were recently featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, writing a letter to the editor about local Muslim-Americans condemning terrorism. Their words were backed by strong undeniable facts—evidence that had been researched.

Muslims all over the United States need to do the same thing, contacting the media with facts. Your email might be thrown into a “no-thank you” folder on a journalist’s desktop, but there is chance you might end up featured like Alan Howard and Plemon T. El-Amin. The more pieces we write, the more Media-Muslims we have, and the more opinions we can hopefully change.

Atlanta Muslims hold at a distinct advantage in this endeavor. We live in the most strategic city of the United States. Atlanta is growing, its importance is rising, and more people are keeping up with our wonderful city. Demographic diversity also increases by the day. Georgia politicians are slowly becoming more open-minded and the media is following.

Yet too many Muslims quit trying to change minds too soon. We are discouraged from not only writing but also studying.

It should be a requirement for Muslims in college to minor in English. An odd request, I know, but necessary. We all need to learn how to use words to impact lives. Atlanta Muslims need to write about our faith, the economy, Ferguson, everything.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were both masters in rhetoric. Barack Obama was elected based largely on his ability to communicate well.

Engineering and medicine are stellar careers, but if you are a college freshman or sophomore reading this—pay attention. If you have the slightest interest in journalism, media, politics or international affairs, pursue it. Do not settle on the safe route. Take the chance.

Martin Luther King Jr was not guaranteed to publish in newspapers, inspire the country and become the subject of today’s textbooks—he wrote the Letter from Birmingham Jail, anyway—on the margins of an old newspaper. We do not have an excuse.

Atlanta Muslims have begun—and must continue—to reach out to the media.

Do you have more examples of Atlanta Muslims reaching out to the media?
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