Being Muslim in America

An in-depth look through the lens of the media at one of the most controversial, and frequently misunderstood, people groups in the United States.


  1. Islam was the no. 1 religious topic in the news in 2010, bumping the Catholic Church from that spot, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. What people and events have propelled Muslims to the national spotlight? How is the public being influenced by the coverage...and vice versa? 

    Last year, coverage of events included the plan to build a mosque and Islamic center near ground zero in New York and a Florida pastor's threat to organize a burning of the Koran. In 2011, these same topics and numerous others, have pervaded the media. Examples include "Islamophobia", the debate over the banning of Mosques in certain communities and the Anti-Sharia movement, as well as the perception of Muslim Americans in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11. As evidenced by the Pew study, Islam has been propelled to the national stage, whether for better or worse.

    This project will trace coverage of American Muslims over the coming months, paying close attention to how media serve to define and shape the debate and general understanding of Islam. While American media are imperative to the study, equally as important are publications and organizations which explore and research the relationship between Americans and their Muslim peers. 

  2. Pew Research Center Interviews Muslim Americans on Life in U.S. ...
    Pew Research Center Interviews Muslim Americans on Life in U.S. ...
  3. Tennessee church hosts anti-Sharia conference
    Dec. 6, 2011
  4. Last month, a church in Tennessee hosted a conference led by ACT! for America, an organization known for its attempts to stop the spread of Sharia law in America. Speakers and participants claimed the Muslim law is a threat to the American way of life and is attempting to undermine the Constitution and country as a whole. One speaker claimed local mosques are not protected under the first amendment, leading local Muslim officials to challenge what they called "mudslinging." Muslim leader Mwafaq Mohammed even welcomed attendees to visit the local mosque in order to realize that Muslims are law abiding citizens as well. 

    Want to know more?
    *Read more about the push for anti-Sharia law.
    *Watch a clip of a rally against Sharia law.

  5. Blogger calls on presidential candidates to end Muslim rhetoric
    Dec. 6, 2011
  6. In a recent post on the New York Time's campaign blog, Deepa Iyer, the executive director of the South Asian Americans Leading Together organization, challenges the discriminatory speech targeting Muslims, particularly that from candidates for the presidency. As an immigrant from Indian, Iyer writes that he hoped, in the wake of Sept. 11, the nation as a whole could avoid the bigotry and misguided prejudice against Muslim Americans. However, as election season gears up, Iyer claims that elected officials are doing more to flame the controversy than limiting it, as they should be. 
  7. Officials hold hearing on radicalization of American Muslims
    Dec. 5, 2011
  8. A joint hearing will be held Wednesday, hosted by chairmen of homeland security committees, the latest in a series of discussions regarding the radicalization of American Muslims and the threat they post to the U.S. military. Led by Rep. Pete King and Sen. Joe Lieberman, the panel will explore how the military can better prepare for attacks from within. One such example cited is the shootings at the Fort Hood military base in 2009 and King said the situation has not been examined closely enough.

    Want to know more?
    *Read about criticism for a similar hearing held earlier this year.
    *Check out a statement from Lieberman about the hearing.
  9. Rep. Rick Womick calls for purging of Muslims from US military
    Dec. 3, 2011
  10. On Veteran's Day last month, Rep. Rick Womick from Tennessee called for the removal of all Muslim's from the American military. Included in his comments was an accusation that Allah is a "false god" and that all Muslims are seeking to kill others. In their coverage, the advocacy publication The American Muslim emphasizes the extremes to which elected officials will go to win re-election by targeting Muslim Americans. Even the most unconstitutional and unfounded statements are met with minimal backlash. The author of the post in TAM, a Muslim who, like Womick, served in the Armed Forces of the United States wrote about his sadness at hearing those words spoken by a fellow veteran. 

    Want to know more?

    *Read the backlash from Gawker, which called Womick's statement the "absolute dumbest thing a Republican has said about Islam this year"

    *Watch Womick's specific comments regarding Muslims in the military.


  11. Victim of post-9/11 hate crime speaks in attacker's defense
    Dec. 1, 2011
  12. About a week and a half after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was shot point-blank in the face by a masked man at the convenience store where he worked. The immigrant from Bangladesh, who survived but sustained 35 pellets in his face and was blinded in one eye, was one of a slew of victims, appearing to be of Muslim or Middle Eastern descent, targeted by Mark Anthony Stroman in the wake of 9/11. In the years since his attack, Bhuiyan has not only forgiven Stroman but strove to prevent his execution which ended up taking place in July. On Dec. 11, Bhuiyan will speak about the experience at the American Muslim Voice 2011 Peace Convention in Newark titled "Awakening the American Spirit: Turning the Tide of Hate into Love."

    Want to know more?
    *Read more about Bhuiyan's attempts to save his attacker from execution.
    *Watch an interview with Bhuiyan about the experience.
  13. 'All-American Muslim' on TLC met with mixed response
    Nov. 27, 2011
  14. The new TLC reality show "All-American Muslim," launched earlier this month, has been met with mixed reactions from viewers, some of whom question the portrayal of the religion. More liberal members of the audience have applauded the show for challenging the common perception of Muslims as terrorists and painting a more realistic picture of their lifestyle. However, more conservative viewers have not expressed support, some even going so far as to say the show is a propaganda tool that does not accurately portray Islam. Even conservative Muslims have expressed disapproval, but for different reasons. Some have questioned the show's inclusion of the more non-Pious followers, including those with tattoos and more revealing clothing. Others claim non-Arab Muslims should have been featured, rather than solely Lebanese-Americans.

    Want to know more?
    *Read a reaction to the show from a Muslim American on CNN's Belief Blog.
    *Check out a Facebook page calling for a boycott of "All-American Muslim" and the show's sponsors.

    Reaction on Facebook and Twitter: