Lesson: Every one of us has the power to educate thousands through the “power of the pen!”
It was a delight to present a workshop on “How to Ally with American Muslims” with my good friend, Spokane Interfaith Council President Skyler Oberst.
We distributed copies of a Gallup Poll on American Muslims and informative messaging to use (not to be confused with another great document on talking about American Muslims). By the time we started, we had over 40 attendees!
Skyler showed a great video about Spokane-area Muslims. Then, audience members shared their experiences getting to know local Muslims and visiting the Spokane Islamic Center, which welcomes visitors, especially at congregational prayers at 12:30pm every Friday.
We then mentioned the need for voices of allies to be heard by the masses. Each of us has the power to educate thousands, simply by investing a few minutes to e-mail letters to editors using messages in the documents we distributed (linked above).
A letter to The Spokesman-Review (www.spokesman.com/letters/submit/) could be read by 50,000 readers, and if sent to The Seattle Times ([email protected]) could reach 2 million readers!
A study by Media Tenor of primetime news found that Islam is featured more than any other religion, and the coverage is overwhelmingly negative. Research by University of Hawaii, University of Exeter & National Hispanic Media Coalition indicate that media content can have a direct effect on hate and prejudice. Accurate language can inform readers, while loaded language misleads readers and fuels prejudice. We mentioned that even if a letter is not published, it will motivate editors to use realistic portrayals of Islam and Muslims. Many attendees left motivated to use “the power of the pen,” which we all hold!