CAIR-Chicago, in association with New Islamic Directions, hosted a workshop on July 27 at the UNITY 2008 Convention titled "Presumption of Guilt: Media Treatment and Coverage of Muslims in America."
The presentation aimed to dispel misconceptions of Muslims and provide a clear basis through which journalists can subjectively report on issues pertaining to Islam in America. The workshop also covered pertinent media themes and shed light on ways to reverse current trend of negative and biased reporting on Muslims.
This year’s UNITY Convention took place in Chicago and was the nation's largest gathering of journalists of color. Approximately 7,000 media figures, including journalists and executives, discussed issues affecting modern journalism. SEE http://www.2008unity.org.
“It's imperative for journalists to be sensitive to racial stereotypes in order to tell the full stories of our communities, not caricatures of them,” said CAIR-Chicago’s Communications Coordinator, Reem Rahman.
Also presenting were CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, and New Islamic Directions’ founder, Zaid Shakir. Shakir offered analysis on the history of racism in America and how it relates to the current discrimination of Muslims. Rehab discussed the importance of context, breadth, and nuance in covering Muslim stories.
CAIR-Chicago regularly works with media on behalf of Muslims in Illinois and nationwide.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.