I began thinking about sustained reporting on American Muslims at the very beginning of the 2008 presidential primary season. During the primaries and throughout the general election campaign, Islam, Muslim and other related terms were portrayed as slurs -- so much so that then Senator Barack Obama chose to distance himself from the Muslim community. Even so more than 90 percent of American Muslims voted for him on Nov. 4 2008.
In a multimedia project that reports on the difficulties, hopes and expectations of the American Muslim community, particularly after the 2008 presidential election, through a series of interviews, aggregated resources and personal profiles, I hope to provide a glimpse into the lives and concerns of an expanding, media-sensitive and misunderstood community. The interviewees in the below interviews cover a wide range of questions and sensitive topics and in some areas challenge the dominent perceptions that is being presented by the mainstream media over the past decade.
About the Interviewees:
Born in Chicago in 1979, Melody Moezzi grew up mostly in Dayton, Ohio in a strong and vibrant Iranian-American community. She is a writer, commentator, activist, author and attorney. She is also a United Nations Global Expert with the UN Alliance of Civilizations and a member of the British Council's Our Shared Future Opinion Leaders Network. Her first book, "War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims," earned her a Georgia Author of the Year Award and a Gustavus Myers Center for Bigotry and Human Rights Honorable Mention. Moezzi is also a commentator for National Public Radio's All Things Considered and for Georgia Public Broadcasting's Georgia Gazette.
Bob Baer, a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle East, is TIME.com's intelligence columnist and the author of "See No Evil" and, most recently, "The Devil We Know," and "The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story."
Dr. Munir Jiwa, is the founding director of the Center for Islamic Studies and Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union. He holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Anthropology from Columbia University and an M.T.S. in World Religions from Harvard Divinity School. His research interests include Islam and Muslims in the West, media, aesthetics, religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue.
Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, the oldest and most prestigious Chair in his field. He has taught and delivered lectures in many North and Latin American, European, Arab and Iranian universities. He is a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, as well as a founding member of the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University. He has written 20 books, edited 4, and contributed chapters to many more.
Genevie Abdo commentaries and essays on Islam have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Washington Quarterly, The International Herald Tribune, The New Republic, The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor, and Middle East Report. She has been a commentator on Now with Bill Moyers, National Public Radio, the BBC, the Jim Lehrer News Hour, Oprah, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CNN, and other radio and television services.