Italy: Muslims 'victims' of media

* Muhammedan grievance theater on end:

Rome, 12 May(AKI) – An international conference on multicultural relations has heard how Muslims suffer from discrimination and poor media perceptions about Islam.

The US state department’s senior advisor to European and Eurasian Affairs, Farah Pandith, said Muslims suffered from a “victimisation mentality” and the media needed to play a more positive role.

She said there were “rants, and too many opinions, telling us what is wrong.”

She was speaking at a conference on ethnic communication at the Center of American Studies in Rome.

Amanullah Shahed, director of the US-based news site and founder of a web media network called Halalfire Media, told the audience about the demonisation and misinterpretation of Muslims and Islam in American media.

* Gee! Any idea what causes this’demonisation & misinterpretation’ of Islam?
Shahed criticised what he called “disorganisation of Muslims” in the US and in Europe and gave suggestions on how to overcome what he called media ‘traps’. He also said Italy could lead the way.

“Italy is the meeting point for the world’s two largest religions; what happens here will affect other European Muslim communities,” he said.

“This is the land of Oriana Fallaci and Magdi Allam, it is very difficult to be Muslim in Europe,” said Shahed, referring to Italian journalist Fallaci who was critical of Islam and has been accused of Islamophobia and racism.

* But ‘Islamophobia doesn’t exist. And Islam is not a race…

Magdi Allam was baptised by Pope Benedict XVI in a highly-publicised ceremony at the Vatican during Easter festivities in Rome in March.

His conversion provoked an angry response from Muslim clerics and academics in Italy and the Middle East.

* Any idea why these peaceful Muslims always have these angry reactions?

The Jews, the Jews…!

Regarding other ethnic groups such as Jews, Shahed stressed that there was a need for increased cooperation, but said political differences made it difficult to reach out to the community.

“There is a lot to learn, the Jewish media has been in the US for over 100 years, we must learn from the struggles they went through.” said Shahed in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

“Muslim media is at such an embryonic level. We definitely follow their lead.”

Shahed, who has spearheaded the development of Muslim media in the US, says too often the media presents an erroneous view of Islam and there is potential for change.

“There needs to be a lot more cooperation. I am trying to reach out to that media, but due to political issues, its difficult sometimes,” he told AKI.

“In the areas of integration, there is a lot of sympathy. There are a lot of areas where we can work together.”

Sandip Roy, editor of an ethnic news website, New America Media, said multicultural media was moving from a niche market to more mainstream, in the US.

“Ethnic media is suffering a time lag, many of them are reinventing themselves and starting to cover the local news more and more, and that is the case in Italy and other countries,” Roy told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Roy, whose website is based in San Francisco, has a diverse news site dedicated to providing news to various ethnic groups including Hispanic, Arab, Asian and African Americans.

* And so the Muhammedan grievance theater continues…