Why Doctors Make Lousy Spokesman
Reza Aslan recently wrote an interesting opinion column in the Jewish Daily where he talked about the need for Muslims to learn from past experiences to overcome the recent onslaught of Anti-Muslim propagation in the United States spearheaded by people such as Pamela Geller, Robert spencer, and so-called media organizations like fox news. Here a link to the entire piece but I would like to focus on an excerpt that I found the most important :
“But for that to happen, American Muslims must learn a valuable lesson from the American Jewish experience about how to reframe perception of their religious community. Rather than apologetically trying to strip away the veil of exoticism and otherness that had formed about their faith and culture — as so many Muslim leaders (myself included) are so desperate to do when it comes to Islam — American Jews plunged ahead in becoming business and political leaders themselves. Even more significantly, they took the lead in the arts: literature, music, film. Jewish ideas, Jewish mores and Jewish stories became a deeply ingrained part of the American cultural landscape, refashioning the mainstream. The same right-wing religious groups, which a century ago would likely have joined in the anti-Jewish chorus issuing forth from pulpits across America, now speak proudly of the country’s “Judeo-Christian” foundations.”
this , I believe, is probably the single most important point in combating the incorrect perceptions about the diverse muslim communities in the west. the problem is that most within the muslim culture, especially the middle and upper class, do not seem to value the professions of art and culture. this is prevalent all over the muslim world. if you examine the social norm of an average muslim majority country there is a robustly polarizing pecking order regarding career professions . ironically this culture of cultural neglect is carried over with immigrants who settle in the west. so what one has here is a community clearly lacking a PR foundation to disperse during times of tension.
if you now look at who ends up representing the muslim community on different news or tv shows its usually an old bearded muslim man with a heavy foreign accent who ,while he might have lived in his adopted country for a long period of time non the less does not and can not access or relate to the western mind-set and tends to deter audiences rather than engage.