07/14/2016 AIFD calls upon mainstream media leadership to finally diversify American Muslim voices
Dear Friends of AIFD,
Our supporters often ask us an important question: Why is it that we at AIFD aren’t regular guests on what many consider to be “mainstream media” (MSM) networks like ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN? Further, why aren’t we published regularly in venues like the Washington Post and New York Times?
While we have been featured on these networks before, invitations to appear have been few and far between – and certainly much rarer than invitations to appear on more conservative media outlets.
We hope this comes as no surprise – but the lack of attention from the MSM is certainly not due to any lack of effort or outreach on our part. Further, we refuse to accept that the lack of representation of our voices in these venues is due to the politics of our leadership, or the perception of our leadership as partisan. Our leadership at AIFD is bipartisan, and our core values themselves are non-partisan. The Muslim Reform Movement, started by leaders of AIFD and other Muslim-led groups across North America and the UK, is politically diverse, as well – and, if anything, has more members who are politically left-of-center than not.
The unfortunate truth is this: Anyone who follows issues related to Muslims, Islam, Islamism and radicalization cannot deny the presence of Islamist groups, their representatives and apologists in all “mainstream” media venues. Any honest observer would also notice the obvious censorship of anti-Islamist voices. You, our supporters, could not begin to imagine the amount of time and energy we have spent reaching out to MSM leaders, producers, writers, and reporters. We have not been asking them to endorse us. Rather, we have simply been asking for a seat at the table, even if it is to debate those Muslims they regularly invite as guests. At every turn, we have given MSM the benefit of the doubt. We can no longer do that.
We now are taking these complaints to the next level. We are demanding an explanation from the very top of these organizations as to why there remains a boycott of diverse Muslim voices from media institutions that claim to value and promote diversity.
Earlier this week, AIFD FedExed letters to the heads of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post informing them of our disappointment in their apparent bias and their role in allowing Islamists to dominate, not just the narrative on Islam and Muslims, but also to dominate our faith communities. We are now awaiting their responses.
A copy of the letters we sent is provided below. We hope we receive positive responses, which would allow us at least to begin the process of your seeing and reading more from reform-minded Muslims. It is only through additional exposure that we can show America that we are not one homogenous, grievance- mongering community of Islamists like the MSM would have you believe.
So, we ask, please, the next time someone criticizes our work as partisan or skewed, show them this. And share with them the fact that these letters come after over a decade of work to challenge Islamist voices in the media and that the censorship of our voices is not due to any lack of effort or interest from anti-Islamist Muslims.
Please see the letters attached below mailed overnight on July 11, 2016:
- CBS News: Leslie Moonves, CEO CBS Corporation
- NBC News: Mr. Stephen Burke, President
- ABC News: Mr. James Goldston, President
- CNN: Mr. Jeff Zucker, President
- The Washington Post: Mr. Martin Baron, Editor-in-chief
- The New York Times: Mr Dean P. Baquet, Executive Editor