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Living Islam in America

On September 10th, 2001 the idea of creating a television program about Islam and Muslims for network broadcast across America would have been highly improbable. Twenty-four hours later, not only was that idea plausible, it’s become a matter of national urgency.

Living Islam In America, our current television series, is a thirty-minute, current affairs, magazine formatted program. The scope and variety of topics presented are reflective of our society and the events that are taking place in it as well as how global events impact us. Our primary target audience is the North American viewing audience. The main goal of this program is to educate the general population about Islam and the burgeoning Muslim communities throughout America. This focus will help serve to create an environment of understanding, dialogue and interfaith cooperation.

Given the increasing xenophobic atmosphere here on our domestic front and the mounting tensions abroad in the Middle East and other parts of the Islamic world, we realize the positive impact a television series about Muslims living out their faith across America, being produced from our nation’s capital, could have on public opinion – national as well as global.

Living Islam in America

Download theLIVING ISLAM IN AMERICA Channel Guide

Living Islam in America is a 30-minute, current affairs, magazine formatted program. There are three segments: One 12-15minute, in-studio interview/round-table discussion segment, book-ended by two 3-5-minute field segments.

Segments:
“In Focus” segment (in-studio discussion)
2- Field segments

“In Focus” addresses current issues and trends that are a part of the national and global conversation and that resonate with the American Muslim community. While we do not want to dwell on the negative issues nor justify each ignorance that is cast upon Islam or Muslims, we do realize that we have an obligation to correct the misunderstandings and negative press that exists.

Some of the most well known and respected authorities in the fields of academia, media, science, religion and politics are invited to engage in intelligent, robust, balanced and thoughtful discussions.

Field-Produced Segments - Every episode of Living Islam in America includes at least 1-2 field-produced segments. The range of diversity and cultures that thrive under the banner of Islam is amazing! We want to show our viewers that while all Muslims worldwide are united by their faith and the uniform prayer, it is the command for moderation and tolerance that has allowed so many ethnicities and nations to paint the canvas of Islam with the best of their cultures.

Please check back for specific release dates and channels.

Host of “Living Islam In America”

Imam Johari Abdul-MalikImam Johari Abdul-Malik is the former Muslim Chaplain at Howard University (HU) and was the first Muslim officially installed as a chaplain in higher education at HU and is the Head of the National Association of Muslim Chaplains in Higher Education. The imam also, serves as the chair of government relations for the Muslim Alliance in North America. He is the director of community outreach for the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center and President of the Muslim Society of Washington, Inc.  For more information, please visit:   www.imamjohari.com

View Imam Johari's interview on CNN's Larry King Live! Click here to watch
View Imam Johari on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Click here to watch

Why would people of other faith traditions want to watch an Islamic TV program?

"The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country - I know, because I am one of them." (President Barack Obama, April 6, 2009, to the Turkish Grand National Assembly)

According to a report published by MartketResearch.com in August 2004 entitled “The U.S. Market for Religious Publishing and Products”:

“Religion is just so much a part of the cultural conversation these days, because of global terrorism and radical Islam.  People want to understand those things.  They’re looking to delve more deeply into the religious traditions.” (Lynn Garrett, religion editor at Publisher’s Weekly, reprinted in the Christian Science Monitor, April 9, 2004)

“Americans don’t mind embracing contradictions; it’s hyper-individualism.  They’re cutting and pasting religious views from a variety of different sources – television, movies and conversations with friends.  Rather than simply embrace one particular viewpoint, and then trying to follow all the specific precepts or teachings of that particular viewpoint, what Americans are saying is, ‘Listen, I can probably put together a philosophy of life for myself that is just as accurate, just as helpful as any particular faith might provide.’”  (David Kinnaman, VP of Barna Research Group, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Nov. 22, 2003)

Some Historical Perspective

In the year 610 C.E., when he was forty years old, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) first received the command from God to call humankind back to the practice of monotheism - back to the path of Prophet Abraham (peace and blessings be upon him).  He would receive divine inspiration from God over the course of twenty-two years, right up until his death in 632 C.E. 

Pre-Islamic Arabia had strayed far from monotheism and was heavily engaged in paganistic practices.  Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) first and foremost, was messenger of God sent to remind mankind of their duty to God and their responsibility to lead a moral and upright life on earth. 

The powerful Meccan clans were loathe to support their own son Muhammad and his fledgling group of Muslims.  The early Muslims came under a barrage of relentless and ultimately life-threatening pressure.Fortunately, a group of Arabs from an agrarian area of Arabia known as Yathrib (and later called Medina) heard about Muhammad’s group and particularly, his stellar reputation for being honest. After a series of negotiations, they invited the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and the other Muslims of Mecca to migrate to Yathrib in 622 C.E. The move to Yathrib/Medina proved to be a welcome reprieve which allowed the Muslims the freedom to organize communities and lay the foundation for the practice of their faith - Islam.

Although being in Medina allowed the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Muslims room to breathe, they were under constant threat of annihilation.  After many years and a number of strategic battle campaigns, in the name of self-preservation, the small group of 70 or so Muslims who first migrated to Medina, returned triumphantly, 10,000 strong to Mecca in the year 630 C.E.

Not only was the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) the last messenger of God, he was also a peace maker and an extremely astute statesman.  The Muslims alone could not fully take credit for their smooth transition into Medina or the Prophet’s narrow escape from Mecca, nor could they have singularly claimed their victorious return to Mecca. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had a number of allies from amongst the pagan Arabs and the Arab Jews, who assisted, and in some cases sacrificed their lives to help the growing Muslim community.

Within the framework of the greater development of society and in the hope of advancement, people tend to look for mutual benefit (“Maslahah” is the Islamic term).  The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was invited to Medina because the citizens of that town identified a benefit in his wisdom and guidance, and the Prophet accepted their invitation because he saw a benefit to himself and the Muslims as well.

Our program “Living Islam in America” does not seek proselytize; our aim is to extend the olive branch and invite viewers to open and honest dialogues….and if along the way we are able to open up someone’s view point about Islam and Muslims, the all the better!

Like the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) we also have allies here in America, and it is to them that we appeal to the most, to join and support us in the dialogues.

Living Islam in America presents Islam in a non-threatening and non-proselytizing manner.   Every episode contains three unifying criteria:

  1. A universal core message
  2. Relay our message employing a universal language containing spiritual underpinnings
  3. Exhibit an expression of age, gender and cultural diversity

We will feature heart-warming and vivid stories of personal struggle and triumph that are an inspiration to humanity, not just a Muslim viewing audience.  We will tackle current affairs and global issues that are a part of the national conversation with balanced and thoughtful skill, and we will seek to entertain our viewers through a mélange of culturally intriguing experiences. 

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