Muslim Voices — Hoosier
0:00:06:>>MANAF BASHIR: Welcome to Muslim voices. I'm your host Manaf Bashir. Indiana's Muslim community is diverse with Muslims coming from all over the world - including South Asia, parts of Africa and right here in Indiana. A publication put out by the Muslim Alliance of Indiana aims to introduce Hoosier Muslims to that diversity, as well as educate them about opportunities open to them in the state. It also tries to educate those outside the faith about Islam as Rosemary Pennington reports.
0:00:42:>>ROSEMARY PENNINGTON : If you open a copy of the Muslim Hoosier, you'll find a wide array of articles covering everything from the opening of a new halal butchery to the trials and tribulations of being a Muslim and politician in Indiana. It's a magazine that tries to do two things. The first is simply to help Muslims living in Indiana better understand their own community. The second is to educate those outside the community about Islam and Muslim life. The line between the two is one editor Shariq Siddiqui walks carefully.
0:01:14:>>SHARIQ SIDDIQUI: I think we're trying to create content that would be interesting to both. I think to know one of the reasons why we sort of highlighted, for example, should Jihan who ran for County Council, or the reason why we wrote about the halal butchery, or the new restaurant and so on was to let people know within the Muslim community that these things are happening. But at the same time, this is a way of humanizing who Muslims are in Indiana.
0:01:41:>>ROSEMARY PENNINGTON : Siddiqui is also the executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, which publishes the Muslim Hoosier. It began in 2003 as Communicame and relaunched in 2007 under the current title. The magazine is one of a number published across the country that caters to Muslims. Among the most notable are the glossies Islamica and Islamic Horizons. Some critics, though, say publications like these ghettoized Muslims but Siddiqui doesn't see it that way.
0:02:10:>>SHARIQ SIDDIQUI: Many of those magazines are able to talk about religious issues in a way that, you know, maybe myself or my wife are not as educated to deal with. So I think those are important now, you know, I don't necessarily agree with all the articles that come out and that's why parental involvement is very important for these. But I don't think they ghettoize. I think what they're doing is they're trying to keep alive a cultural religious identity and that's important. Just because we're Americans doesn't mean that we want to lose out on who we are. I think we can be Americans, we can be Muslims, we can be Hoosiers and, you know, and there's a balance there that other communities have been able to achieve and we need to work towards as well.
0:02:51:>>ROSEMARY PENNINGTON : The Muslim Hoosier is working to find a balance in the audience it reaches. Siddiqui says, while being a kind of hybrid publication does allow the Muslim Alliance of Indiana to accomplish multiple goals, it also makes figuring out just who to send the magazine to a difficult task.
0:03:08:>>SHARIQ SIDDIQUI: The question has been, you know, how do you select who it goes to? Do You randomly just select 3,000 names off a list. And we're - those are some of the things that we've been brainstorming. We started out with elected officials, we then moved on to media, we've put all the newspapers and so on. We then moved on to all the libraries - public libraries in the state. Now, there's conversations that we're having about adding, you know, all the schools - public schools in the state onto that list so that they, you know, their educators would have that opportunity. But I think it's - I think you're correct that we need to find, you know, people out there that aren't normally predisposed. I just think we have to have a systematic way of identifying them.
0:03:53:>>ROSEMARY PENNINGTON : Over the last several years the Muslim Hoosier circulation has jumped from about 10,000 copies to 20,000. And it's not only serving as an outlet for the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, it's also proving to be a fairly decent tool for businesses hoping to attract Muslim customers. Even the FBI, Siddiqui says, has run ads in the magazine looking to recruit Muslims to work in the agency. I'm Rosemary Pennington.
0:04:23:>>MANAF BASHIR: You can find copies of the Muslim Hoosier magazine, as well as information about the Muslim Alliance of Indiana at the group's website - MuslimAllianceIN.com This has been Muslim Voices, a production of voices and visions in partnership with WFIU public media from Indiana University. Support from Muslim Voices comes from the Social Science Research Council. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or join the discussion on our website. Find us online at MuslimVoices.org.