Friday, June 1, 2012

Azeem Ibrahim on Media & Cultural Diplomacy (2011)

Azeem Ibrahim: Katie Couric's Idea of a "Muslim Cosby Show" Might Not Be So Crazy After All

Azeem Ibrahim provides an interesting take below on the role of media as a cultural diplomacy tool.

"Katie Couric's recent comments recommending a "Muslim Cosby show" to combat anti-Muslim bigotry has been decried by some as a naïve, simplistic remedy for the festering sore of Islamophobia in America. However, research and common sense in fact suggest that authentic and accessible American Muslim narratives can emerge as popular, effective tools of cultural diplomacy in helping bridge the divides between Muslim Communities and the U.S.

As an expert on cultural diplomacy and one of founding members of the Aspen Cultural Dialogue Group, a venture launched by the Aspen Institute in 2008, my research indicates the process towards radicalization and extremism is profoundly cultural. It depends less on economic and societal grievances, but instead relies heavily on ideas, beliefs, and an individual's interpretation of reality.

It turns out that the picture that the media paint is a powerful influence on how we, as global citizens, view the world and our neighbors."