This Week on teh Interwebs

We have to get our game on


This is part of my installment of old posts from 2008 and early 2009 which I have chosen to republish. Some links may be dead and I will try to fix them as I go.

I am watching this weekly religious show about Islam on France 2. As it is on a national station, it is for a wider audience so we are not talking specialist deen learning here. But people, I have said this a million times, when you go on tv, bring your A game! This is one of the problems we face as an ummah- so many people fall for the “we aren’t going to hang out with the kuffar” thing that they forget to interact with society in ways that can be beneficial to Muslims, and part of that interaction involves learning how people communicate.
So I am watching the show and none of these people knew how to speak on tv. Their message was fine, and it could have been an interesting show (about Mawlid) but they hit the trifecta of “what not to do”:
-um, ben, eh hunh, donc,: filler words and noises! You can’t hear anything if everything is a filler word! I don’t understand any sentence that goes: Uh Mawlid uh is the uh celebration uh of the uh you know uh birthday uh of the uh Prophet uh salli alahou alayhi wa salam uh that Muslims uh use as uh time uh…
-abusive overuse of “salli alahou alayhi wa salam”. I agree, give proper blessings upon the Prophet, salli alahou alayhi wa salam, but I would like to make a rule: if you have said it once already in the sentence, you’re cool. Double cool if you are still in the same clause. Example of what irks me: When the Prophet salli alahou alayhi wa salam went to Madinah, he salli alahou alayhi wa salam did x, y, z.” The second one I argue is not absolutey necessary. You have got to find the line of getting your message across and for the untrained ear, the blessings are just another set of filler words from people who are already saying UM every other word. Part of dawah isn’t about being arrogant about what you think you are saying right, dawah is also making sure you present as clear a message as possible in a manner that makes people want to be Muslim. The goal of dawah is to make people want to be Muslim. Sheesh. Subhan Allah. You can’t do that with hellfire and brimstone and you can’t do that if you don’t go on tv bringing your A game. People are going to look at that show and be like, “these are the best and brightest”?
– no eye contact with the cameras or the speaker. I’m not saying eat that camera with your eyes like you are Carla Bruni, but if you are looking everywhere else but at either the person talking to you or the camera, it’s going to look weird. Y’all know it already bothers me when the brothers don’t look people in the eyes. I know the reasoning behind it, but it makes me feel insulted. I don’t want to stare lovingly into a brother’s eyes, but I like eye contact at the beginning and end of the conversation. Also, I find that if you look in the general direction of someone’s face, it doesn’t come off as weird as looking at the trees across the street or something. I give people a pass on that in real life because I check my intention and give them the benefit of the doubt for theirs, but on tv please at least look in the camera.

Yeah so I am aggravated. There has to be a better way. I know I am not Studs Terkel up in here but still.


Author: Nicole Cunningham

American Expat and convert to Islam living and working between Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland.

9 thoughts on “We have to get our game on

  1. I totally agree with you sis. The prophet (pbuh) himself only sent the best spoken people to other countries to represent islam. After all we expect ambassadors to be well versed, articulate, culturally atunned…Do I make my point?

  2. I’ve been embarressed by this phenomenon myself, in the past. What’s the point of wasting your time, going on the air and all, if you aren’t going to try to enlighten anyone? Better to be quiet than to embarress us as an ummah on national TV.

  3. I’m so with you, Muslims seriously need to work on their PR skills. I used to have this silly fantasy that I became super duper uber rich and I bought a fancy PR company and set them upon the world solely to improve the image of Islam.

    I would still love to do that.

    Unfortunately I am not rich.

  4. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    I kind of agree when Muslims are talking to non-Muslims. What annoys me is Muslims who say these things and slur the words together, as in “Alatala” (Allah ta’ala) or “salla sallam”. I once saw a man who was teaching deen to people and he pronounced the kalima as something like “lie la-laa”. I do hope he didn’t pronounce it that way when he took his shahada.

  5. wa alaikoum salam brother Yusuf!
    My “fave” is when they just say “tala” As in no Allah in front and no ta’, just “tala”. Random 😦

  6. We have CAIR and their PR campaign in the States is ruining everything for the Ummah. They love to whine about how no one should celebrate Christmas, but none of thm even pray it seems. We just need better leadership then a bunch of beardless rich guys that don’t even have Islam in their bones.

    I vote for you to do a PR campaign DP. Since you have efficient trains in Switzerland, you could travel the entire country quickly and people would listen to you 🙂

  7. I so do not want to know how you know that….Dude I miss you….

  8. Lisa,

    I actually like CAIR, they seem pretty good at helping Muslims who have been discriminated against.

    I don’t remember anything about Christmas in their speeches or press releases? Who cares if they are rich or don’t have beards?

    I don’t mean to be argumentative but it just seems like an unwarranted attack on CAIR. They seem to have more articulate speakers and well-written press-releases. The ones I’ve seen anyway. And I have no connection with CAIR, btw.

  9. Hi. Just thought that since your post is about PR (doin’ it right), that you might find this guide to How to Write About Muslims of interest.

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