Thursday, May 8, 2008

Efforts to broaden the image of the Middle East in New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles

My story for this issue focuses on a fellowship that gives young Arab business men and women the chance to work with American companies in New York, Iowa and Washington D.C. for three weeks with the idea to foster respect and understanding between Arab and American societies. During my research I have come across other efforts to reach a similar goal:

1) The first one was written about in today's New York Times. It is a story about young American Muslim performers and filmmakers who are trying to change the image of Islam through postings on and similar Web sites. "Why Islam," a YouTube video, was done by Ali Ardekani, a 33-year-old Muslim living in Los Angeles, and explains his reasons for converting to Islam. "I am a Muslim" is another example:

2) New Jersey's Arab American community, with the support of Governor Corzine, has been trying to establish the Arab-American Heritage Commission for a few years now. If approved, this effort within the state government would disseminate information about the community to state organizations, and public and private schools and corporations. Ahmed Soliman, an opinion writer for New Jersey's The Record, wrote a column about it recently. 

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