Telling Stories: Feature Interviews
Issue 100 January 2013
When emel invented Muslim lifestyle it did so with a clear vision of explaining how Islam can be a positive force for good within the 21st century. Islam does not exist in abstract however. It is lived and expressed through people.
When emel invented Muslim lifestyle it did so with a clear vision of explaining how Islam can be a positive force for good within the 21st century. Islam does not exist in abstract however. It is lived and expressed through people. The Qur’anic paradigm is to engage with the reader by telling the stories of the prophets, as such we felt that we should tell the stories of people who bring to life, by their choices, the values and beauty of Islam.
Our big interviews have allowed us to feature people whom we may be familiar with, but whose personal stories we may not have heard. Every person who has achieved great things would have had sacrifices to make along the way, challenges to overcome, and words of encouragement and inspiration to help us on our journeys.
The singular most fascinating interview I have personally ever conducted was with Ebrahim Rasool. Currently the South African ambassador to America, he was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela during the apartheid struggle. Erudite, intellectual, balanced and compelling, he offered a clarity of the Muslim experience that was forged in struggle of the South-African oppression. To be able to bring his story to the front cover of emel is one of the blessings of this work.
Other inspirational individuals were perhaps more familiar to our readers. The boxer Muhammad Ali, Yusuf Islam, reporters Rageh Omar and Mishaal Husain are often put forward as the success stories of the Muslim community. Rarely do we get to hear their personal anecdotes and how faith impacts upon their lives. We may see the political life of Salma Yaqoob and Sayeeda Warsi, or the academic pursuits of Professor Tariq Ramadan, but we do not always hear about the striving and the sacrifice that got them there.
When we interviewed James Caan, who at the time was gracing our television screens as part of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den series, people didn’t even realise that he was in fact a Muslim. Our interview was able to detail his substantial charity work in Pakistan, and share with readers his journey from East-End schoolboy to multi-millionaire and television personality.