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Telling stories: Wider Society

Telling stories: Wider Society

Issue 100 January 2013

Our interview with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury ended up on the front cover of The Sunday Times, the front page of Reuters, the front page of Yahoo, the BBC, and hundreds and hundreds of global media outlets.

 

Our interview with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury ended up on the front cover of The Sunday Times, the front page of Reuters, the front page of Yahoo, the BBC, and hundreds and hundreds of global media outlets. Unfortunately, these global media outlets missed the point of the interview, twisting one small section into a scandalous and sensationalist story. If ever there was an example that highlighted to us the need for a fair, honest, and sincere media, which detailed the Muslim voice and our relationship with the wider world, then the interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury was just that example. A highly intellectual and nuanced man, he spoke honestly, frankly and sincerely, detailing the potential for the relationship between faiths. Yet other media were interested only in sensationalising his wisdom. 

The extraordinary interviews that emel has achieved over the years are testament to a desire for openness, outreach and engagement. Our interviews have been eclectic. From establishment figures such as Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and David Cameron, to more maverick figures, such as anti-war protester Brian Haw and former MI5 spy, Annie Machon. Such interviews have often been an engaging insight into the similarities of the human experience, whilst at the same time, affording the opportunity to delve into topics with friends and supporters, as well as political figures, whose decisions one might not always agree with. 

The interview with Michael Mansfield QC, detailed his extraordinary work defending first the Irish, and now Muslims accused of terrorism offences. His passion for justice is an exemplar of the Qur’anic ideal: “Be just, for the justice is the closest thing to God consciousness” (5:8), “…Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if it be against yourselves…” (4:135) 

Comedians such as Rory Bremner, Mark Steel and Mark Thomas, through wit and satire, often bring into sharp relief the lunacy of many issues that Muslims face in contemporary life. Their method of using comedy to focus on injustices and unfairness, can be potentially be appreciated by a wider audience than politicians and activists can reach. Likewise, writers and poets such as Benjamin Zephaniah have detailed the Muslim experience and brought it to the forefront of their work. 

The tragic story of Tom Hurndall, who lost his life in the Occupied Territories in Palestine, killed by an Israeli sniper, was touchingly and emotionally explained by his mother, Jocelyn Hurndall. Interviewing Jocelyn, we saw first-hand the grief and trauma that families have experienced whose offspring have sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of justice in causes which are often referred to as “Muslim issues”. 

 

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