We have loved having the Everyday Muslim Podcast team guest blogging this week! To wrap up the series, the lovely Sabs chats with a few members of the podcast team. Sabs finds out why this passionate bunch do what they do …
Muslims, we’re a pretty diverse bunch. Much like humanity really. Representing 1.6 billion people in the world, 476,000 of us live right here in Australia.
So who are we and what do we represent? Islam, along with Judaism and Christianity stems from the Middle East, and like all monotheistic religions the core belief that unites us is the belief in one God. Despite theological differences, the framework in Islam has commonalities with many religions throughout the world. This includes a duty to help those less fortunate, to connect to God daily, to be cognisant of the preciousness and sanctity of life, and to be kind and compassionate to those around us.
But with all that in mind, Muslims have not had it easy in the last decade and a half. There is no denying our religion has been twisted to propagate terrible crimes, perpetrated by heinous individuals. On the flip side, these acts have also led to the demonization and questioning of a faith that’s practiced by 1.6 billion people in the world, many of whom are just like the cast of the aptly titled podcast ‘Everyday Muslim’. So what is the Everyday Muslim podcast (which I also occasionally co-present) and why should you listen? Let’s hear directly from the presenters about what inspired them, why they decided to do the podcast and what it means to be a Muslim in contemporary Australia.
Founder and Producer
The purpose behind the Everyday Muslim podcast is rather simple – it’s everyday Muslims talking about everyday things. The podcast was established in order to provide a platform for Muslim youth to share their opinions on everything from pop culture to more serious issues like sex, alcohol use and euthanasia. Not surprisingly, the presenters don’t always agree but that is the beauty of the Everyday Muslim podcast and indeed the beauty of the global Muslim community – we are one big, dysfunctional yet loving family whose hearts are united with Islam.
I have been doing community radio for nine years and setting up a podcast seemed like an organic next step. Podcasts really appealed to me as a form of broadcasting as the episodes can be recorded from the comfort of your own home and you have the opportunity to connect with a global, likeminded audience at the click of a button. I also was inspired to create the Everyday Muslim podcast as I saw it as a way to challenge the negative way in which the mainstream media often unfairly characterizes Islam and Muslims. My favourite podcasts these days include Mamamia Out Loud and the Muslim Central podcast.
In listening to the podcast, I hope that our audience (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) will be able to enjoy the light-hearted content and have a laugh with some everyday Muslims. It is also my sincere hope that our listeners will be able to learn more about the Islamic faith and its principles in a way that is engaging and accessible.
Islam is at the core of my identity and for that reason I never shy away from telling people I am Muslim. Some may question why I would do such a thing when current perceptions of Islam and Muslims are at an all-time low. However, in this seemingly dire situation, I see that I have an opportunity to change hearts and minds about Islam by striving to be kind, compassionate and generous as my faith compels me to be. While Muslims are sometimes met with criticism, despite our best efforts, my experience is that a lot of non-Muslims will often reconfigure their perceptions about Islam for the better once they actually speak to a Muslim in their local community and see our values in practice. I see the Everyday Muslim podcast also playing a role in this space, as we are a bunch of Muslims who through our podcast, can share Islam with others but also joke around and chat about everyday things that unite people regardless of their background.
I was inspired to join the Everyday Muslim podcast to help break down barriers and stereotypes and to make people realise how normal Muslims actually are! I have been involved in community radio in the past and enjoy volunteering in exciting initiatives.
I think that the main advantages to using podcasts compared to other broadcasting platforms is that our audience can choose to listen to the episodes when it suits them, and that we have the potential to reach listeners from around the world. My favourite podcasts are SoulFood, Mufti Menk and TEDTalks (audio).
I want our audience to benefit from the podcast by our team providing informative opinions about the topics/issues in the news and to learn about our faith in various ways – such as through our segments real life conundrum and weekly recommendations.
I think that the current perceptions about Islam have created a barrier for people to find out what our faith is really about due to the constant exposure of unfortunate events happening around the world and the ‘apparent’ link between the event and Islam. With all this happening, I don’t feel apprehensive about telling people that I’m Muslim because I know that what is portrayed in the media does not accurately reflect the peaceful religion I follow. I think the best way to promote a better understanding of Islam is through our character in our daily dealings in the immediate world around us.
As a former presenter on a Muslim community radio show, I was inspired to join the Everyday Muslim podcast as a means to engage a wider audience about issues affecting Muslims and to broadcast Muslim voices and perspectives on topics that are often overlooked by western mainstream media outlets.
Having grown up in Australia at a time where Muslims were, and continue to be very much in the spotlight, I always felt frustrated by the largely one-sided reporting on the debates and discussions around Islam, and thought this podcast would assist in counteracting the negative stereotyping of Islam and Muslims. I hope that the audience listening to Everyday Muslim takes away from it that we are everyday people with a diverse range of backgrounds, interests and opinions, just like them! Whether it be discussing controversial topics such as euthanasia or drugs, to more light hearted discussions on our attitudes towards the art of taking a ‘selfie’, the podcast demonstrates that Muslims can discuss anything and everything, and that it’s totally okay to have different viewpoints even when it comes to topics such as religion.
I also hope that the podcast allows people to see the beauty of Islam and the reason I am proud to call myself a Muslim. I am sad to see the name of Islam being tarnished by people who don’t have a clue about it and who are hijacking it for their own personal and political agendas. I know Islam to be a religion of peace and, as showcased by the amazing and influential Muslims we feature on the show, there are many great Muslims in the world who are doing fantastic work in the world and highlighting the true essence of Islam.
Being part of the Everyday Muslim Podcast team sounded like a really exciting initiative. I think it enables the team to have a platform to discuss everyday life and help breakdown stereotypes about Muslims that are constantly talked about in widespread media.
There’s so any things I like about the podcast format including flexibility, both for the presenters and the listeners! You can record any time and listeners can view it in within their own schedules either in one hit or pause can come back to it. I love the fact that it’s so versatile among a range of devices.
In terms of our podcast I like that there are different perspectives in viewing particular topics, whether it be the news of the day or how you would respond to a conundrum! I like to think we could also raise profiles of Muslims who are doing really great and positive things in society.
I am very lucky in the environment that I live in that because I find most people don’t really believe that ALL Muslims are like the stereotypes portrayed in the media. However, the negative stereotypes of Muslims portrayed in the media are a bit unbalanced and tend to attach ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslims’ with negative events that happen in the world. The way to breaking down barriers is to do initiatives similar to everyday Muslim, make people understand that the majority of Muslims live normal everyday lives and only want to do good things in life! It is just those everyday things in life that help, for example a smile or a conversation with a stranger can leave someone feeling more positive about Islam and Muslims.
Now I don’t know about you but that sounds like a group of people worth listening to!