Our latest story comes from Rand Alkurd.  She is an Arab American journalist who is of Palestinian descent. She and her family emigrated to the United States in 2000, and resided in Charlotte, NC since then. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Mass Media Communications and Journalism degree in 2013. She currently works as an Associate Producer for NBC News Channel Headquarters in Charlotte, which is the NBC News affiliate feed service. She is the founder of TellThemMyStory.com, a multimedia platform that shares stories often untold in mainstream media, which is expected to launch in early 2017.  She explains why she chose her profession and inspires others to do the same.

Braxton Winston is an activist here in Charlotte, NC.  He and many members of the Charlotte community took to the streets the day of the shooting of Keith Scott and the days and weeks after.  Winston livestreamed his experiences and interactions with fellow protesters and police officers, providing a narrative and perspective not seen in mainstream media, which this podcast will discuss.  Braxton is crowdfunding for his documentary “Charlotte Uprising” via Gofundme.  This documentary will follow the chronological account of the streets of Charlotte following the death of Keith Lamont Scott.  For more information and to donate to make this documentary possible, please click here.

Photo by AJ Naddaff

Manzoor Cheema, founding member of Muslims for Social Justice and the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, tells us in this episode about how we can fight social justice, racism, and Islamophobia, and gives teaches us a lesson on what we must do to be the change we want to see in our society.  This is a must listen for everybody!

Yesterday’s tragedy in Charlotte has caused anger and outrage as reports of a black man, Keith Lamont Scott, was shot and killed by the police.  This raw podcast was recorded to give my thoughts and to let people know how they can help during this time.

Photo credit belongs to Al Jazeera 

Our story today comes from Aziz Ahsan, an Attorney from Hopewell Junction, NY.  He was born in Pakistan and became a US Citizen in 1984.  He is a 9/11 survivor and was a subject of two PBS TV documentaries.  He has also appeared on radio, television, and social media, to discuss various issues/topics.  Mr. Ahsan is a recipient of numerous honors, awards, and patents.  He believes strongly in community engagement and serves, or has served, on a variety of boards or different organizations.

He talks about the moments before and after the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 and what we can do and continue to do as Muslims in America.

Credit for photo used in this blog/podcast is from the the PBS newsmagazine “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly”.

Our story today comes from Rose Hamid.   Many of us in Charlotte know her for her community work, interfaith work, and her activism.  In January, she received national and international attention when her peaceful, graceful, silent protest interrupted Donald Trump’s rally and was escorted out.  The message she had on her shirt said “Salam, I come in peace.”

She has written op-eds and guest columns in the Charlotte Observer about Islam and being Muslim.  She has recently had a piece in the Huffington Post, an open letter to Reverend Franklin Graham, to have a conversation about Islam, to help dispel the misconceptions he has.

Her story today is about her journey to the Republican and Democratic National Convention, promoting her project, Salam, I Come in Peace, with the purpose create opportunities for interactions to help ease some fears about Muslims and Islam.

Our story today comes from Faisal Qazi.  He lives in southern California.  By day he is a Neurologist, and fills in his spare time providing free health care and job training to people in need as well as focusing on community development, through his non-profit organization MiNDs, which is short for Medical network devoted to service.

In his story, he talks about the shooting in San Bernardino, CA that occurred in December 2nd of last year, how he reacted to it, and what he and a few community members did to help the victims and the families of the horrific shooting.

Duston Barto, editor of Muslim American Magazine, co-founder of the Foothills Interfaith Assembly, and a resident of Lincoln County, NC  stepped up to defend religious liberties for everyone after the county Chairman expressed unprovoked hate against Muslims.  Here is his account.

 

This episode speaks about my thoughts 7 days after the tragedy in Orlando.  Many things have occurred in the past 7 days; the ones which I talk about are my experiences at two community vigils and an Interfaith Iftar (fast breaking dinner at sunset).

The recent tragedy in Orlando has been called the worst mass shooting in US history, with 50 dead and over 50 injured.  Within 24 hours, there has been an outpour of support for the victims and their families as well as for the LGBTQ and Muslim communities. This raw podcast was recorded to let people know how they can help the victims of the horrific shooting as well as what you can do in your community to show your support.

On February 10, 2015, the Muslim community lost 3 great gems, Deah Barakat and Yusor and Razan Abu-Salha; it has been now one year since Our Three Winners have passed.  They were three inspiring, charismatic, and altruistic individuals who lived for something beyond themselves. Through their drive to help those in need, they volunteered regularly for several organizations.  Nasir Khatri (to the right of the picture),  a close friend of Deah Barakat, shares his story about the type of person and wonderful friend Deah was.

To learn more about Our Three Winners, go to:  http://www.ourthreewinners.org/

This story is from Hannah Abdul-Awwal , Founder of Shahadah Stories. Shahadah Stories is a stage production, featuring true stories that shed light on every day people and their journey to become Muslim. Her story is about her reaction and emotions after the San Bernardino shooting and the moments before, during, and after a community vigil she attended in memory of the lives lost in San Bernardino, CA.

When thinking about what story to podcast, I had a few to choose from, and the only way I could choose was to ask myself one question:  if there is one story you could tell, which one would it be?  The answer was instant.  This is my 9/11 story and how it started the journey to finding my identity.

So what is Muslim Storytellers about?  Well, storytelling has been trending for a while, to the point where it is now an established medium of communication of any event or story.  Stories shows different, all perspectives of world event, small or big, local or international.

My reason to make this happen was because of the narrative, taking back control of the Muslim narrative.  The public needs to know about our stories.  They are rich, diverse, and true.  These will be stories that we hope Muslims and people of other faiths, relate to.  Something gripping, outside of what the media talks about.

When I write in my journal, I do it to get everything out of my mind into paper, hoping to make sense of it all – there is no method or order. When reading some of my previous entries, I was surprised. The bits and pieces put together made a great story, a true story – Muslim’s story.  At the time, I did not know what to do with this, but it is clear now.  The stories in them need to be told.  Why?  Because at least one person will get it. Why? Because they will feel empowered to tell their story and share perspectives that other people share, and even better, tell a whole new audience something they have not heard, seen, or experienced before – something different than what we hear on TV.

For 15 years, we have been trying to make people understand, but condemnation, or continuously repeating “Islam is/means Peace” is not enough.  We need to start a new record instead of playing the broken one repeatedly.

We have a great opportunity to take back our narrative.  And that is why Muslim Storytellers, or MuST, for short, has started. The idea is simple, get together, write, and narrate our own story and share it with others in a podcast series.  Our podcast channel will have stories from different Muslim writers, regardless of age or writing skill, there is no restriction.

The greatest story ever told is your story