Roundtable: Muslim members of the sports media on discrimination, faith, Twitter and more
Given the larger landscape in which they now work, Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated paneled seven Muslims working in the sports media for a roundtable discussion on a number of issues, from their jobs to their faith to their feelings about Twitter.
Karim: I’m very comfortable speaking about it. I am a proud Ismaili Muslim. Our Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, is one of the most respected world leaders having received a number of honorary degrees, awards and prestigious distinctions from countries around the world—including becoming an honorary Canadian back in 2010. Our faith teaches us that Islam is practice of tolerance, peace, intellect and service, among other pillars. The Aga Khan’s mandate is not only to help those in our community, but to also help those in need in the developing world. That’s the goal of AKDN (Aga Khan Development Network) which works in over 30 countries around the globe, by building institutions and providing essential services. It’s that type of philanthropy and humanity that sets the example for the roughly 15 million Ismailis across the world. I could talk about my faith and our principles all day.
Khamisa: Having grown up practicing my faith, I’m very comfortable discussing its nuances on a public platform. I think in today’s day and age, if you’re going to express an opinion on the happenings, you have to be confident enough to have a follow-up conversation because we know that fact often gets ignored initially.
Karim: It’s changed in a uncomfortable way. There are Muslim athletes in all of the major sports around the world that are making an impact. In fact, I bet there are some athletes who people might not know to be Muslim. And, that’s not a bad thing. An athlete’s faith shouldn’t matter whatsoever. However, for Muslims in particular, it’s unavoidable now. The U.S. travel ban has heightened that coverage. It’s become news.
Khamisa: Seeing how now I’ve changed my Twitter bio to openly state that I am a Muslim, I feel I would identify the athlete as one as well but only if the situation warranted it. An athlete isn’t going to make a certain play based on his or her religion and as such, if I were simply reading a highlight pack, or reporting on sports-related content, I don’t feel there’s a need to identify ones religious affiliation, whatever that may be. But if someone is speaking out on something that’s going on the in the world, it would be important to, and almost irresponsible not to make it clear especially if he or she is a Muslim. Context is so important right now and people have strong affiliations to their sports teams, and perhaps identifying their favorite player as Muslim could get someone to think a little more about what’s happening outside of the sports bubble.
Previously on Ismailimail…