Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Arab-Muslim American Journalism adds new voice to mainstream American media

Press Release

Contact: Ahmed Soliman
Oct. 24, 2007 732-715-9775

New Voice Emerges in American Media
Arab & Muslim-American Journalists Offer Essential Perspective

(Maple Shade, NJ, Oct. 21st, 2007) — Arab and Muslim-American journalist Ahmed Soliman believes his new book, “Born in the USA: Reflections of an Arab and Muslim-American Journalist,” will give mainstream Americans a fresh perspective into the Islamic and Arab Worlds that is unique and rare.

Soliman argues that despite the events of Sept. 11th, 2001, Americans still do not understand the Arab and Muslim Worlds. By sharing his many interviews with Arab and Muslim leaders in the post-Sept. 11th World he believes he can not only change that but also improve the American journalism profession.

“There have been many post 9/11 books written with the Muslim-American perspective and some written by journalists who have covered such stories as the war on terror, domestic surveillance and the conflict between Israel and Palestinians,” explains Soliman who has been a journalist for more than seven years.

“But I think I bring a special knowledge as a professional journalist who has covered international issues for the past two years and who is both Arab and Muslim. I believe I bring a fresh and more objective perspective to the international discussion on these and other important issues. It’s a freshness that contrasts the sometimes cynical views often reflected in the writings of longtime, veteran journalists, many of whom are neither Arab nor Muslim and who have witnessed the often tragic events of the Middle East repeat themselves over and over again.”

The book features many voices and opinions not often heard, based on firsthand interviews Soliman conducted as a reporter for broadcast and print Arab, Muslim and mainstream American newspapers.

“It's not often that Americans really get to hear the perspective of the Pakistani foreign minister on such issues as the war on terror, and whether or not the US government is correct in saying that they're not doing enough. Understanding the people on the other side of the ocean is crucial to resolving our contemporary challenges,” he says.

And, Soliman believes the book might help initiate “a broader discussion about the role of our own American media, whether that is opening some eyes among editors and news directors about the importance of integrating more diverse voices in their newsrooms, specifically regarding Arab American journalists, or also aspiring Arab American journalists who could benefit from the experiences I share in the book.”

Like many Arab and Muslim Americans, Soliman had planned on entering a professional career in medicine or engineering. But it was when he wrote an essay that received immediate notice and was recognized with a prestigious journalism award that he decided to pursue journalism, instead.

“Prior to the 9/11 attack, the vast majority of Muslim-Americans entered the engineering and medical fields, the result of the influence they received from their immigrant parents,” explains Soliman, who worked for two years as senior anchor and producer for the nationally televised Daily World news on Bridges TV.

“The result was that Muslim-Americans, now numbering over 7 million according to the Zogby poll, never had much influence on public opinion or policy. Now, after the 9/11 attack, the few of us who did enter the journalism field are trying to keep the dialogue and coverage in the media more balanced and insightful.”

Soliman’s story is a poignant, eye-opening portrayal of the challenges facing media coverage of the Arab and Muslims, and on international issues including the war on terror, and racism.

“No reasonably minded person would disagree with anything [Soliman] has said in this book,” said Ambassador Richard Parker, former U.S. representative in the Middle East.

Prior to working at Bridges TV, Soliman produced and directed a post-911 documentary for a PBS affiliate titled Born in the USA: Muslim Americans. The film followed a Muslim American doctor and teacher in the months following the September 11th Attack, and received positive reviews and press from WCBS – TV in New York, The Star Ledger Newspaper in New Jersey, and The Home News Tribune. Soliman started his career as the Managing Editor of the Gazette-Leader, a weekly newspaper for the towns of Elizabeth and Hillside in New Jersey, where he covered crime, education, and government related stories. He also interned for WNBC-TV in New York.

“It’s not always easy being an Arab and Muslim-American journalist. A lot of people in our profession throw obstacles in our way,” Soliman argues.

“But I believe that when your argument is for more objective and balanced coverage, by way of including more diverse voices in the perspectives offered in the media, eventually people will realize that it can only be a good thing. Writing Born in the USA was just the next domino in the set that will be falling on this issue.”

Soliman is a columnist with the Arab Writers Syndicate ( and a member of the Steering Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists-Arab American Journalists group. He is also a member of the Arab professional journalism associations NAAJA ( and AMEJA.

The book is available from most major bookstores, and online from Barnes & Noble and It is published by iUniverse Inc., in New York.