The World’s First Media Style Guide On Islam Launches

The Global Media Style Guide on Islam (MSG-I) launched on April 4 to help the world's media present Islam accurately, authentically and with accountability.

Online PR News – 04-April-2022 – London, UK – The Media Style Guide (MSG) on April 4 launched its major new initiative, the Global Media Style Guide on Islam (MSG-I), designed to help the world's media, governments and academia present Islam and Muslims accurately, authentically and with accountability.

The Media Style Guide has specifically launched MSG-I as its first initiative, as it aims to work with some of the world’s top media style guides such as the Reuters Handbook and the Associated Press Stylebook to help ensure their style guide entries on Islam and Muslims are representative, particularly after the likes of statements by the US President Donald J. Trump on March 9, 2016, that “I think Islam hates us.”

“Clear, accurate, and verified communication is one of the hallmarks of the Islamic tradition,” said Sheikh Tarek Elgawhary, an American scholar of Islam, with a PhD from Princeton University in the US and educated at the premier Sunni seat of learning, Al-Azhar, in Egypt, regarding MSG-I’s launch.

“I applaud the efforts of the Global Media Style Guide on Islam for providing this essential service on behalf of the global Muslim community and in reviving our tradition of verification.“

Shaykh Tarek Elgawhary, who is based in Washington D.C, is the founder of the ‘Making Sense of Islam’ platform and the editor of the annual ‘Muslim 500: The World's Most Influential 500 Muslims’ as published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan.

As part of MSG-I, all relevant terms about Islam and Muslim from the style guides of Reuters and Associated Press have been analysed, and either modified with enhancements and or corrected as needed, with new definitions proposed so that these style guides, as used by the world's media and over 2 billion people daily, are above all accurate and authentic to what Muslims believe represents them.

MSG-I has not only been launched to coincide with the start of the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan on April 2 but critically marks the world's first major initiative to commemorate 2022 as the 1400th anniversary of the start of the Islamic civilisation as a world event, which began in 622 CE in the Arabian Peninsula, MSG said.

“MSG-I is an initiative to address and change some of the language used about the faith of Islam, the two billion Muslims and their portrayal which can not only be deeply offensive but more so, wholly erroneous,” said Rana Ismail and Idris Kamal, MSG-I co-directors, said in a joint statement.

“We aim for negative loaded terms to be corrected, neutral language adopted for objective journalism, and for the more widespread use of authentic terms; such as those of the five pillars of Islam, as used daily by millions of Muslims.”

MSG-I is led by a global team, with regional co-directors Rana Ismail in Egypt for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), who has previously launched the milestone Islamic tourism app Ziyara GPS, and Idris Kamal in Singapore for Asia-Pacific, who has extensive global outreach effort in interfaith and peace initiatives.

MSG-I can be accessed on its dedicated website, http://Islam.MediaStyle.Guide, with each definition accessible as its own entry or in full as a download, contains 92 entries, 73 of which are jointly from Reuters and Associated Press, with 19 new suggested entries, all across 5 categories related to Islam as 1) a religion; 2) geographical locations and places; 3) Muslim dress; 4) politics and geopolitics and 5) militants, violence and terrorism.

It also contains a guide for the general public as to how to courteously approach the world’s media, government officials and academics with the correct terminology of Islam and Muslims, by sharing the relevant definition via a simple website link, thereby bringing accountability to the fore.

“This means that not only do the journalists and media not only have a definitive resource to refer to for the correct terminology when writing any stories about Islam and Muslims, but also anyone anywhere in the world can share a link to a more accurate term which should been used, when needed," said Rana Ismail and Idris Kamal in a joint statement.

“So, for example, negative offensive terms like Jihadi or Islamist terrorist really have no place in headlines of media stories as currently used by many of the world's media, governments and academia, and therefore should be replaced by a more accurate and authentic term such as Irhabi, the Arabic word for terrorist,” said Aisha Imam, MSG-I Initiative coordinator.

“This means the next time the word Jihadi is used in a story by any media outlet, anyone can share the link on MSG-I to the term Irhabi, asking them to kindly use that term instead, and the more prevalent the use, the more accountable the usage of language about Islam and Muslims will become.”

MSG-I is designed as a collaborative, consultative and iterative process to ensure the style guide entries are regularly updated, and welcomes contributions to their enhancement and expansion.

“The style guide process is actually a continuation of a historical rapprochement between Muslims and the English-speaking media and officialdom on contemporary terminology, and has historically been successful with misnomer or inaccurate terms like Mohammedans and Moslems replaced today by Muslims,” said Aisha Imam, based in London, UK, who coordinates MSG-I’s outreach.

“However, this is a long-term iterative process where we would like to see the positive cultural adoption of authentic terms like the Sunnah, referring to following the Way of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in terms of emulating the model or paragon, entering the global mainstream media."

“Such terms, with the evolution of English, may even have a positive cultural use such as that of the Tao of Buddhism is as now also defined as ‘the art or skill of doing something in harmony with the essential nature of the thing’ or the Zen of Buddhism now is also defined as a ‘state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.’”

The Media Style Guide (MSG), launched with the motto, ‘Defining the World’s Words’, aims at producing style guide initiatives which shape the use of language by the media and journalists in the short term; by government and public policymakers in the medium term; and in education and academia in the long-term, defining societies and civilisations. MSG-I was, therefore, chosen specifically as the first to launch initiative to be launched due to the lack of accurate representation and understanding about Islam, even at the level of head of state level.

“The Prophet of Islam was constantly concerned with how people would speak about his community and faith,” said Shaikh Dr. Tarek Elgawahry about significance of an initiative like MSG-I.

“He made it a point to be clear in his communication and those around him equally passed on his teachings clearly lest there be any confusion about what Islam actually teaches.”

MSG-I has been launched in the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan where Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, and also to mark 2022 as being 1,400 years in the Common Era since the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, made his epic migration from his home city, Makkah, to launch the first Islamic state in the city of Madinah on 622 CE, marking the start of the Islamic calendar and the governance and civilisation of Islam itself.

MSG-I is available for access on its dedicated website and also for download, welcomes testimonials, reviews and feedback and requests for media interviews.

About MSG-I
The Global Media Style Guide on Islam (MSG-I) aims to be the first and definitive resource for the world’s global media to use in their portrayal of Islam and Muslims to ensure greater accuracy, authenticity and accountability. MSG-I can be accessed on http://Islam.MediaStyle.Guide.

About MSG
The Media Style Guide (MSG), launched under the motto ‘Defining the World’s Words’, aims to define the main words that people use all over the world. This is to ensure greater accuracy, authenticity and accountability in the language used by the media and journalists in the short term; by government and public policymakers in the medium term; and in education and academia in the long-term, to help enhance societies and civilisations. MSG-I can be accessed on http://MediaStyle.Guide.