About this project

Since 9-11 much has been reported in mainstream U.S. media about Islam, but those reports often focus on so-called “Arab Islamic terrorists”. The stories fail to capture or educate the public about the range of Muslim societies.

To deepen their understanding of Islam, and the diversity of Muslim societies, nine University of Illinois journalism students have been learning about Islam since January 2012, and talking with Muslims from various countries now living and studying in Champaign-Urbana.

Under the guidance of Journalism Professor Nancy Benson the students are taking what they have learned on the road. Reporting from Turkey, a secular Muslim country of 75 million people, the students are exploring a wide variety of issues with the goal of better educating the American public. Join us as we travel Turkey –  long known as the bridge between the West and the Middle East.

In heading this project, Benson will be assisted by former CNN Pakistan Bureau Chief  Ash-Har Quraishi and Susanne Fowler an Editor and contributing reporter to the International Herald Tribune and NYT.com

Quraishi is a University of Illinois journalism graduate, who was responsible for the network’s coverage of Pakistan and the region

Fowler, who commutes frequently between Paris and Istanbul, is a former Editor at the Chicago Tribune. She moved to Turkey when she was awarded a Knight Fellowship to create and teach journalism courses at Bilgi and Bogazici Universities in Istanbul.

Recent Posts

“Provoke Your Own Illumination…”

While walking towards Tunel Square on Istikal, Megan and I came across an art display in a building. There was no flashy sign outside, and the music wasn’t loud enough to forcefully pull us in. But whatever reason, we decided to go inside and take a look. Unknowingly (but not unwillingly), we stumbled upon “Revolution Revelation,” Mercan Dede and Carlito Delceggio’s (or the “Romantic Rebels”) art exhibit

The six floors (yes, six) capture the work Dede’s and Dalceggio’s have done over the past ten years. Among other things, were was a ten-foot Buddha, multiple “houses” that came alive when you put on 3-D glasses and photo gallery on the top floor that services as a chronicle of their process. Different inspirational messages are intwined with the artwork, such as “Provoke Your Own Illumination Set Yourself On Fire.”

What’s interesting to me is the strong tone the art carries. They aren’t criticizing one leader or government style in particular, but I guess you could classify the pieces as “anti-establishment.” But more accurately, as Megan put it later: “It was a message of religious unification and peace.” A message, I think, that every country needs.

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