AMAC Brings the Community Together Against Islamophobia and Holds The Tennessean Accountable
Last Sunday, June 21, 2020, The Tennessean ran a full page ad accusing 'Islam' of planning 'to detonate a nuclear device' in Nashville on July 18. Muslim leaders expressed their outrage over the Islamophobic ad. The intentional harm this ad sought to cause could not be undone by simply pulling the ad. This ad not only put a target on the Muslim community in Nashville but also set a dangerous precedent over what the Tennessean is willing to print in the name of free speech.
The American Muslim Advisory Council and Muslim leaders expressed our outrage and demanded that The Tennessean take steps to undo the harm. AMAC brought together community members to condemn Islamophobia and take a stand against hate.
Nearly 700 organizations and community members across Tennessee stood by Muslims to condemn Islamophobia in a full page ad in The Tennessean on Sunday, June 28. We know many more are standing by our side.
That is the power of community. But this is not just about Islamophobia. This is about the hate that is used to divide our community. The hate spewed against all groups whether it's through anti-black racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia and more. We must stand together to send a clear message that we will fight against hate wherever we find it.
The Tennessean editors, reporters, and staff apologized for running the Islamophobic ad to community leaders as well as in newspaper articles and announced the steps they are taking to try to undo the harm caused by the ad. In Sunday's paper, Director of Opinion and Engagement for the USA Today Network in Tennessee, David Plazas, wrote an editorial apologizing for the ad and past articles that were harmful to our community as well as outlining the steps The Tennessean was taking to make amends. A full page apology by Ryan Kedzierski, Vice-President of Advertising for The Tennessean, was also in Sunday's paper. AMAC appreciates their expression of sorrow and their efforts to right a wrong.
The Tennessean has agreed to
1. Place better protocols to keep this from this happening again. An advertising manager was fired for negligence in allowing the ad to run.
2. Require cultural competency training for editors, reporters and staff to better understand the Muslim community and Islamophobia.
3. Diversify their staff, reporters, editors and stakeholders. This is key to having our voices heard.
4. Publish more news articles on Muslims, Islamophobia, political violence, hate, racism, and more through and beyond July 18.
5. Work with Muslim community members on ads ($50K total value) that will challenge Islamophobia and uplift our communities, organizations, and businesses. On July 17, the first digital ad went live.
6. Donate the proceeds from the ad for AMAC's work in fighting Islamophobia in Tennessee.
Below is the full page Community Letter Against Hate and the Apology in Sunday's Tennessean
Here is the link to Sunday's editorial by David Plazas.
For video interviews,
Samar Ali with The Tennessean
Sabina Mohyuddin with The Tennessean
Sabina Mohyuddin and Hana Ali with Justice for Us All
To view editorials by community members on the ad, click
Thank you to everyone who demanded justice and supported our community!