From the earliest days of mosque building in Detroit, Muslims have played an active role in local media. The opening of the Highland Park mosque in 1921 was reported in both The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, and these newspapers have continued to cover Islam in Detroit over the decades. Meanwhile, Detroit Muslims were developing their own print media, which included some of the best and oldest Muslim newspapers in the U.S.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Detroit mosques began broadcasting Friday services on local radio and cable TV. Today, satellite television enables Muslims to consume media from their homelands and other locations outside the U.S. Global media are flourishing alongside local newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines, and demand for old and new media is growing among Detroit Muslims.
In recent decades, mainstream media in the U.S. have become increasingly hostile to Islam. Muslims are countering negative stereotypes through print and broadcast media designed to educate non-Muslims about Islam. These efforts link contemporary Muslims to the media pioneers of Muslim Detroit, who sought to inform America about their faith and to make a place for themselves alongside other American faith traditions.
EARLY PRINT MEDIA
One of the earliest Muslim publications in Detroit was Al Risalah (The Message), which began as a pamphlet in 1921, published by Imam Hussien Karoub. In 1936 Karoub debuted Islamic Unity Magazine in Arabic and English. In 1940, he followed with Al Hayat (Life), also a weekly paper. Finally, in 1948, Imam Hussien and his son, Mike Karoub, came out with The Arab American Message, which is still produced today by Mike’s son, Carl Karoub. In the 1950s, Imam Vehbi Ismail founded an Albanian language paper, Muslim Life, which became the flagship journal (in English) of the Federation of Islamic Associations of North America.
Detroit’s early mosques also published pamphlets designed to answer questions about Islam, a practice that continues to this day. While immigrant Muslims published dozens of small papers and journals, African American Muslims launched Muhammad Speaks, one of the largest minority weeklies in the United States. First published by the Nation of Islam (NOI) in 1962, Muhammad Speaks reached 800,000 readers nationwide at its peak. In 1975 it became The Bilalian News, and it has since evolved into The Muslim Journal.