When Imam Omar Suleiman was in Kuala Lumpur, we had the honour to chat with him! In our small and short session, we asked him a couple of questions about what he thinks about the importance of Muslim representation in the media and how it impacts kids.
Is Muslim representation in the media today, important?
Yes, of course it’s important for people to see heroes in the media, to see themselves represented in different ways. In sports, in our cultural arts, in our kids’ movies and tv shows. Because it gives them a sense that being Muslim in society, you should wear Islam very proudly and you should never feel like you need to get rid off your Islam, in order to fit into your society.
How can parents use the media to educate their kids without compromising their values?
Alhamdulillah, we have a development of more content that’s coming up. Very unique initiatives that speak to these types of realities and we should make use of these contents. We should not just use this with our own kids and families, but share it with others so they can use it with their kids as well and create communities around that type of content.
What role does the media play in influencing our minds and behaviour?
The media constantly puts certain images in our heads and they promote our ideals and norms in the process. So whether it’s movies that we’re watching or tv shows, all of these things plant subliminal messages to us and it’s important for us to use a medium that has the potential of the media to beneficial use for ourselves and our children.
Do you encourage Muslim companies to create more educational platforms for Muslim kids?
Yes, absolutely. With children, the most important thing with them with their religion and with that representation, they see themselves in these types of cartoons, in these types of work. So we need to create media that is not just representative, but the media that also meets the standard of the quality of the production as well. It cannot be sub par in its content and in its quality.