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Muslim American Advocacy

September 9, 2021

Brian J. Bowe recently published a new co-authored study about Muslim American advocacy in the Q1 Journal of public relations research. The article, “An appeal to shared values: framing and moral persuasion in the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ press releases,” was co-authored with Derek Moscato of Western Washington University and Mariam Alkazemi of Virginia Commonwealth University. 

This study explores the confluence of moral reasoning and strategic framing in more than 700 press releases issued by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) during the first year of the Donald Trump presidency. While much attention has been paid to the ways in which news media both represent and misrepresent US Muslims through the ways stories are framed, much less work has been devoted to Muslim self-framing in public discourse.

For religious-civic organizations, the moral frames embedded in public relations are a crucial component of their message construction, as they connect spiritually guided values with civic discourses. CAIR used four strategic frames – Islamophobia reactions, legal responses, public sphere engagement, and interfaith solidarity – that presented narratives and counter-narratives of Muslim experiences in the United States, while simultaneously reshaping the civic discourses in which such issues are consumed. In this sense, CAIR has continued a longstanding tradition in the United States in which faith-based communicators situate advocacy and public relations activities at the confluence of public interest, rhetorical dialogue, and moral action. Click here for the article.