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Last modified: Thursday, December 17, 2009

IU's 'Muslim Voices' project wins international award for best Twitter account

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 17, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Muslim Voices , a joint production between the Voices and Visions Project at Indiana University and WFIU Public Radio, was recently awarded the international Brass Crescent Award for best Twitter account in the Islamic blogosphere.

Muslim Voices provides resources for individuals who wish to tackle the complexities of Islam and create an interfaith dialogue within their communities.

The Brass Crescent Awards began in 2004 to help promote the best writing Muslim writing online. The category of "best tweeter" is new for 2009 and awards the organization that is a "must-follow" on Twitter that provides "the best retweets, links and witticism in 140 characters."

Muslim Voices Managing Editor Megan Meyer believes that the almost real-time dialogue that unfolds on Twitter is important in mediating public opinion.

"After the shootings at Fort Hood, many Muslim leaders immediately got online to express their grief for the victims' families," Meyer said. "I think that did a lot to prevent a huge anti-Islam backlash in the U.S. It could have been a diplomatic disaster."

Hilary Kahn is associate director for the Center for the Study of Global Change, which oversees the Voices and Visions project at IU. "The Twitter and Facebook pages represent the fulfillment of many of the goals of the Voices and Visions Project, as they have become an active forum for a public conversation that spans world regions, cultures and perspectives, and where all participants make a equally valid contribution," Kahn said.

Exploring new ways to build community and encourage dialogue is an important part of the Muslim Voices project according to Adam Schweigert, online director.

"We want to take these discussions to where people are," Schweigert said. "A lot of discussion happens on Facebook, Twitter and other places where people gather online. Both Muslims and non-Muslims can benefit from these conversations and I'm thrilled to have received this recognition for the work we're doing."

Additionally, Muslim Voices was ranked the No. 4 Twitter account for Muslims by elan Magazine: The Guide To Global Muslim Culture.

Muslim Voices has a recently relaunched Web site, available at http://muslimvoices.org, that features two audio podcasts, a video series produced by WTIU-Public Television, blog, publications from Indiana University Press and curated news and information about all aspects of Islam.

Online users can also find Muslim Voices on Twitter (http://twitter.com/muslimvoices) and Facebook (http://facebook.com/muslimvoices) and subscribe to audio and video podcasts in iTunes.

About Voices and Visions

Voices and Visions involves events, workshops, art exhibits, publications, videocasts and two podcast series that promotes understanding and dialogue about Islam and Muslims in various World contexts.

Voices and Visions aims to increase intercultural understanding, inform and promote dialogue, replace misinformation and promote accessible scholarship.

Voices and Visions is funded by the Social Science Research Council and is lead by the Study of Global Change at Indiana University. Other participating units include CIBER, African Studies Program, East Asian Studies, Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, Russian and Eastern European Institute, West European Studies, School of Journalism, Indiana University Press, Middle Eastern Islamic Studies Program, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington Area Arts Council, Bloomington Islamic Center, and Indiana Public Media (WFIU-Radio and WTIU-Television).

About Indiana Public Media

Indiana Public Media is a division of WFIU Public Radio (NPR) and WTIU Public Television (PBS), broadcasting from Indiana University, serving central and southern Indiana. Indiana Public Media productions include the Kinsey Confidential Sexual Health Podcast and Earth Eats -- Real Food Green Living podcast in addition to A Moment of Science Video, Muslim Voices and Crash Course in Islam. For more information, see http://wfiu.org/index.php.