In a kind of techno-jiujitsu, younger American Muslims have started using the same social media as ISIS terrorists -- in their case, as a counter-weapon.
This is the kind of enterprise reporting at which NPR often excels. Alas, that is not the case with the shallow, incomplete report that ran this week on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Nearly all the trendy elements are there. You’ve got a little-reported interface of two socially hot topics, religion and terrorism. You have the coveted demographic of American millennials. And you’ve got Facebook and other forms of new media -- more familiar each year, but still radiating a cachet.
All the story lacks is what these young anti-terrorism Muslims are actually doing, when they do what they do. Isn't that rather basic information to include in a story of this kind?
The starting point -- the old saw that all Muslims get blamed for the actions of a tiny few -- threatens at first to sink the story into mediocrity:
Tired of being called a terrorist, Ranny Badreddine, a youth from Evansville, Ind., joined other young teens to create World Changers, an initiative that uses the cyberspace to combat misconceptions about Islam.
"Kids have to be worried about...going outside and being scared that someone is going to beat them up because they're Muslim," Badreddine says. "As a 13-year-old kid, I don't want to live my life being scared of Americans trying to hurt me because of what I am and my religion."
Many younger American Muslims say their parents and grandparents have long been reluctant to speak out and risk drawing attention to themselves. But Badreddine and his peers want to take a different approach. They want to use technology to push back against what they see as false portrayals of Islam.
The scapegoating complaint is hardly news anymore.