New voices are invading the airwaves in Southern California. The voices of local Muslim activists, community leaders, scholars and public speakers have come together for One Legacy Radio, the first English-speaking Islamic radio station in the U.S. It’s leaving listeners with high expectations as it aims to provide “thought-provoking material which inspires spiritual reflection and ultimately closeness to Allah.”
The station features many programs to “enrich the Islamic spiritual experience.” Two such programs expected to deliver on these promises are Boiling Point and Family Connections.
Boiling Point is hosted by Mohamad Ahmad and Amir Mertaban, two young men who are most noted for their activism within Southern California’s Muslim youth population. The show discusses issues that are taboo in Islam and among Muslims. The varied topics, ranging from hijabis to Hamas, are infused with irreverent humor, making sure that the show fulfills its guarantee that listeners will either “love it or hate it.”
Noha Alshugairi and Munira Lekovic-Ezzeldine are the hosts of Family Connection. Its mission to “build better families” necessitates the discussion of various issues such as divorce, fatherhood, and proper parenting. Alshugairi, a marriage and family therapist, and Lekovic-Ezzeldine, author of Before the Wedding: 150 Questions for Muslims to Ask Before Getting Married, are well-qualified to speak on these issues, but they often also engage with doctors, psychologists, scholars, community activists and other guests to provide a well-rounded discussion of the topics.
While the title may suggest sexist undertones, Family Connection is not a show that preaches “traditional women’s roles.” Although the focus is obviously on family, emphasis is also placed on males as father figures. In fact, it is mentioned more than once on the show that the job of child-rearing is not a responsibility that should be placed entirely on a mother. In this sense, the show is not aimed at women or women’s issues–rather, it is aimed at families and issues that both men and women often deal with.
On Family Connection, the topic of divorce is approached with an open mind and seen as a legitimate option. Moreover, it is presented as the best option sometimes. The women tackle hard-hitting issues of women’s rights and domestic violence in Muslim marriages. They speak about issues which are typically taboo, such as child counseling, sexual appetite, marriage counseling, and divorce initiated by the wife.
Family Connection is a show that does a great service for Muslim women. Its topics veer from the typical discourse surrounding Muslim women. Instead, it makes a positive step towards conversations that address issues paramount to Muslim women’s empowerment. Family Connection humanizes Muslim women who are mothers and wives, giving them value outside of these roles, which makes the subjects of divorce and domestic violence necessary instead of unmentionable.