Opinion

Michel: Stories with resonance

Visualize community life through new eyes

Sometimes the best way to visualize the life of a community is to glimpse it through someone else’s eyes. In her gift of storytelling, senior contributing writer Maggie Ginsberg takes readers on her recent visit to the Islamic Center of East Madison in the opening of this month’s cover story (page 52). She also profiles five local Muslims whose stories represent a snippet of the estimated 10,000 followers of Islam in the Madison area.
 
When we first discussed covering the lives of Muslims in Madison, then-Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump had mentioned his support of a nationwide ban against Muslims entering the United States. It was clear that members of the Muslim community in Madison, and elsewhere across the country, were alarmed. When we scheduled this cover story on our editorial calendar last year, we had no idea that a presidential executive order would be signed to ban travel to the U.S. from six (originally seven) predominantly Muslim nations. 
 
It’s uncertain how such a ban would affect Muslims in America—and, of course, in our own community. That’s why it’s crucial for us to bring you the individual stories of Muslims in Madison. In their own words, they convey who they are and what’s important to them. Mohammed Monawer is one of the five who are profiled. He says when he hears people criticize Islam, he wants to ask them how many Muslims they know. “I want them to know that we are just like you,” he says.
 
Collectively, the stories in the April issue punctuate how much Madison is changing. Joel Patenaude, our associate editor who started in January, immediately immersed himself in the local music scene for this month’s feature story (page 70). While Madison is preparing to expand its music venues—and is possibly on its way to becoming a destination for music—we have singled out six local musicians and groups to check out. Also, writer Mary Kay Glazer tells us about the growing popularity of local Airbnbs in Sector (page 30). And, for those who enjoy nostalgia, WISC-TV political reporter Jessica Arp writes a tender love letter to the 100-year-old state Capitol (page 36).
 
In a time of change, our magazine seeks out interesting angles on topics that Madisonians are talking about. We take on stories that not only have resonance, but we tell them in a way that makes readers feel as if they’re experiencing them along with our writers.

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