In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In the face of imminent termination hundreds of IOL journalists, editors and support staff resigned in solidarity on Monday.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (MWA) March 19, 2010 – Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) joins the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), representing 600,000 journalists in 125 countries, in backing hundreds of Egyptian journalists and staffers of IslamOnline.net (IOL) striking in Egypt since Monday, in the wake of news that Qatar-based management planned to take control of the website's servers and shut down the Cairo-based offices.
In the face of imminent termination, mass resignations were submitted and Monday's strike commenced in a bid to secure severance packages for displaced workers. Egypt Daily News reports negotiations to secure six months' salary plus one month for every year of employment, and a full year's salary for those earning less than LE 1,000 monthly are ongoing.
"Sources inside the situation requesting to remain anonymous have stated that there is much more to the situation than what the media is currently aware of, and are encouraging their counterparts to remain patient and prayerful as the negotiation process culminates into what is hopefully a satisfactory outcome for the parties involved," stated MWA Director, Aishah Schwartz.
Founded in 1997, over the past 10-years IslamOnline.net prevailed in providing independent reporting free from political and religious interference. IOL's signature moderate tone and diversity in news, commentary and analysis gained worldwide recognition, evidenced by the 120,000 daily hits the website received as visitors passed through Arabic and English content.
IFJ General Secretary Aidan White, in a March 17, 2010 release posted online stated, "The website has set standards of independence that are a model for professionalism in Arab journalism, its closure would deal a serious blow to the cause of independent media."
Dilshad Ali, IslamOnline U.S. correspondent, editor, and former Faiths Editor at Beliefnet.com stated, "On the line right now are the jobs and rights of more than 330 editors and journalists, and 475 reporters and editors with contracts. The importance of solid, helpful, and diverse Muslim news and issues coverage has never been more important than right now. Having worked and freelanced for IslamOnline for nearly ten years, I've seen the site grow into an important voice of truth, opinion, and guidance in the Middle East and beyond; its continuance is vital for a vibrant and diverse global media."
"As an 8-year revert to Islam, I have personally visited IOL's website countless times, finding it to be a welcoming calm in the cyber-storm of misinformation lending itself to Islamophobic rhetoric and counterproductive mainstream media reports targeting Muslims as a danger to society," stated Schwartz.
Schwartz added, "In January 2010, after nearly five years as a writer for MAS Freedom in Washington, D.C., I resigned as a matter of principle myself, so I can relate to what the strikers are going through in the face of certain financial loss. But it is from that voice of experience that I can say to each striker holding their ground in the lobby of IOL's Cairo offices—standing up for one another's rights, and for what you believe in—is a basic principle of the Islamic faith. My hat is off to each and every one of you; and as you well know, after every hardship comes ease."
Several MWA members have also freelanced for IOL. "It is in solidarity that we stand in support of the IOL's striking staff. Their courage is an inspiration to all of us," Schwartz concluded.
To contact MWA please use the online contact form located at http://biz.prlog.org/mwa-net/contact.html.
Established in 2006, MWA is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.
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