The Deen Show, a leading first-of-its-kind Muslim-American TV talk show produced and hosted by Eddie Redzovic, is getting a permanent home in Tampa, Florida. The show will be based in Redzovic’s newly opened Deen Center, which features a mosque and an Educational learning center.
Throughout its seventeen-year run, The Deen Show has been one of the most notable spaces online for advancing inter-religious dialogue and understanding. The show’s founder, producer, and host, Eddie Redzovic, is a first-generation Bosnian American.
Born in Buffalo, NY, but raised in Chicago, he owns the Windy City’s Famous Redzovic Jiu Jitsu Academy. His idea with The Deen Show is to present to his fellow Americans more about Islam and Muslim Americans than what they’re used to seeing on TV or reading online in the media.
“I wanted to bridge the gap between Islam and how people perceive it,” says Eddie Redzovic. “Through Hollywood movies and bad press, people got all those negative images in their minds. I wanted to show them that I’m an American, who loves this country, grew up here, and wants to give back as a Muslim American.”
Eddie’s mission with The Deen Show was to show that Muslims are people from all walks of life, who want the same things in life, peace, and security, to raise a good family, and are as far removed from the stereotypical view of Islam as they can be.
“Anyone can be a Muslim living in Islam; it’s not just how Hollywood has painted it Arabs riding camels in deserts,” adds Eddie Redzovic.
Due to recent historical events and the turbulent nature of politics in the North African and West Asian regions, reinforcing stereotypes about Muslims has become almost a norm. Not only do the practices of organizations such as Daesh, Al Qaeda, or other extreme groups draw unwanted attention, but it also trains the media and the audience to watch out for any headlines concerning Muslims, creating a vicious circle.
“There are studies where, if anything negative was linked to a Muslim or Islam, statistically, that press coverage got 357% more press attention according to new research from the University of Alabama with more front-page headlines than others,” says Eddie Redzovic. “So when that narrative is created that Muslims are the boogie man coming to get you, Muslims are viewed dehumanized. They stop being someone who wants to have a normal life and raise their children. They stop being deserving of just basic human empathy. And the recent earthquakes in Turkey, especially Syria, showed it.”
One of Eddie Redzovic’s goals with the show is to separate Islam from the actions of certain extreme individuals or even extreme groups. Drawing a parallel with Christianity, he says that what Muslims and Islam go through would be the same as if every Christian today, and Christianity as a whole, would be judged by the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the KKK, or some other of the most radical Christian groups that would not be fair. He notes we should not Judge Christians or Christianity by these extreme individuals the same way we should not Judge Islam by the actions of an extreme individual or a fringe element that doesn’t represent Islam.
The best way to show is by example, so Eddie Redzovic organized a community event in Tampa, Florida at the future DeenCenter, to show people how Muslims are here to serve the community and humanity regardless of their background, color, or religion.
“It was the start of the second phase of the new DeenCenter, which is working on opening the Masjid and Educational Learning Center for all to come and learn about Muslims and Islam, and we wanted to get right to work without even being officially opened by serving the community. We are providing a free health clinic with many Muslim doctors who provide free services like blood pressure screenings, post-testing, and physical testing,” Eddie Redzovic said. “Also free food, clothing, and more ”
So far, the new home for his show seems to be serving its purpose of bringing people together and dispelling stereotypes and misconceptions.