It’s been nearly twenty years since Al-Bayan’s first issue was printed. Our purpose has always been to provide the Muslim community with a platform for discussion and expression—a medium through which our voices can be heard. In light of that purpose, we, the Board of Al-Bayan, would like to announce a series of important changes to the publication. These changes are met with unanimous agreement from Board and our advisors, and are as follows:
Our first goal this semester was to give the magazine a clearer identity, resulting in the decision to shift the makeup of our content. For the longest time, Islam and Muslims have been spoken of by everyone but Muslims themselves. Even when Muslim voices do rise up, they are oppositional and reactionary. That is to say, we speak after we are spoken to, usually in defense of our actions, thoughts, and decisions. While this is not always a bad thing and something we often do poignantly, it is nonetheless exhausting. Muslim college students, our main demographic, are often caught in the crosshairs of doing what they want to do and doing what they feel they should do. To contest the notion that the Muslim voice exists exclusively within the realms of politics, oppression, and ideological clashes, we are rebranding our identity from one that contributes to the exhaustion of the Muslim voice to one that frees it. With this in mind, we now welcome a plethora of topics that we cover including but not limited to the arts, spirituality, technology, mental health, opinion, travel, culture, and the list continues. This shift is intended to guide us in retaining our identity as a Muslim publication—a publication written by Muslims, for Muslims.
We also won’t be launching an issue this Fall; this is going to be the only semester in our history that there won’t be a physical publication. This is more of a structural change, intended to facilitate smoother internal transitions and to increase the interactiveness with our readers. Currently, our production timeline is as follows: recruit staff in September, create content in October, print November, and launch late November, early December. This only gives our readers a couple of weeks to read and interact with our content before leaving for break, which isn’t enough because our readers are usually preparing for finals (or should be). Instead of truly provoking thought and discussion from our work, we forget all about it and begin working on the next issue. Instead of publishing at the end of each semester, we’ve decided to begin printing and distributing at the start of the semester, beginning with the Spring 2017 issue. That way we have the entirety of three months to celebrate and discuss the work our staff has produced, and do things like hold discussions and forums to encourage dialogue on ideas. We want reading the magazine to be an active experience, not a passive one, and hope that by distributing earlier in the semester we can better foster our engagement with the community.
Finally, after serious deliberation, we’ve decided to give Al-Bayan a new name. Starting this Spring, we’ll be publishing under the name “threads”. When we describe to our readers, friends, and family what “Al-Bayan” means, we use the words “clarification” and “eloquent speech” to define it, but besides that, it doesn’t mean anything to many of us. It’s simply a name whose significance and meaning we’ve attempted to mold and frame into something that relates to the entire community, but to no avail. We also want to recognize that the Arab-izing of the Muslim community is an issue, and can be alienating to our community members who aren’t native Arabic speakers. We wholeheartedly stand for changing that narrative, and believe “threads” is more representative of both our staff and readers. After making the decision to change the name, the process of choosing the name was more challenging, but many meetings later, “threads” fit the bill. We view our community as together in our solidarity, but unique in our stories and backgrounds. To capture the beauty of such a diverse community, we viewed our community as a tapestry, beautifully woven together in strength and solidarity, with each thread representing each and every member of our community. For these reasons, we have decided to rename the publication from “Al-Bayan” to “threads.”
The magnitude of these changes is driven with the sole intention of being more inclusive and capturing of the diverse community that we cater to. We are still going to host our traditional semester event, scheduled on December 2 from 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. at Hearst Memorial Mining Building.
We invite all of you to come to our Rebranding Event, where we will be talking more about these changes in the company of good people and good food. We will also be showcasing Al-Bayan’s work and previewing thread’s work to build up to a smooth transition. As content creators, we will be presenting visual and audial content at our re-branding event.
We look forward to seeing you at our event, and to continue to serve this community.