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Reporters on the Job

Islamic Hip Hop Perspectives: As reporters James Brandon and John Thorne worked on today's story about the struggle for British Islam (page 1), they decided that their sourcing needed to be broadened. "It's important to have experts, but we also wanted a grass-roots perspective from the Muslim community," says John. "We wanted someone plugged into the younger generation who wasn't an imam, a professor, or a cleric."

John remembered seeing a short media profile of Aki Nawaz, leader of the British hip-hop group Fun-Da-Mental and one of the leaders of Nation Records. "I also liked one of the bands on his label, Asia Dub Foundation," he says. John rang him and they met for tea at a cafe in Notting Hill.

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Mr. Nawaz complained about corrupt political leaders and the need for pure, spiritual values. "Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad had it right. We got it wrong afterwards. We should be embarrassed at how we've lost the way," he told John.

Scent of a Stove: After reporting today's story about rectifying past wrongs in a township in Cape Town, South Africa (this page), contributor Eric Holm's girlfriend asked him where he'd picked up his "cologne."

"I came home smelling like a campfire. It filled the entire apartment," says Eric. He'd driven through black South African townships before and noticed the scent but wasn't sure what it was. By conducting interviews with residents for the story, he learned the origin. "Everyone cooks with wood over an open stove, and it permeates the air," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor


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