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Are We Ready For A Muslim News Anchor?

Meet, Noor Tagouri. Noor is a 19 year old Broadcast Journalism major and has big dreams of becoming the first Muslim-American television anchor/talk show host, but with a twist…she wants to do it in her hijab. For those of you that are unfamiliar, hijab refers to the traditional head, face or body covering worn by Muslim women and sometimes men. While there are other Muslim/Muslim American new anchors on television (Ali Velshi and Ayman Mohyeldin on CNN and NBC, respectively),  Noor’s choosing to wear hijabi on the air would definitely set her apart, making her a hot topic for discussion on both sides of the debate.

The unmistakable elephant in the room is whether or not American’s are ready to accept such a bold representation of the Muslim faith into their homes, in light of current situations in largely Muslim-populated countries, and given our sensitivity post 9/11. As we round the hill of 11, almost 12, years since one of the most devastating occurrences in American history, the climate is still to some degree solidarity against Muslim people. As ignorant and groupthink minded as that is, it was a knee-jerk and primal response to dealing with a tragedy caused by a small group of people that claimed to act on behalf of a larger group of people. Unfortunately, some have chosen to hold on to this way of thinking still today, increasing the number of obstacles Noor will no doubt face simply by being a woman and a minority.

But it doesn’t stop there. For those of us that are able to separate the actions of some, from the feelings of most, it makes for a hard decision placing someone like Noor before audiences where people of power feel so strongly against her presence. Losing advertisement and endorsement monies behind a decision to promote someone who fits the criteria we’ve created for the “stereotypical” Muslim would be a very noble and very dangerous path for any business to venture down. It speaks to the fact that the bottom-line is always the bottom line, but more importantly, our flawed comfort that so long as I don’t know that it’s something I’ve decided I have a problem with, I won’t have a problem with it. Cc: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The dark is not without the dawn however. We are at a time in our life as a country and as people in general, where change and difference are becoming more acceptable and more attainable. Additionally, the best way to heal from a wound is not only time, but movement. To say that we as American’s will never have a hijab-wearing, Muslim anchorwoman is ludicrous, and I’d go so far as to say that we’re ready now. Some would disagree, but the only way to find out is if we try, and if those of us who are supporters of progressive movement demand the opportunity to show ourselves as not only tolerant, but embracing of things that were at once uncomfortable for us.

Get to know Noor on Twitter and Facebook, and support her journey with the hashtag #LetNoorShine. Feel free to share your thoughts on Noor and if we’re ready for her in the comments below.

XOXO
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15 Comments
  • Carrie
    December 12, 2012

    Wow, this post is pretty interesting! I’ve never seen any other talk show host besides, an African-American or Caucasian person. If she really wants it, she’ll achieve it. There’s always a first time for everything. Barack Obama made history, Noor can too! 🙂

  • Noor Tagouri
    December 13, 2012

    I really appreciate you writing this story. I enjoyed hearing your perspective. Thank you for the well wishes 🙂

  • Farheen Asif
    December 13, 2012

    Thanks for writing this article. That last paragraph was absolutely great to hear! Much respect to Noor! You go girl!
    #LetNoorShine.

  • Habiba
    December 13, 2012

    Noor, I hope you’ll achieve your dream. It’s definitely time for some change and together we can all do it. We need to make this a better world for our future grandchildren. Love and peace from Amsterdam, Holland. Your story has reached us too.

  • Matthew Gallelli
    December 13, 2012

    Noor, I honor your goal to enrich America with your presence on TV news. I noticed your picture at WJLA, Channel 7, the ABC’s affiliate in DC. Have you been doing work as a TV reporter for that station or some other station? It would be great to hear your voice in the District! The best way to become an anchor is to ply your trade as a reporter. America would truly benefit from your perspective.

  • Ali
    December 15, 2012

    Quick correction. Hijab is the scarf, hijabi is a person who wears it.

    • Ryan
      December 17, 2012

      Thank you for the note Ali! *Corrected*

  • Rania
    December 19, 2012

    Thanks Ryan for your input, I really enjoyed reading your article.
    Just a quick correction too, hijab is not for men. Men in Islam are expected to dress modestly and not show their body to the public especially from waist to knees. This can be covered by any basic pants or long shorts, men are not expected to wear hijab.
    Hijab is known now as the head cover. When a woman wears hijab, she must dress modestly to cover her body.
    The face cover is “niqab” and the niqab is not a must but an option/personal preference.
    Thanks again for your article and for listening to us 🙂

    • Ryan
      December 27, 2012

      Absolutely Rania! I was having a conversation with a friend who mentioned that some progressive/radical muslim men have taken to wearing hijab in recent culture trends, but I thank you as well for your correction and insight!

  • Emany
    January 3, 2013

    Noor, Tabarak Allah. You are such an inspiration to, not only hijabi girls, but to all girls around the world. You, as we (hijabies) all have, will face ignorance, offensive comments and may not be accepted by everyone, even some Muslims. I adore your strength and wish you nothing but the best in your journy

  • Nazley
    February 21, 2013

    You really are an inspiration to all muslimahs across the world. I’m from South Africa so this great news is reaching far places. All the best to you Insha Allah ameen……..

  • iHateMuslims
    April 15, 2013

    Fucking muslim bitch

  • Zulfiqar Ahmad
    April 15, 2015

    Hard work pays. So be yourself, polite, reasonable, rationale, and work hard, you will achieve what you want.

  • udntknw
    June 22, 2015

    omg terrorism brought to our screens …

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