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Dangerous stereotypes around Muslim Americans persist, with very real consequences for Muslim people and American democracy at large. Even in Congress, Muslim Representatives like Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Keith Ellison have faced vilification. But are we witnessing a shift? This year, the United Nations celebrated the first-ever International Day to Combat Islamophobia and Minneapolis became the first major city in the nation to start public broadcast of the Islamic call to prayer five times a day. Joining Laura for this “Meet the BIPOC Press” conversation are Hibah Ansari, a reporter from the Sahan Journal, that is dedicated to reporting on communities of color in Minnesota, and Dalia Mogahed, the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, DC. Our cohost is Mitra Kalita of Epicenter-NYC, who with Sara Lomax is the co-founder of URL Media, a network of independently owned and operated Black and Brown media outlets. What happens when Muslim Americans themselves take on the task of reporting on their communities?
“I grew up immediately post 9/11 in an Internet world where oftentimes the only people I was seeing on TV that might have looked a little bit like me or people in my family were usually victims of war . . . And that can perpetuate really harmful stereotypes, about Muslim women especially.” – Hibah Ansari
“I’ve been covering the Muslim community in New York City pretty much since after 9/11. This has been my whole trajectory for my career. But I have never seen a moment like this.” – Mitra Kalita
“Why would you wait for someone to welcome you in your own home? If we don’t feel like this is ours and ours to build and ours to fight for, we will never be truly equal in this country.” – Dalia Mogahed
- Hibah Ansari: Reporter, Sahan Journal
- S. Mitra Kalita: Co-Founder, URL Media
- Dalia Mogahed: Director of Research, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU)
Portions of this interview are featured in our episode, “Muslim Americans in the Media: From Islamophobia to Power.”