Last month, Local 4 News, the CBS affiliate for the Quad Cities region on the Illinois-Iowa border, announced that its new on-air reporter, Tahera Rahman, is “the first full-time reporter who is a Muslim woman to wear a hijab on mainstream TV news in the United States.”
Ms. Rahman recently spoke with Huffington Post, and here are some snippets from the interview:
— The lack of Muslim-American women who wear a headscarf on camera was obvious — I was very aware of that fact — but I never considered this something that was impossible.
— I’m a minority in a lot of different ways. It’s not just my religious identity, it’s also being a person of color, and it’s also being a woman. So seeing other women particularly, regardless of race or ethnicity, that was always inspiring. People who are just good at their job who happened to be women; that’s what I liked to see. And there were tons of journalists like that, whether they were on TV or not. And a lot of them gave me inspiration and mentorship throughout the years.
— I don’t want to speak for all Muslims, but I think part of the lack of representation is because a lot of American Muslims are hesitant about getting into the media. Part of that stems from growing up in the post-9/11 era, when a lot of people from our community felt they were vilified in the news and haven’t been able to trust journalists since then.
— For the most part, everyone has been extremely supportive. [For instance], most people that I set up an interview with, I talk to them on the phone first and when I get there for my interview, they already know who I am. They’re like, “Oh, I saw you on the paper, I saw your story on TV, congratulations, we’re really proud of you!” All that kind of stuff. I met with the local police chief the other day, and he knew me right when I walked through the door, so in a lot of ways, my identity has actually helped me get my interviews, so hopefully I still get those interviews once the novelty wears off.