Noor Tagouri, the woman who has enough scarves to keep you warm for 17 artic winters, that is how she introduces herself in her Ted Talk.
Noor Tagouri is an 21-year-old Arab-American Muslim journalist and in her Ted Talk she talks about her dreams her passion and her struggles to become the first hijabi journalist on American television.
Noor grew up in a small village in America where there weren’t a lot of Muslims. She knew she was different but didn’t want to accept it. This led to her identity crisis. A phenomenon that a lot of us had or have to deal with. She didn’t like to talk about her religion, her background or her culture as if she was ashamed of it.
Everyday when she came back from school Noor and her mother watched Oprah Winfrey. And it was Oprah that made her want to become a reporter. She liked how Oprah asked questions, how she prompted people to share their vulnerable stories and how she made everybody comfortable in her studio. When she told her parents that she wanted to become a reporter they were very supportive. They took her to writing camp, her dad explained the news to her and took her to visit journalist that she had always admired.
To deal with her identity crisis she decided to wear the hijab when they moved to Washington. It was only then that she accepted that she was different and she was proud of it. After some research she found out that in the United States there has never been a woman who wore the hijab who was a reporter on a commercial television market and she wanted to change that!
Live changing performance
In college she found her love for spoken poetry and had a performance a few days after she turned 18. The day before the performance she prayed salat istighfar, the guidance prayer. In her prayer she asked God for a internship or job, something to make her dream come true. The next day, after her performance a woman took her mic out of her hand and asked her if she wanted an internship at CBS radio. The woman was Justine Love, the Director of Community and Public Affairs on CBS radio in Washington DC. That internship changed her life.
One day Noor posted a photo of her sitting at the ABC desk and captioned the picture: “This is what my dream looks like”. The next day this photo had gone viral. People from all over the world were sharing it. People were sharing their dreams and stories.
Noor couldn’t believe her eyes and realised how powerful social media is and that’s when Noor’s cousin came up with ‘Let Noor shine’. The goal of Let Noor shine was to “let people share their dreams, their problems. Very quickly ‘Let noor shine’ became a community of “vulnerable spirits and bundles of passion”.
Now Noor Tagouri is the first hijabi journalist on American television. The mainstream media too often portrays Muslims in a negative light. Noor defines her role as “Explaining religion and clarifying the context of cultural nuisance ( which is very important in my eyes)”. And when she reports stories about terrorism she wants to tell it in a way that doesn’t generalize the Muslim population and don’t associate Muslim with them.
You can watch the whole Ted talk of this beautiful yet inspiring hijabi below.