In a time when Islamophobia seems to be on the rise in the West, Tahera Rahman made history for becoming the first full-time broadcast TV reporter in America to wear a hijab on air. Tahera made her first debut on 8 February 2018 as a journalist for WHBF-TV, a CBS affiliate for the Quad Cities region on the Illinois-Iowa border.
Tahera Rahman was born outside Chicago and her parents are immigrants from India and Pakistan. She wore hijab for the first time when she was 12. Though she admits it has sometimes been a struggle, but she made her choice to wear it.
Have a career in broadcasting doesn’t come easy for Tahera. Since she interned in Chicago, she has been told that her career will be difficult if she refuses to take off her hijab. But her mother keep trying to convince her not to give up on her dream to become reporter on-air. But her job at WHBF-TV isn’t about her faith. Mike Mickle, WHBF-TV news director said that Tahera deserves it because she’s got talent.
After nearly two years, Tahera finally received the promotion and appeared for the first time on air. After her first on-air broadcast, she got flooded with messages of support on social media and people started calling her an empowering role model. But unfortunately, she also received some negative messages but all of these hateful messages doesn’t stop her since she wanted this her whole life.
As minority, she live in a place where there are explicitly Islamophobic people who didn’t think she should be on air. No matter how good of a person you are, there will always be someone who dislike you and that’s a reality. Working in competitive industry with lack of diversity made her to work harder to prove herself. Tahera believe that someday, someone is going to notice the work she putting in and give her a chance. Not just to move up the television news career ladder, but so those who follow in her footsteps will have similar opportunities. Tahera hopes her visibility as an on-air reporter will encourage other women that there's no reason your hijab should be a barrier.
The lack of Muslim-American women who wear a headscarf on camera was obvious and it was really empowering to see Tahera Rahman being in front of a public audience on TV while wearing the hijab. Even Tahera herself never thought it was a possibility since she didn’t have anyone who looked like her on TV. Well, we all hope that she might be the first full-time broadcast TV reporter in America, but she won’t be the last.
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