This TV Reporter Is the First to Wear a Hijab on a Mainstream US News Channel
Tahera Rahman was told viewers weren’t ready for her, but she’s proving her haters wrong.
Feeling unbelievably blessed tonight. A few oopsies in my first hit but I couldn’t have imagined a better team than this exact CBS crew that has become family. It’s been such a long and incredible journey but the work is just beginning, fam. Stay. Tuned. #🧕🏽 #📺#AlhamdulillahAlways #GodsPlan #DrizzyPlannedHisAlbumReleaseAroundMe #BestHumpDayEver
Tahera Rahman is used to delivering the news, not being the focus of it.
Earlier this month, Rahman, who happens to wear a headscarf, became a full-time, on-air TV reporter for WHBF-TV, an affiliate of CBS that covers the Illinois and Iowa region. And according to the Muslim American Women in Media group, she’s the first full-time female TV journalist in the US to wear a hijab on a mainstream station.
In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Rahman said she chose to start wearing a hijab in fifth grade, and though she knew it would set her apart from others, she’s never let that stop her from doing anything she wanted.
“I knew there was no one who looked like me who rushed Greek life, but I did because I wanted to,” Rahman told the Des Moines Register of her time at Loyola University of Chicago. “I would show up to formals and Panhellenic events and I would be the only one who wore a headscarf, but it never stopped me, and I still had fun and I still studied abroad and I still traveled with my sorority sisters to Spring Break."
Great video work by @bpowersphoto on Quad Cities journalist @TaheraTV, the first woman to wear a hijab while reporting full-time for a mainstream American TV station. WATCH: https://t.co/9Gb5fVttLSpic.twitter.com/Q5396zN5C7— DM Register Visuals (@RegisterVisuals) February 23, 2018
And she was just as determined to succeed without having to compromise herself when it came to her career.
“When people said it was going to be tough, I was just like, I know, but life is tough,” Rahman explained. “People live in places where it is hard to even practice journalism in general. I live in America, and I was born and raised with the values of equality and democracy and hard work getting you to your dream, to the American dream.”
Rahman was inspired to keep chasing her dream by the 2016 election of Minnesota Dem. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American who also wears a headscarf, the Des Moines Register reported. Despite being told that viewers weren’t ready for reporters to wear hijabs, the 27-year-old began her on-camera role earlier this month, after several years of working behind-the-scenes.
And the show of support for Rahman as she shatters stereotypes has been strong.
Get it girl! Live the dream <3 @TaheraTV. In 1999, I graduated from UCLA after being editor in chief of @TheDailyBruin, and started interviewing for broadcast journalism jobs and I was told point blank, "You can't work on camera with hijab." It's a NEW DAY!! <3 #MeetingtheMomenthttps://t.co/to0gOAd4b0— Edina Lekovic (@EdLek) February 23, 2018
“What I prayed for every night for years is to be able to soften people’s hearts and basically be a light for people in a scary world with a lot of misconceptions,” .@TaheraTV, as a woman-of-faith who wears a head covering in the public eye, I salute you. Continue being a light! https://t.co/HtPZcM1BAs— Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz (@RabbiHugenholtz) February 23, 2018
@TaheraTV It is people like you that make America great. Never forget how many out there are rooting for you.— Jim Stoltz (@jestoltz) February 24, 2018
😭😭😭 this brought tears to my eyes. So sad it took this long, but so happy for her and how groundbreaking this is.— Jade Jet (@__JadeTheJet__) February 17, 2018
@TaheraTV— THE LIBYAN (@EKofod) February 24, 2018
Congratulations on sticking to your principles and breaking the “barrier” away from those people. You are beautiful, smart and talented, and will always face jealousy and hatred from insignificant people. Good luck habibti❤️ https://t.co/UNVell0rZE
Global Citizen campaigns for freedom, for justice, for all, including a woman’s right to choose when and how exercises her religious freedom. You can take action here to take a stand against bias and discrimination.