American woman hopes to become first-ever hijabi anchor on commercial television

Published: April 13, 2015
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PHOTO: ON ISLAM

PHOTO: ON ISLAM

Driven by her childhood dream of becoming a journalist, a Muslim American woman is determined to defy the stereotypical image Muslims in the media as she hopes to become the first-ever hijabi anchor on American commercial television. 

Noor Tagouri said she often felt “ashamed” to be a Muslim outsider in her community and though she struggled with her identity during childhood, the 21-year-old now fully embraces her religion and culture.

“My name, Noor, means ‘light.’ My middle name is Alhuda, so Noor Alhuda means ‘the guiding light,'” she said in an interview. “My name itself inspires me to be that guiding light,” she added.

In 2012, Tagouri launched her social media campaign #LetNoorShine — or, “let light shine” — to inspire both herself and others to follow their dreams.

“I started #LetNoorShine when I decided I was going to be very vocal about what I was doing to become a hijabi journalist on television — on American television,” she said.

Her dream of becoming a journalist began at a very young age when she realised she had the skill and passion for reporting great stories.

“I grew up knowing that I wanted to be a reporter … and basically have a way to tell stories,” she said adding that “I never thought I was going to wear this hijab, [but] when I did start wearing it, I decided that I still wanted to be a reporter, obviously, and I didn’t want this to stop me.”

Although another journalist, Mnar Muhawesh, took the hijab and was a reporter on cable, Tagouri pointed out that this had never been seen before on commercial television.

The lack of Muslim journalists wearing a hijab while anchoring the news was never a deterrent for Tagouri. In fact, it motivated her even more.

SCREEN GRAB

“As soon as I realised how powerful it is to be different, I thrived off of it,” Tagouri said.

However, Tagouri has not always been supported.”There have been so many times where I have been knocked down, where people told me I wasn’t going to be able to do it, where people in the newsroom that I was interning at would go behind my back… saying, ‘Who does she think she is? Does she not know that this isn’t going to happen for her?'” Tagouri said.

“But they don’t realise that this generation, right now, is an upcoming generation. Things are changing. People are going to get used to it. People… want diversity; they want to understand each other,” she explained.

CBS Radio’s community and public affairs director, Justine Love, agrees with Tagouri. Love had seen Tagouri give a spoken word performance on World AIDS Day and offered the journalism major an internship right on the spot.

Tagouri had offered a special prayer for professional guidance less than 24 hours prior to the performance.

SCREEN GRAB

“I prayed a prayer we call Istikhaarah, which is the guidance prayer. I prayed the night before my performance, asking God for an internship or a job or something.”

Tagouri said that the internship was literally what had changed her life.

“That was the start of when #LetNoorShine was starting and when things just started falling into place. It was opportunity after opportunity, and it was just from that guidance, just from that prayer,” she concluded.

Many took to Twitter to show their support for the aspiring journalist.

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Apr 13, 2015 - 4:33PM

    For what it’s worth, a wholehearted prayer for Noor; may the Light of the universe help shine this light brighter into people’s lives.
    .
    Our new generations have to be the change-makers. Know that there is no obstacle too great when you let your path be illuminated by the Light of lights, Noor-us-Samawat-e-wal-Arz.
    .
    Whether or not you reach your goal, know that no good deed goes to waste. If your example inspires even one individual in some corner of the planet… job well done.Recommend

  • Ashraf
    Apr 13, 2015 - 8:18PM

    That is one more world-beating achievement by another high-achieving Muslim role model !!Recommend

  • Apr 13, 2015 - 8:48PM

    well thingRecommend

  • Freeman
    Apr 14, 2015 - 12:09AM

    This is another small but sure sign that America’s downfall as a bastion of secular Western Civilization and Liberty is nigh. Recommend

  • K.Riaz
    Apr 14, 2015 - 12:51AM

    We don’t need more Hijabis in the U.S.
    The real news should be the West’s tolerance towards minorities.Try being hijab-less in Iran/Saudi,good luck.Recommend

  • Asif
    Apr 14, 2015 - 12:23PM

    Poor lady.Recommend

  • Abhisek
    Apr 14, 2015 - 1:59PM

    What a news!! Pakistan developed a high speed bullet train in the world and first pakistani astronaut reached Moon!!

    WOW!!Recommend

  • Vikram
    Apr 15, 2015 - 6:30AM

    Do Pakistani Muslim wear Hijab on TV?Recommend

  • Urwah
    May 10, 2015 - 6:45AM

    @Vikram:
    Interesting question. Pakistani women are not required under law to wear hijab anywhere in public or even on TV. In our dramas you’ll see some actresses with a duputta on her head and some dramas based on the idea of hijab, however since most dramas are based in the home, nearly all women will not wear hijabs at their homes or weddings therefore it would be a poor depiction of what is the true picture. In main cities you’ll see plenty of women withour hijabs on and walking around with their hair showing, you’ll see many also with hijabs or a dupatta slightly over their heads and some with face veils. In smaller cities and smaller towns you’ll see women in hijabs and women wearing veils. Although I myself have many women in my family who wear face veils when they leave the house the rule is not followed properly. They do not observe pardah in front of all na mehrams, they still come in front of brother in laws and at weddings do not wear the veil where men of course see them without it on and this is mostly true for a lot of us. On our tv channels women are most likely not wearing hijab or veil out of own choice. There are however only a few anchors who do wear hijab or dupatta, but majority do not as its not a legal requirement in Pakistan and the state leaves it for the person to decide to wear it although it is an requirement of Islam’s just like praying, fasting, giving charity , growing a beard is… Personally I believe it should not be forced on someone likewise someone should not be forced to take their veil off in a country like France! Hope this makes sense.Recommend

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