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Iowa Reporter First to Wear Hijab on Air

Image: Iowa Reporter First to Wear Hijab on Air
(Yevgen Delyamure/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 23 Feb 2018 02:23 PM

An Iowa and Illinois television reporter has become the first woman to wear a hijab on air full time for a mainstream American TV station, the Muslim American Women in Media group told the Des Moines Register.

Tahera Rahman, reporter at WHBF-TV in Rock Island, Illinois, which covers northwestern Illinois and southeastern Iowa, recently moved to a reporter slot at the after spending two years as an off-air producer, the newspaper said.

Rahman, 27, told the Register she was determined to live her dream as a television reporter, even though some told her through the years that she would find moving up in her image-conscious profession difficult because she wore the hijab as a Muslim woman.

"When people said it was going to be tough, I was just like, I know, but life is tough," Rahman told the newspaper. "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."

The Register wrote that shortly after Rahman made her on-air debut, a white supremacist blog posted Rahman's picture and personal phone number, demanding that people call and write WHBF-TV until the station removed her.

Rahman said, though, that she has never considered giving into the "haters," the Register reported. She said she feels that removing the hijab would mar her victory of getting on air in the first place.

"A small part of me feels like I am giving into the haters if I take it off," Rahman told the Register. "Because that's the first thing people say is, 'Take that rag off your head and go back to where you came from.' I want to be like I was born and raised here and I wear it, so I am where I belong. And you have to deal with it because this is my America, too."

Rahman grew up in the Chicago suburbs, earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Loyola University of Chicago and interned in the Chicago bureau of the "CBS Evening News," The Hollywood Reporter said.

Statistics from the 2015 Radio Television Digital News Association reported that minorities make up just 22 percent of the workforce at local TV stations nationwide, The Hollywood Register said.

Rahman said she looks forward to the time soon when attention will move away from her dress and to her work as a journalist.

"I don't care if Tahera is the first or the 30th or the 3000th" Mike Mickle, the station's news director told the Register. "She's been hired because she deserved the job."

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A journalist at a Midwest television station is the first woman to wear a hijab on air full time for a mainstream American TV station.
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Friday, 23 Feb 2018 02:23 PM
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