Tahera Rahman just marked a new era for Muslim girls by becoming the first Hijabi Veiled News Anchor in the USA on CBS-affiliate Local 4 News, in Rock Island. The 27-year-old got very used to hearing the word ‘No,’ she said after her first broadcast. Many people she met early in her career suggested that her hijab would be a barrier to professional success.
“If it’s one piece of cloth that is separating you from your dreams, that’s tempting,” Rahman said to Quad City Times, noting that many Muslim women choose not to wear hijabs. “It would be a lot easier if I took it off. I wouldn’t get as much hate. People would still think my name sounds weird, but, you know, it’s definitely not as weird as seeing someone who looks like me on TV.”
For the presenter, her hijab means more to her than just a piece of cloth on her head, it is a part of her personal identity that should not identify what job she gets. Up until she graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2013 with a journalism degree, it never occurred to her that she will be asked to take her hijab off, then reality struck, and her hijab was one of her main barriers. For three years while working for a Chicago radio station, she applied and got rejected for an entry-level reporting jobs across the country.
“I’ve done everything I wanted to do in life wearing (my hijab) and I never felt it was a barrier for anything,” Rahman told the Quad City Times of her wait to find a job that would accept her.