Dalia Mogahed, an American scholar of Egyptian origin, in her talk organised by Ted, explains what it’s like to be Muslim in America. She is the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, D.C.
Dalia asks the audience, ‘when you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: A woman of faith? A scholar, a mom, a sister? Or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist?
Dalia claimed that 80 % of media coverage about Islam and Muslims is negative. ‘Muslims like all other Americans are not the tumor in the body of America, but are vital organ’ she asserted.
Recalling the 9/11 attack, she said, “in a flash, somebody’s act turned me from a citizen to suspect. For the first time in my life afraid for anyone to know I was a Muslim”
On the demand to close the mosques, Dalia said, ‘People don’t actually get radicalized at mosques, they get radicalized in the basement, bedroom in front of computer. If you want to prevent radicalization you have to keep people going to the mosque.’
Condemning groups like ISIS, she said, ‘As a Muslim, as a human being, I think we should do everything we can, to stop group like ISIS, we would be giving into their narrative if we cast them as representatives of faith of 1.6 billion people. ISIS has as much to do with Islam as Ku Klux Klan has to do with Christianity. Both groups claim the base of their ideology with holy books.’
In her powerful talk, Mogahed asked the audience, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media — and to choose empathy over prejudice.