Community Affairs

Hijabi News Anchor Breaking Barriers

Mnar MuhaweshExplaining what the purpose of her job is, Muhawesh says she feels “as though work in journalism is almost essential to the survival of a good Muslim representation.”Mnar Muhawesh“No one would hire me.” These are the words she recalls the most –  the very words that continued to resonate in her ears as she completed her four year bachelor’s in broadcasting.

“I had so many Muslim family members and friends tell me that no one would hire me.” She explains this two days before Mnar Muhawesh starts her first day at UTVS, a local Minnesota TV station as a special reporter. Defying those very words and ideas, Muhawesh has become not only a representative for UTVS, rather a representative for Muslims and in particular Shias throughout the country. She has become a role model, being the first Hijabi to be on a local TV station as a special-reporter journalist in the entire United States, if not North America.

Every child at one point in their life fantasizes about who they want to be, what career they wish to pursue, and how they want to live their life – it’s only natural. Muhawesh explains how, as a little child, she enjoyed watching the news with her parents. Throughout her high school life, she describes herself as a “news girl”, someone who enjoyed debating politics and any other issues that were of importance to her. Living up to her dreams and presenting herself “in a modest yet friendly manner,” Muhawesh has accomplished her childhood dream.

Being an individual who only recently (three years ago) started to observe the Hijab, the Muslim dress code, Muhawesh found her life changing in all directions. Upon adopting the Hijab, she says: “Allah has been the main driving force in me to do this because ever since I started to wear Hijab three years ago, I feel as if a million doors have opened for me.” The Hijab – commonly misrepresented as a sign of oppression – has enabled Muhawesh to prove not only to herself, but also to many other people, that the Hijab is not a barrier.

Explaining what the purpose of her job is, Muhawesh says she feels “as though work in journalism is almost essential to the survival of a good Muslim representation.” Through various propaganda and actions by so-called ‘Muslims’, the image of Islam has been much deteriorated in the western media.

“Many non-Muslims don’t even know Muslim sisters like me even exist,” Muhawesh explains. She says she feels that the need for Muslims to take on a career in which they will be able to propagate the true Islam and the ideals that Islam really stands for is imperative.

Taking this opportunity, as the first Hijabi news anchor in the country, Muhawesh has a lot to say to those considering the career.

“If you know what you are doing is going to make a difference for Muslims, then do it,” she says. The need for Muslim, especially Shia, journalists has become crucial in the Western world, Muhawesh feels. “[We] as Muslims are not represented equally as we should be, and as long as Muslims avoid journalist careers, then the voice of the Muslims will rarely be heard or even understood,” she adds.

Many Shia scholars, including the prominent Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi of Toronto, have stressed the need to enter the world of journalism. Being the mainstream source of media, journalists are gifted with that ability to let the world know what Islam and Shi’ism really stand for. As Muhawesh puts it “Alhamdullila I feel like God has given me a mission in life to represent Muslims in the one country that is fighting a war against Islam, yet the one country that is giving opportunity to everyone. I am taking advantage of this opportunity and will Insha’Allah help Muslims everywhere.”

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  • HA55AN

    This is the best news I have heard in a long time. It goes to show that Muslims are making there ways into careers that are typically viewed by arabian culture to be less essential and not rewarding enough.

    Just for reference about the importance our scholars are placing on journalism: Sayyid Mustapha Qazwini was asked during a 2008 Ashuura Q&A session in Dearborn with the public: “As a Muslim, what career would be the most influential and rewarding in America” And his answer was journalism. Kudo’s to those who are stepping up to the plate.

    Congradulations sister Mnar, and thank you Islamic Insights for bringing our ummah so close together that Michigander’s can appreciate and celebrate the efforts of a Muslim in Minnesota.

  • HA55AN

    I do want to mention that this country is not fighting a war against Islam. There maybe certain elements that want to slander and defame the religion. That doesn’t mean that the entire country is fighting against the religion or followers of the religion. I hope that Mnar doesn’t feel like that is the case, especially as someone who will be representing Islam in front of the public.

    We should not feel as though we have to defend our religion. There will be times that we must clear up some misconceptions, which is different than defending our beleifs.

  • Zahara

    I also want to congratulate our sister on her achievements in journalism. But she is not the first (in Canada there are a few muslim reporters), and inshallah she will not be the last muslim, especially muslimah, to be represented on TV and the news.

  • Mariam

    Assalamu alaikum sister Mnar and a million congrats. I beleive that you are the first in the US which will go down in history as a great acheivement.

  • Amir

    Mabruk Mnar inshallah this is the start of a long and succesful career for you. When you strive to do the work of God you Cannot fail!

  • Ali R

    Mabruk to Mnar and her husband Amir. This is only the start of what these two will do together Inshallah.

  • Nur

    omg wow mashallah im soo inspired i was actually looking into doing journalism broadcasting and i would think that hijabis wouldnt make it far in this career but mashallah anything is possibel and alhamdulliah all due to Allah and the strength!!!

  • khadija naqvi

    Mashaallah!! this is great…but i dint know that there were no hijaabi news anchors !
    but being the first and being shiaa SubhaanAllah!
    u go gurl!! 🙂

  • salam

    she’s not a shiaa!!

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