By: Kyle James | 02-13-2018 | News
Photo credit: WHBF-TV

First Full-Time TV Reporter to Wear a Hijab On-Air in U.S. Mainstream TV

When Tahera Rahman went to work in February, she made history from the heart of Downtown Rock Island in Illinois. Rahman is an anchor at WHBF-TV Local 4 news and she became the first full-time TV reporter to wear a hijab on mainstream American television.

Her journey started several years ago after several internships that showed Rahman that TV news was her ultimate passion. "I didn't have anyone who looked like me on TV, so I never really thought it was a possibility," she said.

She was rejected for years from news stations across the nation causing her to put her TV reporting career on hold while she took a job as a news producer for Local 4 news in the Quad Cities.

A friend of Rahman named Rachel Taylor said that while she was busy working behind the scenes of the news station, she never gave up on her ultimate dream of becoming a TV reporter. "She would come in on the weekend and that's her day off but she really wanted this," Taylor said.

Even while working as a producer, Rahman continued honing her reporting skills in her free time. "I was like, someday, someone is going to notice the work I'm putting in and give me a chance," Rahman said. Finally, that chance came on Wednesday and Rahman made her debut.

Rahman's appearance with a hijab on live mainstream news marked a first in American television history. A Chicago radio news anchor named Mariam Sobh who also wears a hijab has been trying to make the transition from radio to TV news for over 13 years.

<img src="" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">

<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: WHBF-TV</span>

"I've tried for years to meet with news directors in the city and it always comes down to the headscarf," Sobh said. "Nobody is willing to just put me on air and say, 'You know what, you're a good journalist'."

"I can't say that I know of a single person that wears a headscarf that's not an actress portraying a part," Sobh said. "I'm talking like a news anchor or TV reporter, that has never been done on U.S. television."

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