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The M Word: Muslim Americans on the State of News Media

Not in D.C.? Watch this event live here beginning at 7pm on Thursday, February 8.


Journalist Wajahat Ali moderates a conversation with fellow journalists about the role Muslim-American writers play in the news media, the extent of biased reporting about Muslims, and the rise of fake news and sensationalism.

The M Word is a series funded by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program. 

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Wajahat Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, award-winning playwright, TV host, and consultant for the U.S. State Department. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Salon


Mehdi Hasan is an award-winning British broadcaster, writer, and author based in Washington, D.C. He is the host of UpFront and Head to Head on Al Jazeera English and a columnist for The Intercept and contributing editor to the New Statesman in the UK. He has also been published in he New York Times and The Washington Post and has been included in the annual list of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world. His debate-winning speech at the Oxford Union on Islam and peace in 2013 went viral online, amassing more than 3 million views on YouTube. Mehdi is the author of two books and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

Rula Jebreal is an award-winning journalist, author, and foreign policy analyst who has received accolades for her groundbreaking work in Italy, the United States, and across the Middle East. She was the first foreign anchorperson in the history of television news in Italy, where she went on to host multiple political talk shows. Since moving to the United States in 2009, Rula has been an on-air foreign policy analyst for MSNBC. Rula appears frequently on CNN, and she has written op-eds for The New York Times, San Jose Mercury News, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy, Newsweek, among other media outlets. Her first novel, Miral, a best seller, has been translated into 15 languages. She also wrote the screenplay for the film of the same name, which had its U.S. premiere at the United Nations General Assembly Hall. She is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Miami.

Ayman Mohyeldin is an award-winning MSNBC anchor. Most recently, Ayman has begun anchoring the network’s weekly global and current affairs show The Breakdown, which airs Sundays at 5pm. He is also hosting the network’s morning show, Morning Joe First Look. Since joining NBC News, Ayman has anchored some of the network’s coverage of major international and domestic events. In addition to reporting for the network, Ayman provides analysis to NBC News and to all of MSNBC’s prime-time and dayside programs and digital platforms on international affairs, national security, and diplomacy. Ayman has lived in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East and has reported extensively from across the globe covering wars, revolutions, natural disasters, politics, and more. In recent years, Ayman’s coverage has focused on the rise of extremism and terrorism across the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Prior to becoming an anchor, Ayman was an international correspondent. He covered the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukriane and the subsequent civil war in the eastern part of the country. Before joining NBC News, Ayman was a correspondent for Al Jazeera English based in Cairo, where he was at the epicenter of Arab uprisings covering the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Ayman has won a Peabody Award for his reporting and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME in 2011. He is a frequent speaker at universities, conferences, and institutions. He is also a member of the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations.

Julia Ioffe is an American journalist who covers national security and foreign policy topics for The Atlantic. Her writing has previously appeared in the Columbia Journalism ReviewThe Washington PostThe New YorkerForeign PolicyForbes, the New RepublicPolitico, and Russia!. Ioffe was born in Moscow to a Russian Jewish family, and her family immigrated to the United States in 1990 when Ioffe was 7; they were legal immigrants who according to Ioffe were “fleeing anti-Semitism” in the Soviet Union. They settled in Columbia, Maryland. Ioffe attended Princeton University and earned an undergraduate degree, with a major in history, specializing in Soviet history. Ioffe began her career as a fact-checker for The New Yorker and moved to Columbia Journalism School’s Knight Foundation Case Studies Initiative. She later won a Fulbright Scholarship to return to Russia and worked as the Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker and Foreign Policy. In 2012, she became a senior editor for the New Republic in Washington D.C.

Malika Bilal is an international news journalist, TV host, and moderator based in Washington, D.C. She is currently cohost of an Emmy-nominated news talk show centered on online community participation, where she facilitates live on-air panel discussions while simultaneously bringing in viewer questions, comments, and feedback. A Chicago native, Malika graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She has reported from across the United States and the Middle East, including Egypt, where she covered that country’s first post-revolution election campaign and subsequent violence, and Saudi Arabia, where she was deployed to cover the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Malika previously worked for Voice of America and has written for the Chicago Tribune and National Public Radio. Her career has afforded her the chance to interview former presidents and prime ministers, Hollywood and Bollywood stars, and artists and activists from around the world.


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