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The M Word: Muslim-American Stories of Hope and Resistance

Presented in collaboration with The Muslim Protagonists. Get tickets for our next event on April 1, entitled Centering the Margin, here

Admission is free and open to the public. REGISTER HERE »
WATCH LIVE ONLINE starting at 7pm via FacebookLive.

As last week’s executive order restricting travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries signals how quickly bigoted rhetoric can transform into discriminatory policy, a climate of unbridled racial and religious discrimination now forces many Muslim Americans to face vicious trolling both online and in the street. Prominent Muslim leaders in the U.S. like Linda Sarsour—co-organizer of the Women’s March on Washington, the largest political protest in U.S. history—have become the subjects of character assassination campaigns aimed at delegitimizing their work to unite and empower Muslims and all Americans.

In this context, Wajahat Ali will moderate a conversation between four notable Muslim public figures, AJ+ journalist Ahmed Shibab-Eldin, award winning fantasy novelist G. Willow Wilson, poet Afaq Mahmoud, and journalist Noor Tagouri. This town hall-style discussion will explore the roles that celebrities and other public figures can choose to play—or not—when their own communities are under attack.

Wajahat Ali is the award-winning playwright of The Domestic Crusaders, one of the first major plays about the American Muslim experience. Ali is the lead author and researcher of the seminal report on Islamophobia in America entitled “Fear Inc.: Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” published by Center for American Progress in August 2011. Foreign Policy magazine praised the report as “a remarkable piece of investigative work, showing how a small set of right-wing foundations and individuals have bankrolled the most vocal Islamophobes in contemporary U.S. politics.” Ali is a frequent consultant on social entrepreneurship, Islam and Muslim Americans issues, and post- 9/11 Muslim American identity and politics.

G. Willow Wilson is a comic book writer and novelist. Her works include the New York Times bestselling comic book series MS MARVEL, winner of the Hugo Award; and the novel ALIF THE UNSEEN, winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. In 2015, PEN America awarded her special recognition for Innovation in Graphic Literature. Willow currently resides in Seattle with her husband and children.

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is an Emmy-nominated journalist for AJ+. In 2015, he featured on the Arabian Business power list of the planet’s 100 Most Influential Young Arabs. In 2012 he was featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of “young disruptors, innovators, and media entrepreneurs impatient to change the world.” In 2014, Ahmed left HuffPost Live, which he co-created in 2012 and hosted and produced for the live-streaming news network for two years. There, he developed and hosted World Brief, a 30 minute interactive global news show. 

Afaq Mahmoud, or Fofo, is a long-term Philly-based poet, writer, photographer, educator, performer, and human rights activist with a strong passion for people and an unshakable belief in the changes we can make together. She uses her experience and the violence she has seen as an immigrant and Darfur refugee to impact change and combat injustices and atrocities. She uses her vision and voice to spread messages of love, identity, education, equality, and peace to people throughout the world.

Noor Tagouri’s passion for storytelling stems from the desire to expose cultural injustices and combat the challenges facing women on a global scale. One of the most talked about young adults in the country, Tagouri has embarked on a unique journey to achieve her dreams, breaking down significant barriers in the process. From graduating at one of the top journalism schools at the age of 20, to serving as an on-air reporter for Newsy, she is a force to be reckoned with. One of her latest success stories to add to the hearty list is recently being named one of Playboy Magazine’s 2016 Renegades, further showcasing how Tagouri isn’t afraid to break the rules and norm within her capacity in order to succeed in doing all that she loves. She will soon premiere a series called “A Woman’s Job” with Newsy.

Rumana Ahmed joined the White House right out of college, in 2011. She served as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Public Engagement, where she focused on outreach to the Muslim and Arab American communities. For the last three years she served as a senior advisor to President Obama on the National Security Council. She resigned last month, eight days into the Trump administration.


*Programming note : Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, Ibtihaj Muhammad will no longer participate in the event.

This event was organized in cooperation with The Muslim Protagonists. The M Word is supported by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges program.