How can Muslim Americans—a highly educated, diverse group numbering four million people—become the heroes of their own narratives? Islamophobia exploits the gap between the perception and reality of Muslims and Islam, and has cast Muslim Americans as villains in the post-9/11 global soap opera. This important problem has profound implications on culture, politics, society, and even national security. In this talk, Wajahat Ali reveals the true nature of this complex issue and how it can be overcome. Americans—of all ethnicities and religious persuasions—can and must unite to ensure that this scapegoating never happens to anyone else, regardless of race, orientation, religion, or creed. We must look to our past to pave the way for a dynamic, bold future for Muslim Americans.
Wajahat Ali is a journalist at Al Jazeera America. He helped launch the network as co-host of the daily news show, The Stream. A lawyer, award-winning playwright, and consultant for the U.S. State Department, he is author of The Domestic Crusaders—the first major play about Muslim Americans, post-9/11. In 2012, Ali worked with the U.S. Department of State to design and implement the “Generation Change” leadership program to empower young social entrepreneurs.