Muslim fashion blogger told by TV host: 'you don't sound like an American'

Muslim fashion blogger told by TV host: 'you don't sound like an American'

A TV station has been met with intense criticism after saying a Muslim fashion blogger didn’t “sound American”.

Iranian-American fashion blogger Hoda Katebi was invited on Chicago’s WGN News to talk about her book, 'Tehran Street Style'.

Rather than asking about her book, the presenters asked the Oklahoma-born Katebi about nuclear weapons and Iran.

Questions to which Katebi gave a nuanced response:

I don’t think we can trust this country [the US]. When we see the legacy of this country and the violence that it has not only created but also created the capacity for, a lot of these weapons in the Middle East are completely brought in by the Unites States.

Co-host Robin Baumgarten pointed out many Americans would not like her comments, adding:

You’re an American, you don’t sound like an American when you say [this].

Katebi, who studied international relations and Middle Eastern politics at University of Chicago, responded with ease.

That’s because I’ve read. I think that it’s really important that we look beyond these simple narratives that we’re told, whether it’s about Muslim women or the legacy of the country knowing that this country was literally built on the backs of black slaves and after the genocide of indigenous people.

There’s a lot that we can be proud about… but we shouldn’t let that blind-side us for the realities of the situation.

The implications of the presenter's comment about sounding American were not lost on Katebi, who later said in a vlog:

It’s incredibly loaded to be able to blatantly and openly tell a visibly Muslim woman on live TV that she doesn’t sound American. Because of all the baggage and all of the harm that can result afterwards.

After she got off air, she says she received “a lot of death threats”.

A WGN spokesperson told Guardian:

WGN-TV anchor Robin Baumgarten spoke with Hoda Katebi this morning. Robin apologised to Hoda and they had a constructive dialogue about micro-aggressions.

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