If you haven’t already heard about TED, it is a revolutionary non-profit organization dedicated to spreading ideas and innovations through cutting edge talks; ‘ideas worth spreading’. Since 1984, TED has been in search of the most creative, unusual and ground-breaking concepts to stir your intellectual curiosity. From visionaries in technology, science, entertainment and more, TED provides a platform for them to share their stories with the world.
In more than 100 languages, TED talks invite speakers from all backgrounds and all ages, including many influential people from the Muslim community. Before you get overwhelmed with over 1,400 TED talks you can choose from, here is our pick of 5 must-see TED talks, by inspiring Muslim speakers, to get you started:
1) Calling on the 10,000 | Noor Tagouri
22-year-old Libyan-American Noor Tagouri is determined to be the first hijabi anchor on commercial television in the United States, launching a global campaign in 2012 called #LetNoorShine. As well as being an associate journalist for CBS radio (in her home town, Washington DC), she travels the globe as a motivational speaker, sharing her ‘personal legend’.
Tagouri’s passion for her work stems from cultural injustices and hardships faced by women, and her determination to inspire others to reach their true potential in life. In this motivating and inspiring TED talk, Tagouri’s flair for storytelling reveals her journey through challenging stereotypes as she becomes one of America’s rising young adults in the media.
2) Superheroes inspired by Islam | Naif Al-Mutawa
Alongside the Justice League of America comes Naif Al – Mutawa’s groundbreaking new comic book heroes ‘The 99’. These revolutionary characters are fighting modern day evils in the forms of extremism and religious stereotypes, to save the world. Named after the 99 attributes of Allah, the heroes are from 99 different countries reflecting Islam in its true multicultural form as well as the comic itself, being licensed in 8 different languages so far.
Al-Mutawa tells his story on the evolution of this innovative comic book and its growth across the world; from publishing the book with a team of talented artists and writers to the opening of The 99 village theme park in Kuwait to designing and releasing a full 29- episode animated series. Al-Mutawa brilliantly creates the comic and the heroes to present the traditional and tolerant messages of Islam in a modern and thrilling fashion, fit for all audiences.
3) What do you think when you look at me? | Dalia Mogahed
Muslim scholar and director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding Dalia Mogahed shares her personal and powerful story to the world. In 2009 she served on Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, advising the president on tackling social problems through faith-based organisations and was the former director of the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies; her research and findings breaking stereotypes and misconceptions of Islam.
In her compelling TED talk, she relates her experiences before, during and in the aftermath of 9/11 and the very personal effect it had on her and her family, as well the public perceptions she dealt with. She describes how she fights negative perceptions of Islam, especially in the media, and why it is so important to encourage empathy over prejudice in such turbulent times.
4) A Saudi woman who dared to drive | Manal al-Sharif
In May 2011 Manal al-Sharif filmed herself driving a car in Saudi Arabia, where it is strictly banned for women to drive. After uploading it onto YouTube, she began her campaign, Women2Drive, and reached out to women to support her for gender equality in her country. After gaining 12,000 supporters on Facebook, in reaction to her video, she called out for women to drive together on June 17, in protest of the strict custom.
The extremely empowering and witty TED talk uncovers the struggle al-Sharif went through after challenging the government and the people of her country, how she caused a colossal shift in Saudi society and how she gained worldwide attention in the women rights movement.
5) I am a mad Arabian woman | Tamadher Al Faha
In this TED Talk, Bahraini artist Tamadher Al Fahal explores the many contradictions and conflicts she faces being a Muslim woman in the Middle East. She reveals the constant struggle between culture and religion that she faces in her everyday life, and how using her art and creativity she found the balance.
In 2012, Tamadher teamed up with a dozen young artists in Bahrain to produce art that would reflect identity and culture in a modern and, perhaps sometimes ironic, fashion. Through this inspiring talk she shows her brilliantly witty breakthrough with her ‘Diary of a Mad Arabian Woman’ publication – a small non-commercial magazine unveiling her feelings and thoughts on many cultural and religious topics.
Author: Ayesha Dar