“I’m completely ordinary. I’m not an exception. My story is not unusual. I am as ordinary as they come. When you meet people who seem like an exception to the rule, oftentimes it’s that the rule is broken, not that they’re an exception to it.” – Dalia Mogahed

When people look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what they see depends on their cultural influence. Mogahed is a woman of faith, a scholar, a mom, and a sister. But because of overwhelmingly negative depictions of Muslim people, she is often perceived as an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist.

As director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, Mogahed keeps her finger on the pulse of the Muslim world. She served on Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009, advising the president on how faith-based organizations can help government solve persistent social problems.

In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith and to choose empathy over prejudice. This talk was presented at an official TED conference. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a media organization which posts talks online for free distribution, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading.”

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Dalia Mogahed