This past Saturday, October 23, 2010, Zeba Khan spoke on CNN about the recent firing of NPR news analyst Juan Williams, over his controversial statements about Muslims. This is neither the first of Ms. Khan’s televised appearances as an expert on the Muslim American experience nor her only journalistic accomplishment since coming through an Op-Ed Project seminar in April 2009. Zeba first attended The Op-Ed Project seminar at the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow Conference, led by Mentor-Editor Stacy Sullivan. Taking the skills she acquired and her own unique voice, Zeba, with Stacy’s feedback, contributed her first op-ed on the lack of Muslims in the political sphere to the Huffington Post in September 2009.
Barely two months later, Zeba was matched with Mentor-Editor Marci Alboher to work on her second op-ed,“The women of the web,” about how the internet and social networking could be used to tap into the wealth of female voters on issues of healthcare. She submitted this piece to The Washington Post’s ‘America’s Next Great Pundit’ Competition and was selected as one of ten—out of 4,800 entries—to compete. She ultimately placed first runner-up in the entire competition.
Just this past month, The Op-Ed Project and Mentor-Editor Katherine Lanpher promoted Zeba for the Intelligence Squared Debates, a live event that was broadcast on Bloomberg TV and on over 200 NPR stations. Zeba debated with Maajid Nawaz on whether Islam is a religion of peace with excellent oppositional opinions from Ayann Hirsi Ali and Douglas Murray. The producers of CNN were watching and called Zeba to comment this past Saturday upon the controversy surrounding the firing of Juan Williams. During her appearance, she proposed that sound bites are not sufficient in understanding the complexity of an opinion and that the opportunity to explain thought processes is necessary: an important lesson to be learned in the bite-driven world of media. Zeba is a writer and a social media consultant for nonprofits and has written on many topics including women and minority issues in the Muslim World and Islam in America. Zeba represents The Op-Ed Project’s belief that op-ed’s are a democratic forum in which multiple voices can first be heard and eventually pervade the public discourse.
Take a Look at our previous ‘Ask an Insider’ profile of Zeba Khan on The Byline Blog. http://bit.ly/OEPKhan