E7S11 Challenging Islamophobia: Carving a Career Path for Rights with Dr. Maha Hilal

Summary & Key Takeways


In this episode (E7S11), titled "Challenging Islamophobia: Carving a Career Path for Rights," Social Change Career podcasts hosts, Craig and Catalina sit down with Dr. Maha Hilal as she shares her journey in advocating for Muslim rights and combating state violence. Dr. Hilal talks about the experience of writing and publishing her thought-provoking book that explores the consequences of the US's war on terror on Muslims.

Dr. Hilal, is a leading voice and expert on institutionalized Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and counternarrative work. As an author, advocate, and the founding Executive Director of Muslim Counterpublics Lab, she has dedicated her career to challenging dehumanizing narratives, and tirelessly advocating for rights and justice.

She delves into the importance of centering marginalized voices in the social justice movement and creating spaces where everyone feels supported. Throughout the episode, Maha highlights the interconnectedness of systemic injustices and stresses the need for long-term struggle and accountability and tips how to work for change, empowerment, counter-narratives and the opportunities and challenges of building a long-term career at the intersection of activism, advocacy and policy.

She discusses work with survivors of torture and abuse, emphasizing the responsibility to fight for justice and take a macro-level approach to address the root causes of societal issues. Listen as we delve into Dr. Hilal's transformative journey, her commitment to social justice, and her unwavering commitment to challenging Islamophobia.

Get ready to be inspired and motivated to make a difference in the world on this episode of the Social Change Career Podcast.

Bio: DR. MAHA HILAL is the author of Innocent Until Proven Muslim: Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and the Muslim Experience Since 9/11. Her writings have appeared in Vox, Al Jazeera, Middle East Eye, Newsweek, Business Insider, The Daily Beast, and Truthout, among others. Dr. Hilal is the founding Executive Director of Muslim Counterpublics Lab, an organization that works to disrupt and subvert dehumanizing narratives that are designed and deployed to justify state violence against Muslims, and a founding steering committee member of the Guantanamo Survivors Fund, which provides small grants to the survivors transferred out of U.S. detention.

Timestamped Overview

[00:08:41] Maha's family influences in her family and earlier years.

[00:15:48] How her Amnesty International Internship helped strengthen her commitment to working for long-term justice.

[00:19:59] Importance of working in social justice and the importance of a long-view.

[00:25:04] How Publishing her book, Innocent Until Proven Muslim is one of her proudest accomplishments.

[00:41:04] Her recommendations on whether to participate in existing government and other power structures or work from the outside.

[00:52:36] The importance of having peers as well community and support in academia and activism.

[00:57:15] Launching the Muslim narrative power fellowship and supporting survivors of state sponsored violence.

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