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Raza Ahmad RumiJournalismRaza Ahmad Rumi
Terrorism and extremism, radical Islam, Islamophobia, Pakistan-India-Afghanistan relations, human rights, international development, public policy

Overview

Raza Ahmad Rumi is a Pakistani expatriate and former television host, media commentator, and journalist. In the spring of 2014 he survived an assassination attempt by affiliates of Pakistani Taliban after being targeted for his progressive politics, advocacy for minority rights, and criticism of government and security policies in that country.

Rumi began his career as a civil servant in Pakistan, and worked on issues of governance and public policy throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific in positions with the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank. He became one of Pakistan’s first bloggers, and segued his career into journalism in the mid-2000s, when he began writing for the Friday Times, a weekly liberal newspaper in Pakistan. He joined the paper full time in 2008 (and continues to be its consulting editor) and eventually transitioned to television.

For several years, Rumi was a staple on primetime television in Pakistan, as host of a current events show on Capital TV, Express News and guest commentator on other programs. After the attempt on his life, which killed his driver and wounded his bodyguard, he left Pakistan and came to the United States.

Rumi currently holds a fellowship with the National Endowment for Democracy and is a past fellow with the United States Institute of Peace and the New America Foundation. He is a scholar in residence in the Ithaca College Honors Program, where he teaches journalism, South Asia politics and culture and writing.

Research Focus

Rumi writes and speaks extensively on topics related to terrorism and extremism, the radicalization of Islam and Islamophobia, violence against journalists and bloggers, Pakistan-India-Afghanistan relations and policy, human rights, international development and public policy, and South Asian politics and culture.

Quotes

“I've realized that the rise of Islamophobia is palpable, and in a large measure it has to do with the kind of media narratives that are woven around it. At the same time, there is a resistance to that, as well. Which is very heartening.” 

“What this experience has allowed me is to actually get to know America a little better than the America that I knew from my tourist visits in the past, or from what I knew from a distance — the imagined America. The imagined America is a superpower with high levels of prosperity, with everything perfect. [Yet] you come here, and you realize that's not the case. Yes it is a world power, but within American society, the cleavages, divisions, and tumult are no different from any other country.” 

Mentions in the Media

“Group reveals why it hacked student to death in street,” CBNews, April 9, 2016

Religious Minorities and Pakistan’s Identity Crisis (audio), Interfaith Voices, March 31, 2016

“A Crisis for Minorities in Pakistan,” The New Yorker, March 29, 2016

“Ithaca College Journalist and Scholar Discusses Roots of Radicalism in Pakistan,” Cornell Sun, March 28, 2016

“Why The Taliban Targeted Pakistan’s Christians: Lahore Attack Underscores Religious Minority’s Plight,” International Business Times, March 28, 2016

“A Woman Was Threatened With Handcuffs After She Refused to Remove Her Hijab in a Library,” Mic News, March 25, 2016

“Asylum Writer Wields Pen Against Sword,” Ithaca Times, March 24, 2016

“A year after Raza Rumi attack, little change for Pakistan’s beleaguered press,” Committee to Protect Journalists, March 2015

Publications

“Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveler” (2013)

‘The Fractious Path: Democratic Transition in Pakistan’ (2016)

The Role of Public Administration in Building a Harmonious Society (ed.)

“Media in the Cross Hairs: Militants continue to Target Journalists in Pakistan,” Center for International Media Assistance, April 7, 2016

“Pakistan Needs Deradicalization Programs. Force Alone Won’t Cure Intolerance,” Huffington Post, March 30, 2016

On the Run, Aeon Magazine, Nov 2015

“They Came For Me But Mustafa Was Killed Instead,” Huffington Post, March 29, 2016

“Badge of honour,” India Today, March 3, 2016

“ISIS, Muslims and the West,” Huffington Post, December 9, 2016