Bassam Tariq

The Muslim community is so unique, so beautiful. We must find the creative courage to tell our stories.

TED Fellow and Director of These Birds Walk

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Bassam Tariq | TED Fellow and Director of These Birds Walk
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Bassam Tariq is a TED Fellow and director of the acclaimed film These Birds Walk. Through his work—as a filmmaker, blogger, and halal butcher shop owner—he shares intimate stories of Muslims from around the world. A captivating storyteller who recently received a standing ovation at TEDGlobal, Tariq talks about social entrepreneurship, overcoming stereotypes, and what it’s like to be a Muslim in America today. 

“[These Birds Walk] is a somber literary masterpiece. Gosh, I love this film. Its every moment touches my heart.”

— RogerEbert.com

Bassam Tariq’s Sundance-funded film These Birds Walk, about street children in Karachi, Pakistan, made The New Yorker, IndieWire, and Sight & Sounds Magazine's best of the year lists. “Through Asad’s rounds and Omar’s story—his family awaits in desolate Taliban territory—the filmmakers record the flash of youth’s headlong energies, its bumps and bruises, and its melancholies and brilliant chaos,” writes The New York Times. His viral 30 Mosques adventure blog, where he visited Muslim communities from around the country, made the front page of Time.com and CNN.com twice. It was named as CNN’s most notable story of 2011. He also made Filmmaker Magazine’s coveted “25 Directors to Watch” list. These days, he can be found working at his sustainable halal butcher shop, Honest Chops, in the East Village (featured in New York Magazine) or in Greenwich Village developing his next feature film at Radical Media.

Speech Topics

Religion
The Beautiful and Complicated History of Muslim America

The PEW Research shows that the majority of Americans continue to have a negative perception of Islam. But the story of Muslims in America is vast and more complicated than you think: A newly converted man finds love in a South Dakota prison; a refugee community heals from the wounds of the Balkan wars in Idaho; a family in the Midwest negotiates directly with ISIS.

For the past eight years, Bassam Tariq has travelled to all 50 states chronicling stories for his viral travelogue 30 Mosques in 30 Days and his many ongoing writing projects. In this talk, he brings the complex history of Muslim America to life: starting from the African burial grounds found at the World Trade Center site to the present day War On Terror’s targeting of Muslims. Through first-hand accounts, Bassam Tariq gives a deeply intimate look into the diverse lives lived in Muslim America. Each personal, deeply empathetic story gives the audience a unique glimpse into the lives lived everyday by people just like them.

 
Diversity & Race
Redefining Diversity Driving Innovation in the Workplace

Many companies continue to scratch their heads on what “diversity in the workplace” means. Consultants are paid good money to help these companies figure out the answer. The truth is simple but harder to digest: diversity is not just about understanding, it is also about accepting what we won’t be able to understand. In this candid talk, Bassam Tariq presents a bold definition of diversity. He takes us on a personal journey through his constant fear of being pigeonholed. A blogger, filmmaker, and also a butcher, he relates his disparate professions as a response to the complicated history that America has had with diversity and makes the case for diversity always being the factor that drives innovation.

 
Entrepreneurship
The Case for the Trillion Dollar Market
Ogilvy & Mather, a leading ad agency, has projected the 2014 spending in the global halal market at USD 2.3 trillion dollars. Yes, trillion dollars. This includes Islamic financing, cosmetics, food, and meat. Unfortunately, the majority of people jumping into the faith-driven market are taking shortcuts and taking advantage of people’s orthodoxy. Bassam, the co-founder of a thriving halal meat business Honest Chops in New York City, speaks of the rich opportunities in the halal market. From a wide array of case studies, he will share the stories of why many halal businesses have failed, and why others have have succeeded. Bassam makes the bold case that the halal market is the perfect intersection of social entrepreneurship and faith-based purchasing.