Local journalist mistaken for wife of Orlando shooter

The widow of the Orlando nightclub shooter, Noor Salman, was in court Wednesday.  Prosecutors say knew about the deadly attack ahead of time and now faces charges that could carry a life sentence.

Earlier this week, as the news first came out about Salman’s arrest, one online magazine, called Raw Story, reported the arrest. But, they falsely identified a former WUSA9 intern and local reporter as the widow of Omar Mateen.

As a reporter for Newsy, Noor Tagouri often covers stories about sub-cultures, women and minorities. “I take it from the angle that I have a perspective that most people don’t have,” says Tagouri. And as a Muslim-American journalist, that perspective became even clearer on Monday. “I just started getting a bunch of tweets from people who were tagging Raw Story. They were saying, ‘oh my gosh, you guys are using Noor Tagouri’s picture, this is wrong.'” Remembers Noor.

Noor clicked on the article and saw her face, right next to the headline that read: “Wife of Pulse Nightclub Killer Omar Mateen Arrested.”

The widow of Omar Mateen, Noor Salman was indeed arrested. Her name is Noor and she is Muslim. But that’s about all they have in common. “It was almost funny how ironic it was,” says Noor. “This isn’t something that’s terribly surprising.”

Noor Tagouri immediately tweeted Raw Story alerted them to the mistake. Her picture was removed within a few hours and replaced with Omar Mateen’s photo. But the one thing Noor really wanted, still hasn’t happened: a full retraction. “In journalism when you make a mistake that big you have to make a retraction,” she says.

But instead of waiting for that, Noor got to work and wrote her own response addressing what she says, is the real problem: Fake news and the misrepresentation of Muslim women. She titled the piece in Newsy, “My name is Noor, and I’m not Omar Mateen’s wife.”

“I kept thinking to myself this isn’t really about me. This is about the principal of the matter, this is something that happens to Muslim women all the time. Not in the sense that their pictures are misused, but in the fact that you are stereotyped based on how you look,” says Noor.

Noor says she did receive an email apology from someone at Raw Story two days after the article came out.


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