20 Awesome Muslim Change Makers

Real Heroes You Don't Always Hear About! We Salute Them!

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The Ummah is filled with amazing people, doing incredible things. There are so many that we can’t possibly show them all at once, but we will be creating more lists of inspirational people, so send us your suggestions and together lets inspire the world. Here are just a few of those who make up the awesomeness of our global community.

Aftab Malik

Aftab Malik

Aftab Malik is a Former Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Ethnicity and Culture at the University of Birmingham and currently a designated Global Expert on Muslim affairs for the United Nations’ Alliance of Civilizations.

Professor John L. Esposito, one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars on the Muslim World, has called Aftab “a first rate scholar,” and the academic journal, The Muslim World Book Review, has called him “a rising intellectual star.”

G. Willow Wilson


G. Willow Wilson began her writing career at the age of 17, when she freelanced as a music and DJ critic for Boston’s Weekly Dig magazine. Since then, she’s written the Eisner Award-nominated comic book series Air and Mystic: The Tenth Apprentice and the graphic novel Cairo. Her first novel, Alif the Unseen, was a New York Times Notable book and winner of the 2013 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. She currently writes the bestselling monthly comic book series Ms. Marvel for Marvel Comics.

Nazeem Hussain

Photo Credit: www.nazeemhussain.com

Nazeem Hussain is the star of his own critically-acclaimed TV show, ‘Legally Brown’, which aired on SBS in 2013 and 2014. The show broke ground with it’s boundary-pushing content and received wide spread critical acclaim.

Prior to ‘Legally Brown’, Hussain was a regular on the Comedy Channel’s hugely successful, ASTRA award-winning ‘Balls of Steel Australia’. His self-created character, Calvin Khan – the Very Foreign Correspondent, saw his episodes achieve the highest ratings of the season and he returned in season 2. Hussain also starred on the cult-hit Salam Café on SBS, which was nominated for a Logie Award in 2009, and has worked as a presenter on Triple J.

Yvonne Maffei


Yvonne Maffei, M.A., is the publisher of MyHalalKitchen.com, a halal food and cooking blog showcasing culinary tips and healthy halal recipes anyone can make. She is also the author of the cookbook Summer Ramadan Cooking which was published in 2011 to showcase the food rituals of Ramadan and the variety of global cuisine that can be made halal.

Dustin Craun


Dustin Craun is the Founder and Executive Editor of Ummah Wide, a digital media startup focused on stories and cultures that transcend the global borders and boundaries of the Muslim, Interfaith and Human family.

He is a writer, community organiser, an anti-racist educator and a communications strategist who has worked with more than twenty-five different non-profit and social movement based organizations over the last twelve years in the United States, Mexico, and Ghana. Dustin works on the clergy organizing team for the PICO National Network building Muslim Community organizing into the largest faith based community organinizing network in the United States. His writings have been featured in publications such as Adbusters, and he is working on publishing his first book titled Decolonizing Whiteness.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied


Yassmin was awarded the 2015 Queensland Young Australian of the Year award. She is a mechanical engineer, a social advocate, writer, and petrol head. She advocates for the empowerment of youth, women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.  Yassmin is also deeply passionate about diversifying public voices, connecting people and catalysing change. At sixteen, Yassmin Abdel-Magied founded Youth Without Borders, an organisation focused on enabling young people to work for positive change in their communities.

Mark Gonzales


Mark Gonzales has over 15 years of experience in global research aggregating emotional intelligence, sacred education, design thinking and human development, through his work, he is actively reshaping genetic memory. As Chief Storyteller for WageBeauty, he brings his trademark synthesis of poetry and the psychology of every day people to an analog world and digital sphere.

Muna AbuSulayman

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Muna AbuSulayman is a mother, business leader and traveler. Muna created her eponymous celebrity fashion line out of the evident need for more modest clothing. In 2010, the Muna AbuSulayman fashion brand was born into a luxurious collection of tops, dresses and scarves based on Muna’s personal style and aesthetic. It represents all things that she loves about fashion and how she mixes it to create her own unique style.

Irfan Khairi

Photo Credit: www.irfankhairi.com

Irfan Khairi is a leading global expert in social media and e-commerce. As a much loved household name and media personality in Malaysia, Irfan continues to share his knowledge of the online world through his own training programs and courses.

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

Photo credit: https://www.ted.com/talks/ameenah_gurib_fakim_humble_plants_that_hide_surprising_secrets

Meet the newly elected President of Mauritius. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is a super star! She is an internationally renowned scientist, has published over 24 books, has a PhD in Chemistry, is a member of the Linnaean Society of London, the African and Islamic World Academy of Science of Jordan and the African Science Institute of the United States. She was awarded the L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science in 2007, the Bank One Ltd Emma Award in 2008 and the Economic and Social Council of Mauritius award. She also won the Women in Science of the African Union in 2009. If that wasn’t awesome enough, she was also appointed Commander of the Order Star and Key of the Indian Ocean, the highest distinction of Mauritius in 2008 and became a Knight of the Order of Academic Palms in 2009. #Winning!

Mohammed Faris


Mohammed Faris (Abu Productive) is the founder of ProductiveMuslim.com, an online social enterprise dedicated to boosting productivity in the Muslim World. He was born in Tanzania (of Yemeni descent) but spent the majority of his life growing up in Saudi Arabia when his parents migrated there. He later pursued his tertiary education at the University of Bristol in the UK where he graduated with a Masters in Finance and Investment.

Yasmin Mogahed

Photo credit: Facebook, Yasmin Mogahed

Yasmin Mogahed is an instructor for AlMaghrib Institute, a writer for the Huffington Post, an international speaker and author. She focuses most of her work on spiritual and personal development and has recently released her new book, Reclaim Your Heart, which is selling fast… so make sure to get your copy soon.

Aamer Rahman

Photo credit: https://mspiration.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/still-angry-aamer-rahman/

Aamer Rahman is a Melbourne-based standup comedian. After creating the critically acclaimed show Fear of a Brown Planet, with friend and fellow comedian, Nazeem Hussein, Aamer has taken the world by storm with his long-awaited debut solo show, which has taken him across Australia, the UK, Canada, and the USA.

Randa Abdel-Fattah

Photo Credit: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/faithfashion/women-in-profile/randa-abdel-fattah/randaabdelfattah/

Randa Abdel-Fattah is a published author, human rights advocate, and is often sought after for opinion pieces and speaking appearances. She has a background in law and has practiced as a litigation lawyer for almost 10 years. She is currently undertaking a PhD exploring everyday multiculturalism and racism in Australia.

Youssef Gaboune

Photo credit: Facebook, Youssef Gaboune

Youssef Gaboune is the Co-founder of How The World Works, Ethical Leaders and New Open Education. He is also Head of Business Development at Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center, based in Doha, Qatar. Youssef believes that the path of spirituality is embedded in the daily struggle of developing an ethical character, and seeking to learn from nature and from people from different cultures, beliefs, social status and ethnic backgrounds.

Mariam Veiszadeh

Photo credit: http://mariamveiszadeh.com

Mariam Veiszadeh is a Lawyer, Community Rights Advocate, and opinion piece writer. She is also a proud Ambassador for Welcome to Australia. Topping the list of 12 Muslim Australians Who Crushed It In 2014, by US news media website Buzzfeed, Mariam Veiszadeh was acknowledged for “leading the charge against Islamophobia” and classified as being part of “Australia’s best and brightest.”

Navid Akhtar

Photo Credit: www.crowdfundinsider.com

Navid Akhtar is the Founder and CEO of Alchemiya.com, a senior producer of documentaries and an award-winning journalist. He was specialist adviser to BBC Radio 5, after 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2003 he was a Senior Producer on Channel 4’s Hajj: Trip of a Lifetime, and has received awards from the Prix Europa for his radio programmes, and the Al Bruni award for Media – Muslim News Awards for Excellence. In 2005 he was awarded the Sanford St Martins Award, by the Church of England for his coverage of the BBC WORLD SERVICE 2005 – Hajj in Mecca.

Mona Shindy

Photo credit: Brendan Esposito for the SMH

Captain Mona Shindy is the Head of the Guided Missile Frigate System Program Office, she is also the Chief of Navy’s appointed Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs. As part of her role as Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs, Captain Shindy works to help create a better understanding among Defence members of the Islamic faith, traditions and cultural sensitivities.

Adnane Addioui

Photo credit: http://creativeshock.lt/conference/adnane-addioui-morocco/

Adnane Addioui is a social commentator, aspiring social entrepreneur and disruptive-thinker. He has committed his life to work in the MENA region, particularly in Morocco, to enable creative thinking,entrepreneurship and innovation for the common good. He has co-founded the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship where he currently serves as a Chief Visionary, he leads the country operations for Enactus Morocco, is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and an active member of the Junior Chamber International.

Dr Sakena Yacoobi

Photo credit: http://www.afghaninstituteoflearning.org/our-founder.html

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is the founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, the Professor Sakena Yacoobi Private Hospital in Herat, and the Professor Sakena Yacoobi Private High Schools in Kabul and Herat, Afghanistan.


The original version of this article was written by Reuben Brand and first published on Creative Ummah.


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