Youngest Swedish Minister, Sweden.
Aida Hadzialic was born in 1987 in Foča, Bosnia. When she was 5 years old, Aida and her family fled from the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina to Sweden. She graduated as a lawyer from Lund University in 2012, one of the best universities in Northern Europe. At the age of 23, Aida became the deputy mayor of the Swedish city Halmstad.
Aida, the Swedish politician for the Social Democrats, was named earlier in October 2014 the Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education Initiative in Sweden.
She is not just the youngest Minister ever to serve in a Swedish government but also the first Muslim Swedish minister.
Aida said that she became a social democrat because of the Swedish welfare model that gave her family new opportunities to start afresh after they fled from war. Throughout her life, she achieved many things and held different positions that make not only the Muslim world proud of such a talented lady, but the whole world as she is one of the greatest examples for all the women around the world.
Poet Extraordinaire, American.
Emtithal Mahmoud, known as Emi, is a senior at Yale University who won the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship (iWPS) on the 10th of October, 2015. The event was the largest competition in history with 96 poets competing against each other to win the title. Beltway Poetry Slam and Poetry Slam Inc. were the organizers for the annual four-day competition that was held in Washington DC.
Emi is originally from Darfur, Sudan. Her parents worked to raise awareness of the genocide (killing of large groups of people) that has affected the country. Her family escaped from Sudan to Yemen when she was a baby and then migrated to the United States in 1998. She was born into a family of writers and she wrote few rhyming couplets as a child, however, she was not sure if this was something that she wanted to pursue. Moreover, she did not even know what spoken word (performance-based poetry) until she joined Yale for Bulldog Days, which three day program packed with over 200 events.
Emi was also involved with Yale Refugee Project by contributing to an international research initiative and teaching youth spoken word poetry on campus to empower them with the power of voice in various communities. Also, she participated in and co-coached the Yale CUPSI slam team. Check the full story of her success at Yale News to be inspired by such a young Muslim girl who fought her way out to deserve this trophy. Also follow her on facebook to read more of her poems.
Covergirl of Running Magazine, American.
Rahaf Khatib, a 32-year-old mother of three from Farmington Hills, Michigan, competes for spot on running magazine’s cover. Rahaf, who was born in Syria and lived her life in the US, is aiming to be presented as the first female who wears the traditional head cover “Hijabi” on the cover of Runner’s World magazine. She completed her study at Wayne State University and she is a workout fan. She started running in marathons in 2012 when she decided to join Dearborn marathon and since then, she has been participating in events, such as triathlons and, in April, the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris in France.
Rahaf joined Runner World Cover Search Competition aiming to be one of “the two most awesome runners in America”. Up until today, a total of 25362 people voted for her. She has made it all the way to the top 10 finalists. The final round of the competition will take place on the 29th of October 2015. Rahaf has inspired her husband, Mouhammed Joumaa, her children and her friends to run. She was announced as “Hijabi of the Month” on the Haute Hijab website in June. Rahaf wants to solve some of the misconceptions related to her religion. She said that woman are not discouraged from being active as the Quran always reminds us of the duty to take care of our health.
Rahaf is pleased that the community is being positive, open minded and welcoming the idea as many local and national groups has been contacting her asking to start running clubs for Muslim women. She also encouraged the Muslim women saying:
“I preach to my fellow covered sisters that no matter how you look or what you wear, don’t let that stop you from running!”
Anousheh Ansari, as you all should be familiar with this name, is the first Muslim woman to go into space using her own funds. Recently, we have posted Anousheh’s story on our website, her success as an entrepreneur and her inspirational story to all the Muslim women around the world. If you have not read the article we posted about Anousheh Ansai then you should go and check it out.
H&M Model, British.
Mariah Idrissi is 23 years old who was born and raised in London. Her mother is from Pakistan and her father is from Morocco. She runs a Moroccan-inspired beauty salon in London, where she offers henna tattoos and special Halal nail polish. Mariah was skeptical when she received a call from a model scout asking her to participate in a new ad campaign for H&M, the second largest global retailer after Zara.
Mariah was discovered by H&M through her active page on Instagram. This makes Mariah the first Hijabi model in an H&M ad. She commented on H&M’s request saying:
“It might be because hijab fashion has boomed in the last few years and to finally see a hijabi [a woman who wears a hijab] in mainstream fashion is a big achievement”
When she was a teenager, Mariah participated on stage doing Islamic poetry, or Nasheed, which is a type of spoken word. Also, she worked with some British Muslim television channels. When she was 14, she performed her first poem about the Prophet Mohammed in front of 200 guests at a Malcolm X event in London. Years of participating in these events helped Mariah to build her self-confident. Mariah started wearing the Hijab when she was 17.
H&M provided a private dressing area for her and limiting male interaction. She also said that the cameraman would call a woman if he noticed something wrong, which is something that she was happy with because it shows some respect. Mariah has been approached by many Muslim women on her Instagram page to give tutorials on how she wears her turban hijab, a modern style that combines the desire to look Muslim and appear more fashionable. Muslim Girl Blog wrote about Mariah:
“She awakened the people. In a simple and quiet way she made others look at a Muslim woman without fear or contempt but with a healthy curiosity. Maria opened a conversation that has always been strained.”
Mariah shared some advises with the Muslim women through The Huffington Post stating:
“I would say, make sure your intentions are correct in terms of why you’re doing it. Hijab isn’t a fashion. We can adjust it to fashion but we have to remember that the sole purpose of the hijab is to be modest. If you know you haven’t corrected your inside first, there’s no point in putting a hijab on for the fashion side of it. Because then you’re defeating the object.”
“Rimo Pink Taxi”
Champion of Safety, Egyptian.
Reem Fawzi, the founder of Egypt’s pink taxi, hopes to eliminate the risks that many woman face while travelling by taxis in Cairo. Pink taxis must be ordered in advance. All pink taxi is operated by female drives and in order to insure the driver’s safety, customers are required to send a scan copy of their national ID. Every taxi comes with an internal camera, microphone and something called kill button to stop the car if needed.
According to the United Nations, 99.3% of women in Egypt fall victim to sexual harassment, which is a very high percentage. There were 447 incidents of sexual harassment in Cairo last month during Eid Al-Adha according to a facebook group gathering evidence on this matter.
Reem faced many criticism related to the idea of pink taxi. Many said that it encourages segregation of the sexes, and this undermines the cause of fighting against harassment. Others said that most of the sexual harassment happen on the roads and not in the taxi, so the idea is not really addressing the root issue. Journalist Wael Abdel Fattah said:
“The Pink Taxi only highlights the gravity of the problem but will never solve it.
Others argued that pink taxi is for women who can afford to take taxis, and so this solution ignores other women who use public transportation. The taxi’s price consider to be high related to the minimum wages across the country. As the cheapest ride is $35 and it goes up to $210, while the minimum wage paid is $1200 per month.
Other people welcomed the idea and supported it. Fouad al-Saeid from the National Center for Social and Criminological Research said supports the idea said:
“In a city like Cairo, our priority should be looking for as many practical solutions as possible to the problems, and the Pink Taxi is one such solution.”
Others said women feel much more at ease when the driver is also female. Professor of political sociology Saeid al-Sadeq suggested to start working on other issues like the phenomenon of moral deterioration among youths in Egyptian streets, while trying to provide solutions to the society such as Pink taxi idea. Moreover, Mona Abdel Radi, spokesperson for the Women of Egypt Front, added to reach out for the middle and poor society in Egypt:
“The project needs to be implemented on a larger scale so that, for example, women-only buses are made available,”
The inspiration and the hard work should never stop once a person starts, even if everyone around is criticizing the belief or the idea that you have, as long as it does not go against what Allah and the prophet PBUH has told us, then do not give up.
Featured Image Source: The Huffington Post UK
Written by Khulood Algafri.