March is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the celebrations are over. Women around the world have been making long strides and changes in the world, from gaining more seats in public office to the amazing women’s march. March 27th marks Muslim Woman’s Day and we need to celebrate.
Although the Trump Administration has brought us numerous headaches, it has brought some good as well. Women have united more than ever under the new administration. We want our voice to be heard and we want our bodies to be respected. Muslim women have been one of many primary targets of oppression. The Muslim ban, rising Islamophobia and attacks on the Muslim community is a major cause for concern that makes it all the more necessary to educate society on the importance of women’s rights.
Here are five prominent Muslim women to remember on Muslim Women’s Day:
On November 8, 2016, Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American Muslim woman to be elected to a state legislature. She was born in Somalia and lived in a Kenyan refugee camp for four years before immigrating to the United States. Omar was distressed to learn that there was still racial and economic discrimination, and religious intolerance, but that only spurred her into going into politics.
We all remember her appearance at the Democratic National Convention, although for some, it might not be a positive experience. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee at the time, attacked her for not speaking while her husband spoke about their late son, U.S. Army Captain Hymayun Khan. She later responded to Trump’s statements in The Washington Post, which sparked hundreds of Muslim American women to lash out on social media.
Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian-American political activist. After the September 11 attacks, she volunteered for the Arab American Association of New York. She pushed for the recognition of Muslim holidays and later became the Executive Director for the Arab American Association of New York after the previous director was killed in a car accident. Sarsour is well known as a co-chair and organizer for the Women’s March following Trump’s inauguration on January 21, 2017. She also helped raise over $160,000 to help rebuild a vandalized Jewish cemetery in Missouri.
You don’t have to work in politics to be considered a Muslim Women’s activist. Nura Afia was named one of CoverGirl’s ambassadors for their #LashEquality campaign. Nura became the first hijab-wearing ambassador for CoverGirl, and hopefully not the last. She began as a beauty blogger on YouTube in 2012 and currently has over 200,000 subscribers. Afia’s hard work is helping normalize the hijab in media and in the beauty industry. Her videos on YouTube also help young Muslim girls to feel more confident with their bodies and religion.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is the founder and editor of MuslimGirl, an online magazine for Muslim women. Her platform helps represent Muslim women through its articles, web series, speeches, and much more. Al-Khatahtbeh also released her book MuslimGirl: A Coming of Age on October 18, 2016, which recounts her childhood and growing up after September 11. She’s a huge inspiration to Muslim women due to her success, strength, and voice in mainstream media.