Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Muslim Women are Taking Over

Not only as a women and gender studies major, but as a woman in general, I am passionate about women's rights. I'm proud to say that today, women in general are achieving higher positions in society. I'm even more proud that Muslim women are among those women that are achieving significant roles in the world. For a long time, I've wanted to share a post about successful Muslim women because I believe that Muslimahs today need more role models to look up to. Although I'm sure Oprah and Beyonce are great people, as Muslim women we need role models that will help us to stay on the straight path. Some of the women I am featuring today are well known, while others may be new to you. Regardless, they are all inspirations and have worked hard to become successful women. I hope that the success of these women will prove to show that Muslim women are not oppressed and are in fact essential assets to society. 
Muna AbuSulayman 
Muna is a media personality from Saudi Arabia and one of the hosts of Kalam Nawaem, a popular program on MBC Arabic television. The show is hosted by four women, all from different backgrounds, discussing mainly issues concerning women. Issues range from polygamy to divorce to domestic violence. Muna's popularity on Kalam Nawaem earned her the title of the "Saudi Oprah." In 2005, Muna AbuSulayman became the first woman in Saudi Arabia appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations Development Programs. As a popular public speaker, Muna travels internationally speaking at conferences and business meetings. Muna AbuSulayman is truly breaking down barriers, as just until recently, Saudi Arabia had strict rules against women's job choices. As a role model to Muslim women, she is displaying through her actions that it is possible to be a strong woman both in faith and the world simultaneously. 

Khadija Ben Ganna
This next inspirational woman may be familiar to you if you watch al-Jazeera news. Khadija Ben Ganna is an Algerian journalist and anchor on the news network. I found her to be an inspiration because she made the transition from non-hijabi to hijabi in front of the whole world. After deliberating with herself for three years and "defeating the devil", one day before eid al fitr, Khadija decided to wear the hijab. Unlike many Muslim women in the professional world, Khadija was lucky as to not have to choose between her faith and her profession. "The board of directors' view was that it was a personal matter that would only be evaluated on a professional basis," she said. The decisive moment over wearing the hijab came to Khadija Ben Ganna when she had a one-on-one with Omar Abdul Kafi, an Egyptian Islamic preacher who appears on another al-Jazeera programme. 

Queen Rania 
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan is basically the Middle Eastern version of the late Princess Diana. Besides being a Queen, she is a mother, a wife, a boss, and a humanitarian. Queen Rania doesn't merely hold the title of "Queen." She makes an effort to speak directly with the people of Jordan to find out what they need to improve their lives. Children's education is an important issue to Queen Rania and she has addressed the issue and already made an effort to improve the quality of schooling in Jordan. Queen Rania is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller, 'The Sandwich Swap.' MashAllah this woman pretty much does it all. Her multiple roles still don't compare to her two most important roles as wife and mother. Queen Rania is married to King Abdullah II ibn Hussein of Jordan and has four beautiful children. 

Hanan Turk
Hanan Turk is one of my favorite public figures today. She is a famous Egyptian actress and a former ballerina. Hanan Turk is so inspirational to me because at the height of her fame, she chose Allah over everything mashAllah. Knowing that she would receive a major pay cut by deciding to wear the hijab, Hanan did not care about worldly matters. After about four years of researching, Hanan made the life changing decision to wear hijab in 2006. When asked why she chose to wear the hijab she said, "I am a celebrity here on Earth, but what I want to be is a celebrity in the eyes of God, in the heavens." Prior to hijab, Hanan was admired by millions of fans in the Arab world. Now, she is admired by a different set of fans world wide. Since 2007, Hanan Turk became an ambassador to Islamic Relief, an International Charity Organization. She has traveled to countries such as Sudan, Iraq, and the United States completing charity work. Hanan Turk hopes to be a role model for practicing Muslims everywhere and she also hopes to help the impoverished world.
Read the Interview with Hanan Turk on her journey to Hijab!  

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