From re-defining religious and cultural stereotypes to embracing Islam unapologetically and breaking boundaries through their prolific work, Melan Mag contributor Sue Omar takes a moment to celebrate a diverse mix of Muslim women who are shattering the glass ceiling in real time…
When it comes to the portrayal of Muslim women in the mainstream media, images of veiled and voiceless hijabis often make headlines. So, it’s no wonder why the role that Muslim women should adopt – both within society and the home – according to Islamic rulings is often misunderstood. Now that Ramadan 2018 is in motion , there is no better time to make noise for the incredible Muslim women who challenge these misconceptions by simply living in their truth and emancipating others to follow suit. Ladies, we salute you!
Leyla Hussein, FGM Campaigner
#Aniga Photo by amazing somali photographer @sappricott so honored to have been photographed by her, @asliciyow and @samira46m thank you for creating and asking me to be part of an important photoshoot. #somaliexellence #somaliwomen #somalimum #psychotherapist #socialactivist #FreedomWriter #creator #somalidaughter #somalisisterhood
Leyla Hussein is a British-Somali Psychotherapist and multi-award winning FGM and gender rights campaigner who has impacted the lives of the thousands of Muslim women through her efforts. Notably, Leyla’s e-petition to ‘Stop FGM in the UK now’ attracted over 100,000 signatures, which raised the issue to the UK parliament and sparked-up a much-needed conversation on an issue that effects the lives of so many innocent women across the globe. She also co-founded a projected called Daughters Of Eve who work tirelessly to safe-guard young girls from FGM. Elsewhere, Leyla’s 2014 documentary “The Cruel Cut” with Channel 4 on FGM in the UK was nominated for a Bafta and continues to raise awareness on FGM through various projects and initiatives, internationally.
Ilhan Omar, Minnesota State Legislator
Ilhan Omar is a Somali-American politician who made history in 2016 when she was elected into the Democratic Farmer-Labor-Party of the Minnesota House of Representatives – making her the first Somali-American Muslim legislator to be voted into office in the United States. Fleeing Somalia through Kenyan refugee camps in 1995 and arriving in the US, Ilhan’s journey to the top took much resilience and courage. Ilhan authored 25 bills in her first session, all the while being a mother of three and a wife. In 2017, she was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, among 46 trailblazing women in special edition issue titled, “Firsts: Women who are changing the world.”
Hodhen Liaden, Colourism Activist and founder of @darkskinnedhijabis
This turban got me feeling some typa way 😵🐤✨ @idhclothing colour Goldfinch Polly @idhclothing was king enough to supply me with a discount code for you lovely ladies to use, inshallah it's HODHEN15 . . @v.laceworld lipsticks Alexia & Latte on my 👄 @sachacosmetics buttercup powder to set @v.laceworld palette in my eyes @nyxcosmetics vinyl liner 😎 @deciem foundation , review on the blog coming @demurelashes in MOONSHOT 🌙 #fenty #urbandecay #lookfantastic #katvond #alwayson #sachabuttercup #photofinish #smashbox #virtualskinperfector #hourglasscosmetics #iconicbae #anastasiabeverlyhills #benefitcosmetics #fauxfilterfoundation #modelsown #sleekmakeup #makeupgeek #macpatrickstarrr #darkskinnedhijabis #makeupforblackwomen #grassfields #buxombabe #BELLAAAGANG
23-year-old makeup artist and graphic designer Hodhen Liaden challenges the perceptions of conventional beauty standards through her Instagram page dedicated to @darkskinnedhijabis. As a colourism activist, Hodhen empowers women of colour to embrace their diverse skin-tones and celebrate the beauty of melanin. On her platform that boasts over 20K followers, you can expect to find an array of beauty tutorials and makeup inspiration that ooze black girl magic.
Kauthar Abdulaim, #MeTooMosque Campaigner
Following the launch of the #MeToo campaign in Hollywood earlier this year, Muslim Melbourne resident Kauthar Abdulaim bravely took to Facebook to share her own personal encounter with sexual harassment. In the post, Kauthar shared that she was sexually abused in the Islamic holy city of Mecca at the age of 10. Despite some backlash that Kauthar faced for sharing this traumatic incident, it encouraged other Muslim women to come forward and openly share similar stories on social media without feeling ashamed under the hashtag #MosqueMeToo.
Habiba da Sliva, Modest Fashion Influencer and Hijab Designer
Modest clothing is one of the fastest growing sectors in the fashion industry thanks to influencers such as Habiba da Sliva who have helped bring Islamic style into the limelight. Based in Birmingham, Habiba has close to 1 million followers on Instagram where she shares style, beauty and lifestyle posts that are adored by Muslim women from across the globe. What’s more, Habiba is a hijab designer and has released two seasons of her SKIN collection – that features nude shades to suit all skin-tones – since launching in 2017.
Amani Al Khatahbeh, Founder of MuslimGirl.com and Muslim Women’s Day
Founder of MuslimGirl.com, Amani Al Khatahbeh created her blog when she was 17 to create a space online for young Muslim women to share their own stories. Eight years later and the site has attracted over 1.7 million visitors and thousands of followers across all social platforms. Taking her mission to empower her fellow sisters of Islam to new heights, Amani officially launched Muslim Women’s Day on 27 March 2017 to celebrate the achievements of Muslim women and inspire them to embrace their voice.
Nesrine Daily, Personal Trainer and ThaiFit Ladies Head Coach
London-based personal trainer and fitness influencer Nesrine Daily has racked up an impressive 11k followers on her Instagram page @hijabi.lifts – where she shares her top workout tips – while dressed in modest fitness gear. Proving that wearing a hijab doesn’t limit your career prospects, Nesrine inspires both Muslim and non-Muslim women to get active through a full-body workout class that she runs called ThaiFit and is also a qualified Muay Thai fighter.
Muna Jama, Modest Fashion Model and Human Rights Activist
Muslim Miss Universe contestant Muna Jama made history in 2017 when she stayed true to her modesty and wore a kaftan during the swimsuit segment of the competition. Since then, the British-Somali model has walked on international catwalks and uses her platform to raise awareness on several humanitarian causes. Her #standwithsomalia fundraiser campaign that launched last year following the devastating attacks in Mogadishu last year, was backed by various prominent figures in the media and entertainment industry.