There are some amazing hijab-wearing women out there. Women who challenge the notion that Muslim women are all oppressed and downtrodden. Women who flout convention and fly the face of expectations. Women who challenge stereotypes and change the world.
As Linda Sarsour, one of the Women’s March on Washington organisers said, “If you’re in a movement and you’re not following a woman of colour, you’re in the wrong movement.”
Here are fifteen hijab-wearing Muslim women we think you should have on your radar:
Noor is an American journalist of Libyan descent, and the first hijab-wearing woman to be featured in the pages of Playboy. Her interview with the magazine was just one moment in a career as a journalist that pushes at the boundaries of what Muslim women can do. She is currently set to release a documentary on the American sex trade.
Infamous for being the ‘most hated Muslim in Australia’, Yassmin is an outspoken Australian activist and engineer. Her 2015 TED talk, and her early activism in Australia to empower young people has garnered her much praise. She is a writer, and advocate for a number of issues, from diversity to countering Islamophobia and racism.
Sabeena is a British book blogger, writer and the online library curator for Media Diversified. She is also the Festival Coordinator for Bare Lit Fest, an annual literature festival that celebrates writers of colour. She is also editing an upcoming anthology called ‘Cut From the Same Cloth’, which aims to explore the experiences of women who wear the hijab, giving them the power to tell their own stories.
Ibtihaj was the United States’ first hijab-wearing athlete to compete in the Olympics. The Bronze medallist has since advocated for better access to sports for young Muslim women, and even released her own line of clothing!
We’ve all heard Malala’s story – as a teen, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, and became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite the fact that she’s a full-time current undergraduate student at Oxford University, Malala still works with her charity, the Malala Fund, which funds and advocates for girls’ education across the world.
A long-term advocate for the rights of the Muslim, Arab and Palestinian community, Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian American activist and proud New Yorker who worked towards state recognition of non-Christian religious holidays. She is also a member of the Women’s March organising committee and is committed to countering the damaging actions of the Trump administration.
Queen of the Great British Bake Off (and our hearts), Nadiya has been taking Britain by storm since her Bake Off win. She has presented BBC shows, written cookbooks and children’s stories, all whilst gracefully putting down the Twitter trolls who send her regular abuse.
Self-styled as ‘The Brown Hijabi’, Suhaiymah is a poet and writer, whose poem ‘This is not a Humanising Poem’, performed at The Last Word Festival 2017, went viral, opening up the conversation about Islamophobia, both in the UK and beyond.
In her recent memoir, Daring to Drive, women’s rights activist Manal talked about the events that led to her spearheading the 2011 driving protest movement in Saudi Arabia, and the price she paid for defying the society she grew up in.
Flouting convention and flying the face of expectations about Muslim women, Zahra is the first hijabi woman to compete in international figure skating competitions whilst wearing a hijab. At first, she was penalised for covering her hair, but after petitioning the International Skating Union, has helped to change the rules to allow for head coverings in the sport.
Known on YouTube as ‘Dina Tokio’, the famous British fashion blogger is never one to shy away from her detractors. She pushes at the boundaries of style for Muslim women, proving that being modest doesn’t mean being boring.
The UK’s first female newsreader to wear the hijab, Channel 4’s Fatima Manji has had to grow a thick skin. She is constantly subject to racist and Islamophobic abuse for doing her job, but is one of the UK’s most promising broadcast journalists, with several awards under her belt.
Dalia was the first hijabi woman in the White House. As an advisor to President Obama, she worked on the US-Muslim Engagement Project. As a scholar, she holds many important positions, including Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), and CEO of her own consulting agency.
Copenhagen’s Sherin Khankan is the Imam at the first European women-led mosque, in Denmark. A proud feminist, she and the other women running Mariam mosque in Copenhagen perform ceremonies that other mosques shy away from, from inter-faith marriages, to divorces, centring the rights of women in all they do.
A British-born basketball player, Asma is known for her work in to a worldwide campaign urging the International Basketball Federation to lift the ban on religious headgear in elite sports. She is also a coach and poet, who aims to empower females through sport and the arts.
Any more Hijab-wearing women we should know about? Let us know: