By Afsana Rahman ’18

Although the common belief that women are oppressed in Islam is shared among many people, the fact of the matter is that women are allowed to prosper just as much as men are.  Not only is it a given that we can pursue what we want to pursue, many women have taken this given and have made a difference in their communities and also the world.  

One area in which w e are seeing Muslim women prosper is definitely in politics. Dalia Mogahed, the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, was known as one of Obama’s “closest advisors” during his term, and has advocated for the Muslim voice when it comes to big decisions. In New York, Carolyn Walker, made history as the first judge to be sworn in on the Qur’an, and also as the first Muslim, hijabi judge.  The addition of Muslim women in politics has not only happened in America.  In Saudi Arabia, Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi became the first female councilor and in 2015, Saudi Women got their first chance to vote and hold seats in parliament.  

In terms of sports, Ibtihaj Muhammad has definitely taken the world by storm.  Due to the clothing restrictions of certain sports, fencing became her outlet for her athletic pursuits while still following her religion.  She competed in the Olympics and has become one of the best female fencers in the entire world.  Also in sports, Aseel Shaheen officiated at Wimbledon and although there was initial disagreement over it, her officiating has been accepted and this has opened up more opportunities for Muslim women to pursue any field they can imagine.

In the social media and fashion industry, women like Noor Tagouri and Halima Aden are making their own statements.  Noor Tagouri is on her way to become a hiajbi anchor and her goal has received a lot of support from media outlets such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  She has even started her own campaign, #LetNoorShine, which encourages young people to strive for their best and do what they want to do with their future.  Halima Aden, became the first hijabi model to walk in NYFW and in the Kanye Yeezy show.  Although modeling wasn;t her initial inspiration, she has learned to love it and has been a great example of representation of Muslims in the modeling world.

In a world where we are being constantly put down and being told that we can’t it is important to realize that we actually can do a lot.  We have so many opportunities gives to us and we have to learn to take advantage of them.  Each and every one of us has the capacity to become someone who makes a difference, someone who sparks a change.  These women are just a few of the people we can look up to as role models in our journey to achieve our goals.  We should always aim to be the best versions of ourselves and never let the opinions thrown at us by others make us forget our objectives.

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