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Shahnaz Taplin-Chinoy – Huffington Post – Friday, 10 January 2014 (originally published 10 Jan)
As we herald 2014 with hopes for peace, prosperity and harmony, I look into the crystal ball and identify a short list of contemporary Muslim women change makers — locally, nationally and globally. The six Muslim women track the challenges their Islamic sisters confront and work to eradicate their disadvantages by advancing their rights. These thought leaders, activists, scholars, students and entertainers keep the flame of hope alive for their Muslim sisters in a myriad strategic ways.
Some of the heroines listed below I know, others I do not but I salute them all for staying the course, despite the odds. They fight vociferously for Muslim women in multiple spheres including education, employment and empowerment — the mantra of our non-profit, Invest in Muslim Women. Islamic scriptures often support women’s rights — but cultural norms often negate and stifle Muslim women.
Daisy Khan, Executive Director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement was prescient in organizing and leading the first Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE) in 2006. The purpose of ASMA is to “empower” Muslim women around the world. Daisy weathered 9/11 as a New Yorker, became an articulate voice for moderate and compassionate Islam even as she continued her trajectory as a a phenomenal social and serial entrepreneur. Dedicated to developing an American Muslim identity, Daisy hosts a council of women who scrutinize the Quran to get a firm handle on Muslim women’s rights. She builds bridges between the Muslim community and the general public and mentors young Muslims on challenges of assimilation, gender, religion and modernity. Daisy is hailed as a healer, a link between moderate Islam and the West, and a force for equality for Muslim women . . .