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6 Books to Celebrate Muslim Women’s Day

by  | March 27
Three books on couch with blankets

In the small Ohio town in which I grew up, there were pockets of diversity and communities of Indo-Pakistani people that I met through my mosque, but at my schools I was often the only non-white kid apart from my siblings. After 9/11, our community was attacked and our mosques were vandalized. We faced Islamophobia regularly, as did many Muslim-Americans around the country. It’s been almost two decades since that horrific event, but unfortunately the stereotypes and negative sentiments still persist. The emergence of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS further perpetuated the biases. But the truly frustrating thing is that their extremely radical teachings are not at all in line with the actual teachings in the Quran.

I was excited to learn about MuslimGirl.com and how Amani Al-Khatahtbeh wanted to shed light on what it really means to be of the Islamic faith. Through her efforts, she founded Muslim Women’s Day to highlight our voices and share our experiences. All the stories in these six books are from Muslim women who wanted to make a difference and share their various perspectives of what it’s like to grow up with the religion, as sisters in Islam. I hope you enjoy these reads to help broaden your understanding of our faith and how we all have different ways of finding our voice.

Muslim Girl

Muslim Girl

by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is the founder of MuslimGirl.com and helped create Muslim Women’s Day. At the age of nine, she watched with the rest of the country as everything changed after 9/11. In the months after, Islamophobia spread like wildfire, and she heard racial slurs targeted at Muslim-Americans like herself. A few years later, she took a trip back to her parents’ homeland, Jordan. There, firsthand, she saw the peaceful nature of Islam in a majority-Muslim country and was able to experience life without stereotypes, racial slurs and marginalization by the media. Inspired by her trip, she wanted to show the true face of Muslim-Americans to help quell the stereotypes and launched her site.

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Proud

Proud

by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first female Muslim-American to win a medal at the Olympic games! I remember when she made the US Olympic fencing team, there was a lot of media coverage about how she was the first athlete from the US to compete while wearing a hijab. She became a role model for so many young female athletes around the country. In her autobiography, Proud, she talks about how she grew up in New Jersey and discovered her love of fencing. She shares the challenges she faced being the only woman of color and the only religious minority on Team USA’s Olympic fencing squad when she competed in 2016.

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We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders

We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders

by Linda Sarsour

As a Muslim-American, I was really thrilled to read Linda Sarsour’s memoir. She was one of the organizers of the inaugural Women’s March. In We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders, she shares her story about how the racism and backlash after 9/11 affected her and the Muslim communities around the nation. She has spent her career fighting for women’s rights. She serves as an inspiration and role model not just for other Muslim-American women but for women of all backgrounds.

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I Am Malala

I Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai

A list of books by Muslim women authors should certainly include the memoir of Malala Yousafzai and her harrowing story. At the age of fifteen, Malala was riding the bus from school one day in a Taliban-controlled area of Pakistan and was shot in the head at point-blank range for resisting the Taliban’s restrictions to female education. Nobody expected her to survive, but she miraculously recovered. Her experience made her even more passionate about her fight for girls’ right to education and she became a role model for women around the world. In 2014, Malala became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for the strides she made and the peaceful protests she led to continue to advocate for female education.

Fun fact: Muslim women were involved in founding some of the oldest educational institutions around the world. The oldest continually-running university in the world, University of Al-Karaouine, in 859 AD  in Fez, Morocco, was founded by Fatima-al-Fihri.

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Love from A to Z

Love from A to Z

by S. K. Ali

Who doesn’t love a great YA romance? After Zayneb gets suspended after confronting her teacher for being Islamophobic, her parents decide it’s the perfect time to get her away from the nonsense. So, Zayneb kicks off her spring break a little early with a trip to Doha, Qatar, to visit her aunt.

Unexpectedly, she crosses paths with Adam, a college student who is taking a break from classes after learning about his multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. He is focused on hiding his condition from his father, who is still grieving the loss of his late mother. Both Zayneb and Adam keep their thoughts locked away in their journal entries—that is until they meet each other. As they spend more time together and fall in love, they realize that they need to learn from each other how to better address and come to terms with the challenges they are facing.

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Yes, I'm Hot in This

Yes, I'm Hot in This

by Huda Fahmy

Looking for a more lighthearted read from a Muslim woman? This comics collection is illustrated and written by the hilarious Insta-famous Huda Fahmy (@yesimhotinthis). She brings to life, in a poignant and funny way, interactions that many people around the world face every day. You don’t have to be Muslim or hijabi to appreciate her humor. Huda brings a great sarcastic voice to the Islamophobic situations she faces.

 

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This holiday weekend, invest in a lookalike inflatable. It’ll save lives. #repost

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Saimah works on the Corporate Digital Marketing team at Simon & Schuster. She is a die-hard Harry Potter fan and loves dystopian fiction! She also enjoys reading celeb memoirs, modern romances and murder mysteries. When she's not reading, she is binge-watching her favorite shows, finding the best roof deck bars in the city and watching sporting events (while defending her Cleveland sports teams!).