Representation is showing that you belong in the greater social narrative.
Hate crimes of minorities, in particular Muslims have increased substantially, which I believe is due to misrepresentation in the media, and the scapegoating Muslims for a political agenda.
With that in mind, we can change all that. If we have proper representation in all parts of society, imagine the difference it could make.
Little Mosque on the Prairie, was a Canadian sitcom that demystified Muslims to anyone who had never really known a Muslim or how they live there lives. Here’s a hint, it’s not that different than anyone else. That exposure “normalized” the Islamic lifestyle and helped to change perceptions.
Look at what Mo Salah did, his excellence in sports with his exceptional humble character changed the view of Islam and Muslims for so many.
We can take charge of our narrative which has been said on our behalf, and instead tell our own story. We must rise to this challenge and pursue areas that we are not normally seen (other than being doctors, engineers and lawyers).
There are amazing Muslim women out there representing and tearing down those stereotypes. Here are just a few you should be keeping your eye on, and expect much more amazing things to come from them.
Sheema Khan, mashAllah an amazing Muslim woman who we all can look up to. Sheema holds a Chemistry degree from McGill University, then went on to Harvard for her Masters in Physics and Phd. in Chemical Physics. She is the author of, “Hockey and Hijab,” a TedX speaker, a board member of United Nations Canada, and a monthly columnist for The Globe & Mail (click link for one of her articles on feeling like a second class citizen.
Rusul Alrubail, has an amazing story to tell mashAllah, and passionately helps the under represented reach their goals. She recently launched Parkdale Centre for Innovation, and is the executive director for the non-profit organization, as well as a TedX speaker (this talk made me cry). The goal of Parkdale Centre, is to engage in the community, to create an incubator that is inclusive and an environment that fosters growth for entrepreneurs, skill building, and workshops to take your ideas and career to the next level. She was recently featured in The Globe & Mail.
Melanie Elturk, is another trailblazing woman mashAllah. She is the Co-founder and CEO of Haute Hijab. The leading US hijab brand and on the path to become a leading global hijab brand. Haute Hijab is all about the empowerment and representation of Muslim women. This year they launched their luxury collection (featured in Elle Magazine) and recently the mid-luxury collection, “Dream in Silk.”