TRAILBLAZING MUSLIM WOMEN
Inspired by the squad shoots from high profile award seasons, magazines lists and "roundtables", this visual series aims to celebrate the incredible Muslim Women who relentlessly flourish in the city of London. Featuring 21 Muslim Women from diverse industries, the project selected these women for their individual desire to reinvent their spaces and transform the restrictive narratives of the Muslim Woman.
Creative DIRECTOR: Zainab Khan
Photographer: Maaria Lohiya
Special thanks to: Faheem Patel, Lamisa Khan, Erika Abd-Allah, Zinab Keshk & Leyya Sattar.
Writer, PhD Candidate at SOAS, University of London
Ali is a writer, a poet, a Teaching Fellow and a PhD candidate in SOAS, University of London, where she specialises in Afro-Arab identity. She is a former Radio Presenter who was recently listed as number 4 in Buzz Feed’s “21 Black British Muslims You Should Know About”. Her collection of short-stories in English and Somali was published in October 2017 by Market Fifty Four and she was also shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize 2016 and won 3rd prize in the 2017 HISSAC Short Story Prize. She is Project Manager for Somali Week Festival for the 2nd year in a row and her collection can be purchased at Market Fifty Four.
Former President of the National Union of Students
Bouattia was the first Muslim and woman of colour to be elected as the President of the National Union of Students after 94 years of its existence. She led national campaigns for free education, opposing the Islamophobic PREVENT agenda, decolonising the curriculum, opposing the occupation of Palestine by passing the first BDS policy within an education union, and ensured intersectionality was always at the heart of all her work. She has written for numerous platforms including the Guardian, Al Jazeera, The New Arab and Middle East Eye and has contributed to the recently published 'For the Many: Preparing Labour for power' alongside Ken Loach where she gives a critical analysis of liberation and equality in the Corbyn-led Labour manifesto. She is a presenter for British Muslim Tv's #WomenLikeUs, a weekly roundtable that centres the voices of Muslim women on questions of misogyny, racism, Xenophobia and state violence.
Founder of Chit Chaat Chai
Rahman launched Chit Chaat Chai as a street food market stall across London and Hampshire, it went on to receive critical acclaim from the Independent and the BBC. The International Design Awards recognised Chit Chaat Chai as "Best Designed Restaurant". Rahman currently mentors for food start-up accelerators in both London and Singapore, also has been a panellist at the House of Commons empowering minority leaders in the UK workforce. She has been nominated for the Young Hospitality Entrepreneur Of The Year and recognised in the British Bangladeshi Top 100, a celebration of 100 leading British Bangladeshi figures who are helping to shape a better Britain with their ideas, example and talent. She is also a keen marathoner having ran the London, Paris & Milan marathon and has recently taken up martial arts.
Peace Activist, Next Gen Counter Extremist & Advocate at the Kofi Annan Foundation
Zaman is currently an Advocate at the Kofi Annan Foundation, working on building peace, security and overcoming extreme violence in conflict. Her work involves advising the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations and working with key stakeholders to enhance and uphold human rights. She has extensive knowledge and experience of working in this field at the local and international level. She strongly advocates engagement and dialogue around matters of faith and integration to achieve this. Ms Zaman was named as the Chiarman's Asian Woman of Achievement, with judges commending her for her internationally groundbreaking work on bringing improvements to peace, security and countering violent extremism in conflict countries. In the laudatio, judges earmarked her as a future Nobel Prize winner.
Co-Founder of The Other Box & Design Manager MYWW™
Sattar is an award-winning diversity champion who set up The Other Box to increase diversity in the creative industries, celebrating people of colour and other minorities. She is also the Design Manager at MYWW™, a design company and as of 2018, part of the BIMA Creative Council. Leyya is a regular speaker at creative industry events and has won several awards including Creative Equal's and Campaign’s ‘Women to Watch’, voted Bima's Top 100 in Digital, The Dots 'Creative leaders to watch', finalist for the WOW UK ‘Breaking New Ground’ award and winner of the WATC 'Diversity' award.
Journalist & Presenter for Fusion Media Network
Hedayat is an award-winning British journalist and television host who has worked across the BBC, Channel 4 and The Guardian covering breaking news, live events and in depth investigations in some of the world’s most hostile environments. Her work often focuses on cultural upheaval experienced by women, children and families in conflict ridden societies.
Co-Host of the Mostly Lit Podcast, Writer and Trainee Lawyer
Rafiq is a trainee solicitor at one of the leading international law firms in the uk. She is also creator and co-host on the Literature and popular culture podcast Mostly Lit - named by the Guardian and the BBC as one of the top podcasts of 2017. Raifa is an eclectic writer and an avid reader but most importantly, she is a proud Black Muslim Woman who 'stands' for each and every one of her intersections. When she is not working you can find her on her twitter sharing her opinions on just about everything.
Social Entrepreneur & Founder/CEO of UpEffect
Shah combines her Computer Science background with her passion for social entrepreneurship to back founders creating transformative solutions to today’s greatest social and environmental challenges. To date, UpEffect’s enterprise-solution approach and campaign-consultant model has driven their 100% success rate at securing funding for their campaigns, launching thousands of ethical products and impacting lives across ten countries. Sheeza was named to Computer Weekly’s ‘Most Influential Women in Tech’ and Asians in Tech’s ‘Top 100 Asian Stars in UK Tech 2017′. She’s also an Asian Women of Achievement Award nominee.
Artist and Activist & Co-Founder of Restless Beings
Begum is the co-founder and director of grassroots international human rights organisation RestlessBeings. An artist and illustrator by profession, she has been at the forefront of several global campaigns for women's and refugee rights and her time and work with the marginalised and persecuted communities in our world today have influenced her creative process. She has been selected on the British Bangladesh Power & Inspiration top 100 list three years running. She is currently waiting for paint to dry... watch this space!
Co-Founder of Project Ribcage & Investment Analyst
Monajed is the Co-Founder of Project Ribcage. An initiative which aims to elevate the self image of Muslim women. Saffana believes in the power of sisterhood and self confidence, therefore, started a social media movement she wished existed when she was younger, one that celebrates the achievement of Muslim women to raise the bar of self expectation among the community. Saffana has found that weaving these women's stories together through video is the perfect combination of her two passions: creativity and problem solving.
Co-Founder of Project Ribcage & Software Engineer
Akhter is an Economist turned Technologist, having been heavily involved in a charity seeking to rehabilitate disadvantaged women back into the workplace, she noticed a lack of focus on Muslim women. This inspired her and she co-founded Project Ribcage, a campaign that seeks to highlight phenomenal Muslim women and drive the values of hard work and achieving success. Her dream is to take the project globally and leave a lasting impact on how Muslim women see themselves in society. Moreover she aspires to climb her way up in the tech world, carving a path for other interested women to follow suit.
Head of Social at Project Ribcage & Trainee Solicitor
Faizah decided to become a lawyer not just to make her parents proud, but so that young black people who grew up on a council estate can see her and know that they can do it (or any other profession) too. Faizah’s next stop, 10 Downing Street. Her motto: “If you REALLY want it, you can have it. You just have to work at it”.Faizah also helps out with Project Ribcage, a project which aims to elevate the self-image of Muslim girls and encourage them to aim for their dream jobs.
Social Entrepreneur, Business woman & Campaigner
Akeela Ahmed has been an equalities activist and campaigner for nearly nearly 20 years. On Muslim Women's Day, she was listed in Nylon magazine as an activist that is 'making a difference'. In 2014 she founded 'She Speaks We Hear' which gives unfiltered women's voice a platform. Akeela advises and works with government in tackling anti-Muslim hatred, sitting on the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group. She is also a social entrepreneur within the social housing sector, and senior project manager of a homelessness organisation that she setup. In January 2017, Akeela spoke to over one hundred thousand people at the Women's March on London, and was listed as one of Stylist's Women of the Year 2017.
Poet/Writer at Muslimah in The City & Co-Producer at The Black and Muslim in Britain Project
Bah is a London based poet and writer who draws on the traditional West African storytelling style of the griot to wax lyrically about identity, faith, the relationship with self and everything in between. Bah is also Co-producer of Black and Muslim in Britain, a five-part online series exploring the experiences of black British Muslims with the aim of tackling what they see as a lack of representation during Black History Month 2017. She also keeps a blog titled Muslimah in The City where she documents her life as a young Muslim woman living and working in London.
Storyteller, Heartful Activist & Radical Educationalist
Alzougbi is a professional Critical Dreamer. She dreams of a kinder, more equitable world where humans live in harmony with one another and with the Earth. She translates these dreams into her work, and finds inspiration in heartful, radical movements for real social and environmental change. Alia heads the HEC Global Learning Centre in London, which works in schools and the community to nurture globally-minded citizens towards a more just and sustainable world. By night and on weekends, she spends her time sharing and hearing stories that expand the mind and nurture the soul.
Winston Churchill Memorial fellow & Co-Founder of MuslamicMakers
Farooq is the co-founder of Muslmaic Makers, a meet up for Muslims working in tech. Arfah recently traveled to USA, UAE and Pakistan to research diversity in technology and bring out stories around Muslim women in tech as part of her Winston Churchill Memorial fellowship. A self-confessed serial collaborator, Arfah, has a big vision to impact the world in a positive way and empower young people and women in the process.