It’s the end of the year already. It has been an eventful year, with many different stories. From terror attacks to refugees leaving their country in the hope to find a better future. The tension increased in the Middle East, and 2015 was also the year that everybody asked the same question: Is the dress blue and black or gold and white? But that is not the question that I will be answering (the dress was black and blue by the way). We were wondering which Muslims achieved great things in 2015. And we we have put together this list.
2015 is the year that the singer and producer brought electricity to 600 million people in Africa.
He created the Akon Lighting Africa (ALA) initiative in 2014 after finding out that 85% of the continent had no electricity generating plants and no energy grid. That is 1.3 billion Africans in numbers. Akon made up a plan to cut that in half. In 2014 his goal was to bring electric power to 600 million of Africans who live without power, which he achieved in 2015.
2. Ahmed Mohammed
2015 was also the year that a young boy got arrested for his talent. I’m talking about ‘Ahmed with the clock’, or Ahmed Mohammed. He got arrested at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas for bringing a clock to school.There was a widespread public reaction that included allegations of racial profiling and Islamophobia.
Many people showed their support, like Mark Zuckerberg, Obama and many others. Even the hashtag #IstandWithAhmed was trending for days.
3. Hasan Minhaj
It’s been about a year since comedian Hasan Minhaj joined the Daily Show’s team. As a voice on a prime time television show, Hassan wants to fight stereotypes with his weapon: humor. He also started touring for his new show ’Hasan Minhaj Homecoming King: The Story of Brown America’, which centers on his experience growing up as a first generation Indian American and Muslim.
I’m sure that we will be hearing about this guy in 2016.
4. Rachid Yazami
Rachid Yazami is a French Moroccan scientist who made an amazing chip that can charge your phone battery in 10 minutes. Another great feature is that the chip also senses damaged batteries, which can blow up a phone. 2015 wasn’t Yazami’s first notable year. In 2014 he was one of the scientists to win the 2014 Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering for his “substantial contribution” to the development of the lithium-ion battery. In the same year he received a Royal Medal from King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
5. Mohamed Zeyara
Who is Mohamed Zeyara? Where should I begin? Born in Canada, raised in LA and Gaza, living in Chicago. He is a Medical student, a Humanitarian Activist, a public speaker and a youtuber. There you are, that is who Mohamed Zeyara is.
He asked people on the internet which country needed most help. And they responded Mali. So in 2015 he went to Mali in Africa, where his team raised half a million dollars, to build schools and mosques.
6. Ahmad Hussam
Ahmad Hussam is a producer who made it his mission to get Netflix to stream his original series ‘Salahadin’— a show that chronicles the life of the 12th century Muslim leader, Salahadin Eyyubi.
He played a big role in the regaining of Jerusalem and became the first Muslim leader of Egypt and Syria. In september 2015 the producers of the show started the hashtag #NetflixListen to make ‘Salahadin’ available on Netflix. And his voice has been heard. People all around the world were showing support to the series and it got even trending on twitter.
Netflix invited him to pitch his idea, but unfortunately it didn’t make it. But Ahmad Hussam has proved in 2015 that if you really want something, you don’t just sit and wait, you just do it.
7. Hussain Manawer
Back in July, Hussain Manawer participated in ‘Global Rising Star’, a competition for the most promising future young leader. Finalists are chosen from a selection of young people who have given creative and thought provoking solutions for the world’s societal issues. The Youtuber Hussain Manawer made it to the finals. He gave a keynote speech on mental health issues for young people in front of a panel of UN goodwill ambassadors, before winning first prize… Which happened to be a trip into outer space with XCOR Space.
8. Aziz Sancar
2015 was also the year that Aziz Sancar won the Nobel Prize for chemistry. It made him the first Turk to win the Nobel Prize. He won it together with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich for their work on the mechanistic studies of DNA repair. Their studies may lead to the ultimate cure for cancer. Would be awesome right?
9. Ahmed Shihab-Eldin
In his own words, he is “Palestinian by blood, American by birth, Egyptian by upbringing, Kuwaiti by family refuge, Austrian by adolescence, curious by nature, lover by design.” Ahmed is an Emmy-nominated journalist and a correspondent/producer for VICE on HBO. He featured on Arabian Business’ power list of the planet’s 100 most influential young Arabs.
He was already mentioned before, in 2012, on Forbes’ 30 list of ‘young disruptors, innovators and media entrepreneurs impatient to change the world’.
10. Tariq Al-Olaimy
Tariq is the co-founder of 3BL Associates. That’s a “people + planet strategy consultancy” which was established to re-imagine a more sustainable energy system.
He is also the co-founder of www.Diabetes.bh, the first online education and community platform for diabetes in Bahrain, which is recognized as a ’World Diabetes Day Champion’ by the International Diabetes Federation. With a strong focus on climate change issues, he is a founding National Coordinator of the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM), which is now present in 17 different MENA countries, as well as a climate policy tracker.
Tariq is among the first 100 people in the world to achieve a specialist certification in the field of Biomimicry, which is a practice that studies nature’s best ideas, models, systems and processes.