Despite the achievements of Muslim women over the centuries—among them, the founding of the world’s oldest university in Morocco—certain circles of Western feminist thought still propagate the notion that a Muslim woman is naturally oppressed and needs to be saved. That notion has not only helped rally support behind the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but it has also embedded an image of Muslim women in people’s minds which is simply not factual. Muslim women are educators, politicians, artists, lawyers, and beyond, with a number of them being well known.
First in 2009, the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Britain named the most influential Muslim women in the country. These women were noted for the achievements in their careers, and the influence they projected on their communities.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi topped the list as she took the number one spot. Sayeeda Warsi is a British lawyer and a member of the House of Lords. When she was recognized in 2009, she held the position of the Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion.
Farmida Bi, a lawyer and banking partner at international legal practice Norton Rose, was in the top 5 of the list. One of the most notable women who also made the top 5 is Mishal Husain. Mrs. Husain is a British-born Pakistani news anchor and the first Muslim presenter of Today—a show aired at BBC Radio 4—as well the main anchor for BBC world news.
Furthermore, the list includes Ifath Nawaz, president of the Association of Muslim lawyers, Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, founder and chairwoman of the Arab International Women’s Forum, Riazat Butt, the religious affairs correspondent for the Guardian, Comedian Shazia Mirza, Shelina Zahra Janmohamed author of the popular novel ‘Love in a Headscarf,” an autobiography of the author seeking a traditional marriage while striving to fall in love with her faith. The list does not stop there: it includes a number of influential Muslim women.
The Muslim Women Power List demonstrates how Muslim women have been and still are in the forefront of influencing and shaping politics, art, law, and journalism in the United Kingdom, the United States, and at a global level as well.
This article is written by Nikolaos Barbaressos