In this series, we put inspiring Muslim women in the spotlight. Women who contributed to society with their many achievements. A woman that can’t be overlooked here is Dalia Mogahed. In 2009, she became the first hijabi in the White House, when she was appointed to a position in President Barack Obama’s administration.
In early April 2009, Obama signed an executive order setting up a new body at the White House called the “Office of Religious Partnerships” to support religious institutions and strengthen inter-faith dialogue and government ties. Dalia Mogahed became a part of this administration and received a seemingly impossible task: to improve the United States’ perception towards Muslims. At the end of her term, she had the chance to formulate recommendations on Muslim outreach in an advisory report to the President.
As for being the first veiled woman in the White House, Mogahed told Al Arabiya News: “Hijab was not an issue. What the Obama administration is after is sound advice on how to engage American citizens in a common cause.”
While serving as an advisor, Mogahed kept her full time job a as head of Gallup’s Center for Muslim Studies, a non-governmental research center providing data-driven analysis on the views of Muslim populations around the world.
In 2008, she co-authored “Who speaks for Islam? What a billion Muslims really think” with John. L. Esposito. Right now, she’s Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a nonprofit think tank which produces research on American Muslims and Muslim communities around the world.