Book Review: Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of our Time

Book Review: Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of our Time

Muslim Girls Rise is a collection of stories about contemporary Muslim women who have made a difference locally, nationally, and even worldwide. Written by Saira Mir and published in 2019, it can encourage young Muslim girls to dream big. When our sisters can see themselves in these women, it gives us hope to rise in many directions that can make our communities and the world a better place to live. 

We look for inspiration in many places, however, it strikes us deeper when we can see ourselves in that person. Muslim women have done much to overcome discriminatory and prejudicial barriers throughout history. They have also empowered other Muslim women to excel and do the same in their own communities in politics, education, athletics, science and engineering, fashion, and art. 

A Sampling of the Women Represented 

Amanda Saab is a Muslim woman who regularly invites her neighbours over to try her creative food. After a stint on a televised cooking competition, she began an initiative called “Dinner with Your Muslim Neighbor.” Her presence in the cooking competition and this initiatve broke down prejudicial barriers, and made her community significantly comfortable with her Muslim identity.

Then there are Muslim women who reach for the stars, such as Hibah Rahmani, who launches spaceships as a flight control engineer at NASA. She hopes to become an astronaut one day inshaAllah, God-willing. Her passion for the night sky, math, and science began from childhood during the Gulf War in Kuwait in 1991. 

Athletic Muslim women have also taken the spotlight such as Ibtihaj Muhammad. She was involved in many sports growing up in the U.S. but felt that she stood out from the crowd due to her hijab or headscarf. So she picked a sport that allowed her to cover her body without causing any issues, and that was fencing. She eventually rose to prominence by becoming an athlete in the U.S. Olympic fencing team, the first hijabi to represent the United States. She also brought home a medal for the team, making history in both ways. 

Speaking of the hijab, Hana Tajima, a Japanese-British woman who grew up in the United Kingdom, is a fashion designer who particularly makes modest clothing. Her designs caught the interest of UNIQLO, a top Japanese fashion brand. They had asked her to make a womenswear line that included hijabs. Her clothing with the brand became popular and attracted many Muslim customers worldwide. 

Lastly, there are Muslim women who have gone through the arduous journey of a refugee. Muzoon Almellehan was a Syrian refugee who trekked through many countries and refugee camps, all the while yearning to complete her education. Her passion for education led her to teach children at refugee camps despite the worries of finding stable shelter, food, and safety. She made her message of educating children at refugee camps heard by global leaders, who in turn made it known to the United Nations. At the tender age of 18, she became the youngest GoodWill ambassador of UNICEF.  She now campaigns for children’s right to education during emergencies by going tent-to-tent in refugee camps talking to parents about it. 

These are some of the Muslim women mentioned in the book who made a huge difference in their communities and in the world. Others have helped bring about innovative technologies, helped the less fortunate on a grand scale, played in international sports arenas, or spoke up for the disenfranchised parts of our societies. They are integral to the global fabric as are many others. And they can provide inspiration for girls and boys alike.

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