20th Century

Huda Sha’arawi

Date of Birth: 1879

Place of Birth: Minya, Egypt

Considered to be one of Egypt’s most central figures to the early feminist movement, Huda Sha’arawi was an upper-class Egyptian nationalist and the founder of Al-Ittihad al Nisa’I Misri, the Egyptian Feminist Union, which addressed social and economic issues as well as independence from Britain. Sha’arawi led women in mobilizing demonstrations, sending petitions to Britain and other colonial authorities, and securing economic aid for their national effort.



Etel Adnan

Date of Birth: February 24th, 1925

Place of Birth: Beirut, Lebanon

Adnan began her career as a Journalist for the Al-Safa newspaper where she helped to develop the cultural section. Adnan began exploring other art forms as she was torn between Arabic, French, and English, leading her to paint. She then found her voice in each of her three languages and wrote many novels and poems in each language. It has been said that Adnan is “arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab American author writing today.”


Etel Adnan. (2015, June 1). Retrieved from https://www.arabamerica.com/arabamericans/etel-adnan/

Dr. Nawal El Saadawi

Date of Birth: October 27th, 1931

Place of Birth: Egypt

Born in Egypt, Dr. Nawal El Saadawi was a physician, writer, and activist. El Saadawi wrote over fifty books, short stories, and plays in her lifetime, including the novels Women and Sex and Women at Point Zero. Her book Women and Sex has inspired many second-wave feminist studies. Throughout her life, she has advocated and fought against the oppression of women and children, patriarchal systems, the lack of democracy in countries, and Egyptian military regimes. She has spoken out and written about the need to end female genital mutilation, including describing her own experience of being mutilated. She was imprisoned and exiled in the 1980s and 1990s but later returned to Egypt. During her imprisonment, El Saadawi wrote a memoir. El Saadawi founded the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association in 1982 and was a co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights.





Alaa Ammuss

Date of Birth: 1989

Place of  Birth: Unknown

Alaa Ammuss is a co-director of Verona company with Lisa Vogl. They had met during Ramadan in 2014 and began their clothing design business for Muslim women a few years later. Verona gained a contract with Macy’s and garnered a lot more media attention. “In 2020, Alaa was approached by her alma mater, Brighter Horizons Academy of Garland in order to redesign school uniforms for young boys and girls. Within weeks of delivering the uniforms to Brighter Horizons Academy, Ammuss was approached by a number of other schools, resulting in the official launch of a new line of designer wear: Verona Uniforms.”




Laleh Bakhtiar

Date of Birth: July 29th, 1938

Place of Birth: New York City, New York

A prominent Muslim clinical psychologist, author, and translator, Laleh Bakhtiar actually grew up catholic. She moved with her husband and children to Iran when she was 24 where she began studying Islam and Arabic. She converted to Islam and began to translate as well as write books about the religion with a female perspective and with a specific focus on Sufism. She was the first American woman to translate the Quran into English. Some of her translation choices have been seen as ways to bridge understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim people, with the word commonly termed as “non-believers” or “infidels” instead of being translated as “those who are ungrateful”. Additionally, a passage that has previously been translated to tell a story about a man beating his ungrateful wife, she instead translates it to him telling the wife to go away. She also has stopped wearing a headscarf because she believes that as a person in America it promotes more attention rather than modesty. Overall, she feels she promotes Islamic traditions in a more progressive, American, woman-friendly way.


Ali, S. (2017, Dec 7). 10 American Muslim Women You Should Know. Retrieved from   www.huffingtonpost.com/samina-ali/10-american-muslim-women-you-should-know_b_4413809.html

(2019, March 19). Laleh Bakhtiar. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laleh_Bakhtiar       

Bakhtiar, L. Biography. Retrieved from http://www.sublimequran.org/

Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt

Date of Birth: January 1929

Place of Birth: Kingsport, Tennessee

Lucky’s early career was being a journalist for The Washington Evening Star in addition to being a freelance writer for Family Circle, McCalls, and Town & Country. Her greatest accomplishment is arguably holding the position of Chief of Protocol of the United States.  She was chief from 1982 to 1987, the longest amount of time any one person has held the position. In 2012 President Barack Obama gave Lucky a commendation for her service in government.


Selwa Roosevelt. (2015, June 4). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/search/Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt

Diane Rehm

Date of Birth: September 21st, 1936

Place of Birth: Washington, D.C.

Diane Rehm became a household name as a result of her long-running radio show from 1979 to 2011 called The Diane Rehm Show. Her show was broadcasted on NPR that allowed listeners to engage on hot topics by calling in. During her career, she had the opportunity to interview presidents, celebrities and journalists within war zones. Rehm is an inspiration for many females in the field of journalism.


Eadeh, N. (2017, March 8). Honoring 30 Influential Arab American Women for International Women’s Day. Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/honoring-30-influential-arab-american-women-international-womens-day/

Betty Shabazz

Date of Birth: May 28th, 1936

Place of Birth: Unknown

Known for her advocacy for African American woman in the Nation of Islam, and for her marriage to civil rights leader Malcom X, Betty Shabazz was a defining force for social justice and religious faith combined. With stamina and strength of character, Shabazz continued Malcom X’s legacy following his death by supporting the lives of Black youth in inner cities while working full time, raising her daughters, and obtaining three degrees: a BA and MA in public health education from Jersey State City College, and a PhD in education administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.



Donna Shalala

Date of Birth: February 14th, 1941

Place of Birth: Cleveland, Ohio

Shalala became well known when she was selected as the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. Shalala was the first Lebanese-American to serve in the United States Cabinet. After her work in government, she became the President of the University of Miami in 2001- 2014. After retiring as President of the university she was selected to run the Clinton Foundation. As a result of all her work in government, she received a Presidential Medal of Honor, the highest civilian honor, from President George W. Bush in 2008.


Donna Shalala. (2015, May 29). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/arabamericans/donna-shalala/

Lucie Salhany

Date of Birth: May 25th, 1946

Place of Birth: Cleveland, Ohio

Lucie Salhany paved the way for many women in the television industry. In 1993 she was selected to be the next President and CEO of Fox-parent News Corp. One of the most popular shows she is known for bringing to air is The X-Files. One of her major contributions that she is responsible for is Fox securing the NFL package, which was worth 1.6 billion dollars. Lucie has received many awards for her professional work in the television industry but also for her humanitarian efforts.


Lucie Salhany. (2015, June 2). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/arabamericans/lucie-salhany/

Christa McAuliffe

Date of Birth: September 2nd, 1948

Place of Birth: Boston, Massachusetts

McAuliffe was a Lebanese-American hero. She was a teacher in New Hampshire who was selected in 1985 from 11,000 applicants to participate in the NASA Teacher in Space Project. She was going to be the first teacher in outer space, traveling on the Space Shuttle Challenger. Just a minute after take-off the shuttle broke apart and all it’s crew members passed. In 2004 her memory was honored as she was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.



Ghazala Khan

Date of Birth: 1951

Place of Birth: Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan

After moving to Texas in the 1980s, Ghazala Khan’s son became a captain in the U.S. army. Unfortunately, in 2004, he was killed during the Iraq war in an explosion. Years later, Hillary Clinton offered Ghazala Khan and her husband a chance to speak at the Democratic National Convention. Khan attended the speech, standing next to her husband while he spoke, but decided not to speak herself since she wasn’t sure she would maintain her composure so close to a picture of her deceased son. The speech garnered criticism from -at the time- presidential candidate Donald Trump, who claimed that Khan most likely wasn’t allowed to speak due to gender roles forced upon her. She stood up to Trump in an article published by the Washington Post and an interview with Morning Joe. Muslim women across social media joined in with #CanYouHearUsNow paired with posts protesting Trump’s comments.


(2019, April 2). Khizr and Ghazala Khan.  Retrieved from  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khizr_and_Ghazala_Khan

Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in-2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1

Dr. Huda Zoghbi

Date of Birth: June 29th, 1955

Place of Birth: Beirut, Lebanon

Dr. Zoghbi is a well-known and successful neurologist and geneticist. Her most famous discoveries include the gene that causes spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, the MECP2 gene that causes Rett syndrome and Math1 gene that governs the development of inner-ear hair cells. Here genetic discoveries have contributed to medical advancements, helping many people. Her medical breakthroughs led to her gaining membership to the American Academy Neurology, Institute Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.


Huda Y. Zoghbi. (n.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://prabook.com/web/huda_y.zoghbi/443261

Callie Khouri

Date of Birth: November 27th, 1957

Place of Birth: San Antonio, Texas

Khouri is a well-known and successful Syrian-American screenwriter, producer, and director. She has received an Academy Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for her work on Thelma & Louise. Khouri is a proud feminist and her values were echoed in her movie which made Thelma & Louise controversial at the time. More recently Khouri’s work has included Mad Money and Nashville.


Callie Khouri. (2015, May 29). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/arabamericans/callie-khouri/

Ilyasah Shabazz

Date of Birth: July 22nd, 1962

Place of Birth: New York City, New York

Ilyasah Shabazz is the daughter of Malcolm X, who was assassinated in front of her when she was only 2 years old. She became an author and published an autobiography on growing up as Malcolm X’s daughter, as well as two biographies of her father’s life geared towards children and young adults. She has worked in cultural affairs and public affairs positions in Mount Vernon and has won awards for her published work. She wants to continue to lift up future generations and empower them to make society better.


Ali, S. (2017, Dec 7). 10 American Muslim Women You Should Know. Retrieved from  www.huffingtonpost.com/samina-ali/10-american-muslim-women-you-should-know_b_4413809.html

(2019, Feb 19). Ilyasah Shabazz. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilyasah_Shabazz

Hoda Kotb

Date of Birth: August 9th, 1964

Place of Birth: Norman, Oklahoma

Kotb is an Egyptian-American most well known for being on American’s morning news. She is on the Today Show and co-hosts the fourth hour with Kathie Lee Gifford. She has also been a correspondent for Dateline since 1998.  In addition to her work in television, she has written books, which include a New York Times Bestseller. Kotb a survivor of breast cancer is a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness today.



Salma Hayek

Date of Birth: September 2nd, 1966

Place of Birth: Coatzacoalcos, Mexico

Hayek is a Mexican-Lebanese-American actress. She began her career acting in telenovelas in Mexico. She then moved to Hollywood and began gaining roles in movies. Her role in the movie Frida (2002) made her a household name since she was nominated in the category of Best Actress for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe Award. From 2006 to 2010 Hayek was the executive producer for Ugly Betty which was aired around the world. In 2007 Hayek struck a deal with MGM to become the CEO of her own Latin-themed production company, named Ventanarosa.


Salma Hayek. (2015, June 4). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/arabamericans/salma-hayek/

Kathy Najimy

Date of Birth: February 6th, 1967

Place of Birth: San Diego, California

Najimy broke into the film industry in 1990 when she was cast in the comedy Sister Act. Since then she has acted in many movies including Rat Race, Hocus Pocus, and Cat’s Don’t Dance. She is most known for her role in the show Veronica’s Closet which aired from 1997 to 2000. Najimy is passionate and active in fighting for women, gay and human rights.


Kathy Najimy. (2015, June 2). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/search/Kathy Najimy

Asifa Quraishi-Landes

Date of Birth: July 17th, 1967

Place of Birth: Santa Clara County, CA

Dr. Asifa Quraishi-Landes graduated with a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Harvard Law School in 2006 and is currently a law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaching Constitutional Law and Islamic Law. Her current focus is modern Islamic constitutional theory. She has worked with a variety of different organizations including the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML), the Muslim Women’s League, the Pew Task Force on Religion & Public Life, and many more. Quraishi-Landes is also a 2009 Carnegie Scholar and 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. Her recent publications include “What if Sharia Weren’t the Enemy? Rethinking International Women’s Rights Advocacy on Islamic Law” and “The Sharia Problem with Sharia Legislation.” She is currently working on a manuscript with the intention to join those who desire a sharia-based government, and those who wish for a non-theocratic government.


Quraishi-Landes, Asifa, What If Sharia Weren’t the Enemy? Rethinking International Women’s Rights Advocacy on Islamic Law. Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Vol. 25, No. 5, 2011, Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1154, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1762767

Quraishi-Landes, Asifa, The Sharia Problem with Sharia Legislation (August 28, 2015). Ohio North University Law Review, Vol. 41, p. 545, 2015, Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1361, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2652896




Farah Pandith

Date of Birth: January 13th, 1968

Place of Birth: Jammu and Kashmir, India

Farah Pandith was the very first Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States Department of State. Appointed by Hillary Clinton during the Obama administration in 2009, she is responsible for engagement with Muslims at an organization level as well as a people-to-people level. Born in India but raised in Massachusetts, she also worked on the National Security Council during the Bush administration. She stopped working in the government in 2014 but continues to work towards ways to improve Muslim outreach.


Ali, S. (2017, Dec 7). 10 American Muslim Women You Should Know. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/samina-ali/10-american-muslim-women-you-should-know_b_4413809.html

(2019, March 12). Farah Pandith. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farah_Pandith                       

Jeffries, S. (2015, Dec 8). The Muslims Who Shaped America-From Brain Surgeons to Rappers. Retrieved from www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/08/donald-trump-famous-muslims-us-history

Manal Deeb

Date of Birth: 1968

Place of Birth: Ramallah, Palestine

Manal Deeb moved to the United States when she was only 18 so she could study art at the University of Illinois in Chicago and in Minnesota, but her Palestinian roots kept their hold on her. She creates art pieces, sometimes paired with poems, that opens a portal to the feelings of many who hail from Palestine. Her work contains Arabic script, women’s faces, and natural elements such as tree bark that evoke many different emotions from the viewer. She has been featured solo and in collections across the globe in places such as New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Rome, and Jerusalem to name a few. After taking a break to start her family, she has re-entered the art world and continued to push and succeed in making a name for herself.


Elmusa, K. (2014, Oct 20). Manal Deeb: Artist. Retrieved from https://imeu.org/article/manal-deeb-artist

Deeb, F. (2016). About. Retrieved from https://www.ygalleri.com/manal

Painter, D. (2012, Jun). Artist Manal Deeb is from there. Retrieved from https://www.wrmea.org/012-june-july/music-arts-artist-manal-deeb-is-from-there.html

Zainab Salbi

Date of Birth: September 24, 1969

Place of Birth: Baghdad, Iraq

Salbi is the founder of the influential organization Women for Women international. Her work focuses on giving a voice to Arab and Muslim women around the world. She has written several books, her most well known is “If You Knew Me You Would Care”, which documents the stories of women from Afghanistan, Rwanda, and Congo. Some of her greatest awards she has received include being honored by Times Magazine and by President Bill Clinton in 1995.


11 inspirational Arab Women making a difference in the world. (2015, October/November). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from Ali, S. (2017, Dec 7). 10 American Muslim Women You Should Know. www.huffingtonpost.com/samina-ali/10-american-muslim-women-you-should-know_b_4413809.html

Dina Habib Powell

Date of Birth: 1973

Place of Birth: Cairo, Egypt

In 2005 President George W. Bush appointed Powell as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the State Department. She worked under White House adviser Karen Hughes. Now Powell is the global head of corporate engagement for Goldman Sachs.

Source: https://www.arabamerica.com/arabamericans/dina-habib-powell/

Dalia Mogahed

Date of Birth: 1974

Place of Birth: Cairo, Egypt

A researcher and scholar, Dalia Mogahed moved from Egypt to America when she was four. She attended the University of Wisconsin and while there, achieved undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and Arabic. Later, she also received her MBA at the University of Pittsburgh. She became a viral sensation after her TED talk, titled “What it’s like to be a Muslim in America” and is currently a director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, researching “solutions” for American Muslims, as well as their opinions on various topics.


Ali, S. (2017, Dec 7). 10 American Muslim Women You Should Know. Retrieved from  www.huffingtonpost.com/samina-ali/10-american-muslim-women-you-should-know_b_4413809.html

Burke, D & Styx, M.(2018) 25 Influential American Muslims. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/05/us/influential-muslims/.

(2019, March 23). Dalia Mogahed. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalia_Mogahed.

Maysoon Zayid

Date of Birth: 1974

Place of Birth: New Jersey

Zayid is a Palestinian-American actress, who is said to be the first American Muslim female comedian. Zayid was born with Cerebral Palsy, and often includes jokes about her disability in her acts. She broke barriers as she was the first person to ever perform standup in Palestine and Jordan. She co-founded the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival which now occurs every year. It has been announced that she is currently working on a TV series that will draw from her own life experiences of being an Arab-American woman with a disability. Zayid is very involved in philanthropic efforts including running art programs for children with disabilities and orphaned children who reside in refugee camps.


Maysoon Zayid. (2016, June 29). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/arabamericans/maysoon-zayid/

Azadeh Moaveni

Date of Birth: 1976

Place of Birth: Palo Alto, California

Author of Lipstick Jihad and Honeymoon in Tehran, and co-author of Iran Awakening, Azadeh Moaveni has devoted her life to writing with a focus on women and the Middle East. She has lived in and written about multiple places including Iraq, Cairo, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Qatar and reported as a consultant for Time magazine, writing about conflicts from within the countries’ borders. Many of her articles and other works look at the gender imbalance in the Middle East; she writes how women and girls are affected more by conflict and political disturbances as well as how Islam affects women’s rights.


Ali, S. (2017, Dec 7). 10 American Muslim Women You Should Know. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/samina-ali/10-american-muslim-women-you-should-know_b_4413809.html

Azadeh Moaveni. Retrieved from www.azadehmoaveni.com/bio

Rashida Tlaib

Date of Birth: July 24, 1976

Place of  Birth: Michigan, US

Rashida Tlaib was elected in 2018 as the U.S. representative for Michigan’s 13 congressional district and is currently holding the seat. Tlaib was born in Detroit, Michigan, as a first-generation American to Palestinian immigrant parents. Before being elected into the U.S., Tlaib worked for the nonprofit organization Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice as an attorney. The organization works to support and protect people within the working class’ economic and social rights. In 2008, Tlaib became the first Muslim woman to serve on the Michigan Legislature. After being elected in 2018 to Congress, along with Representative Ilhan Omar, Tlaib and Omar were the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Tlaib has a very progressive platform, focusing on fighting climate change, supporting small businesses, expanding economic justice, and increasing equity.




Huma Abedin

Date of Birth: July 28th, 1976

Place of Birth: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Huma Abedin served as an aid to Hillary Clinton for many years. She started working in the White House as an aid in 1996, as well as working as an editor for The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. Her work for the journal ended in 2008, but she continued to work in politics. She officially became an aid and personal advisor when Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate in 2000 and when she ran for president in 2008 and 2016. In 2012 several republicans published a smear-campaign against Huma Abedin, claiming her immediate family members were part of Muslim extremist groups. The claims were immediately disproven and members of both sides of the political spectrum came to her defense saying the claims were baseless.


Jeffries, S. (2015, Dec 8). The Muslims Who Shaped America-From Brain Surgeons to Rappers. Retrieved from www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/08/donald-trump-famous-muslims-us-history

(2019,March 20). Huma Abedin. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huma_Abedin

Maria Ebrahimji

Date of Birth: October 16th, 1976

Place of Birth: Georgia, USA 

Maria Ebrahimji is a woman with a wide reach. She works as the Director and Executive Editorial Producer for Network Booking at CNN. There she does news coverage planning, guest planning, and information gathering for the station. She has won several awards including the NABJ Award of Excellence in the Television-Public Affairs Program for some of her work on the show “CNN Connects: The New South Africa. She has also worked on shows such as “Your World Today”, “Q&A”, “Diplomatic License”, and “Inside Africa”. Some of her work centering on the Muslim community includes being a co-editor for an anthology of over 40 essays written by Muslim women titled, I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim. She has also co-founded the publishing company I Speak for Myself Inc. This company focuses on publishing narratives on issues that span across faith and cultural issues in a variety of media formats. Her work overall aims to allow her a voice and give a voice to others in order to bridge understanding on all fronts and decrease fear of the unknown by increasing knowledge.


Ali, S. (2017, Dec 7). 10 American Muslim women you should know. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/samina-ali/10-american-muslim-women-you-should-know_b_4413809.html

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Date of Birth: December 9th, 1976

Place of Birth: Sheffield, United Kingdom

Dr. Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician at Hurley Medical Center and a professor at Michigan State University. In 2015 she became well known due to her discovery and advertisement of the Flint Water Crisis. The crisis she came to find was exposing children in Flint, Michigan to dangerous levels of lead. Dr. Hanna-Attisha is an advocate for children, immigrants, and women in STEM.


Eadeh, N. (2017, March 8). Honoring 30 Influential Arab American Women for International Women’s Day. Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/honoring-30-influential-arab-american-women international-womens-day/

Amirah Sackett

Date of Birth: 1978

Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois

Amirah is a dancer and choreographer that in 2011 founded a group called, We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic. This dance group features women wearing niqabs doing a blend of traditional and new-age dance moves. They gained viral fame and were featured in rap artist Brother Ali’s music video, Mourning for America, in 2012. She has performed in this troupe, solo, and in other groups locally, nationally, and internationally. Her goals are to challenge negative stereotypes held against Muslim-Americans and work to empower Muslim females who face discrimination. She spoke at a TEDx conference and at Harvard University, and currently has a youtube channel showcasing her beautiful dancing and choreography.


(2013). Amirah Sackett. Retrieved from vimeo.com/amirahsackett/about

Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in-2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1

Linda Sarsour

Date of Birth: 1980

Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York

Sarsour is a Palestinian woman who was formerly the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and was the co-founder of MPOWER Change. Sarsour has been a strong advocate for civil right changes, particularly on the topic of unwarranted surveillance of Muslim Americans. She is most known for her involvement as co-founder of the Women’s March on Washington. Some of her most impressive awards include “Champion of Change” named by the White House, YWCA USA’s Women of Distinction Award for Advocacy and Civic Engagement and the Hala Maksoud Leadership Award from the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Additionally, Sarsour was listed in the top 500 most influential Muslims in the world.


Linda Sarsour. (n.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.womensmediacenter.com/shesource/expert/linda-sarsour

State Rep. Ilhan Omar

Date of Birth: 1981

Place of Birth: Somalia

Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia but immigrated to the United States after living in Kenyan refugee camps for over 4 years. She ran for governor in Minnesota in 2016 and won, becoming the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected to the state legislature, the first naturalized citizen from Africa elected, the first non-white woman to be elected in Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. Her stances on economic equality, clean and renewable energy, making college more affordable, and improving reform in the criminal justice system were seen as progressive and won her the seat.


Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in-2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1

(2019, May 20). Ilhan Omar. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilhan_Omar

G. Willow Wilson

Date of Birth: August 31st, 1982

Place of Birth: New Jersey

G. Willow Wilson not only has a name reminiscent of a comic book character but has also created one. She currently is a writer on the Hugo-Award-winning comic series Ms. Marvel, which follows a 16-year-old Pakistani-New Yorker who loved the original Ms. Marvel and decided to continue on her legacy. In addition to her Marvel hero, G. Willow Wilson has also published books and memoirs such as Alif the Unseen, or The Butterfly Mosque, and has worked as a writer on other Marvel comics such as Superman. Although she has been previously accused by right-wing comic fans for spreading Sharia Law through her comics, she has not been brought down by their unfounded criticism and continues to shine, reaching the bestseller list regularly.


(2011). About me, G. Willow Wilson. Retrieved from gwillowwilson.com/aboutme

Burke, D & Styx, M.(2018) 25 Influential American Muslims. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/05/us/influential-muslims/

M. Hasna Maznavi

Date of Birth: October 2nd, 1985

Place of Birth: California

M. Hasna Maznavi built a mosque that was for women-only. This mosque was not meant to be a reaction to any event or action, but simply a celebration of Muslim women coming to worship. She had the idea from a young age, dreaming of the beautiful designs she would incorporate, but it evolved into so much more. She wanted to create a connected and inspired community that could uplift women. The Women’s Mosque for America boasts that it is the first all-women mosque built in the USA. In addition to her religious work, she also has a profession as a comedy writer and director, known for work on the shorts, “Blind Spot”, “Forbidden Love”, and many others.


Burke, D & Styx, M.(2018) 25 Influential American Muslims. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/05/us/influential-muslims/ (2016). 

M. Hasna M. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3396481/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

Ibtihaj Muhammad

Date of Birth: December 4th, 1985

Place of Birth: Maplewood, New Jersey

Ibtihaj Muhammad is known for being the first U.S. woman to wear a hijab while competing in the Olympics. She then became the first female Muslim woman to place in the Olympics when she won a bronze medal in 2016 with the U.S. saber fencing team. Since then she has started a fashion line called Luella that makes modest but fashionable clothing and models them on a large demographic of people; there are many different races, religions, and expressions of those religions (Muslims who are hijab-wearing and non-hijab-wearing) who are shown wearing her clothes on her website. Recently the popular toy company, Barbie has modeled a doll after her, including her hijab in the outfit design. She published an autobiographical book as well, titled, Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream.


(2019, April 1). Ibtihaj Muhammad. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibtihaj_Muhammad (2018).

Ibtihaj Muhammad. Retrieved from https://www.ibtihajmuhammad.com/

Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016.Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in-2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1

Mona Haydar

Date of Birth: May 18th, 1988

Place of Birth: Flint, Michigan

Mona Haydar is an activist, singer, chaplain, and poet. One of her more viral demonstrations, “Ask a Muslim” took place at a coffee stand in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She invited passersbys to take a seat and speak with her and her husband over a cup of coffee in order to try and combat negative stereotypes about Muslims and create a space where people could ask questions without feeling judged. While rap may not be every Muslim person’s cup of tea, her protest songs have themes that many Muslim women can identify with. Her song, “Hijabi” talks about all of the stereotypical question’s women get when wearing their headscarves, such as “how long is your hair?” or “what does your hair look like under there?”. In her video she is pregnant with her firstborn son, showing that women can still work and achieve while pregnant. When pregnant with her second son she went and protested on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation against the Keystone Pipeline. In all aspects of her life, she pushes to help marginalized peoples come up in the world and show that Muslim women can be beautiful, strong, powerful forces against hate.


Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016.   Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in-2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1

Mona Haydar (2017, March 17). Hijabi-Wrap my hijab. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOX9O_kVPeo

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

Date of Birth: May 6th, 1992

Place of Birth: New Jersey, USA

Creator of muslimgirl.com, this Muslim-American was tired of the accusations of not being “American” enough, being a member of Isis, or just generally feeling unsafe outside of her home. She wanted to be able to share her voice, as well as to give Muslim women around her a chance to do so. Her platform allows women to speak about their experiences, gender stigmas, fashion, foreign policy, representation, and other issues. The website she created is written by millennials, for millennials through an Islamic lens. She created the platform in high school, and six years later she became the first veiled Muslim woman to make it to Forbes 30 Under 30. Her website was also the first Islamic company to be included on the list. Today continues to be a hub for Muslim related news, stories, interviews, and opinion pieces.


(2019, March 4). Amani Al-Khatahtbeh. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amani_Al-Khatahtbeh

(2018). #MuslimGirl. Retrieved from muslimgirl.com/

Burke, D & Styx, M.(2018) 25 Influential American Muslims. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/05/us/influential-muslims/

Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in-2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1.

Nura Afia

Date of Birth: February 9th, 1993

Place of Birth: Colorado, USA

Nura Afia is the first brand ambassador of Covergirl cosmetics who wears a hijab. She first got into the spotlight when she created her youtube channel making makeup and fashion videos in 2011 when she was a stay-at-home-mom taking care of her daughter. Since then she has gained thousands of followers on multiple platforms. Overall she has the support of many Muslim young women who seek to express themselves through fashion and makeup, but she also has received some criticism by wearing a hijab for modesty but “seeking attention” by wearing makeup. Regardless of what her critics think, her ad was shown in time square, on billboards, and in commercials that promoted diversity in the fashion industry and commercial representation as a whole. She’s showing the hijab in a positive light and can be a role model to young Muslim girls in America.


Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in-2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1

(2019, Mar 4). Nura Afia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nura_Afia

Noor Tagouri

Date of Birth: November 27th, 1993

Place of Birth: West Virginia, USA

Noor Tagouri is a Libyan-American journalist, public speaker, storyteller, and rebel. She was the first woman featured in Playboy Magazine wearing a hijab (she was also fully clothed) and spoke about the stigma and benefits of wearing the hijab, hoping to target a wider male audience. At age 22 she already was a reporter on-the-air for Newsy, had a large following on social media, collaborated with the Lis’n Up clothing brand, and participated in a TEDx talk. One of her biggest projects she has released was her documentary, The Trouble They’ve Seen: The Forest Haven Story, about people with disabilities and the mistreatment they face. She also has a podcast on sex trafficking in America called Sold in America: Inside Our Nation’s Sex Trade. Noor Tagouri’s overall message calls passionately for individual expression and says that being yourself is the best act of rebellion one can engage in.


Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in 2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1del

Gaizo, A. (2016, Sept 22). Media wunderkind Noor Tagouri makes a forceful case for modesty. Retrieved from https://www.playboy.com/read/renegades-noor-tagouri

(2019, Mar 26). Noor Tagouri. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noor_Tagouri

Gigi Hadid

Date of Birth: April 23rd, 1995

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California

Hadid is Palestinian-American and is one of the top supermodels in the world. She has walked in the most exclusive runways, been on covers of the top magazines, and been the face of campaigns for the most well-known designers and companies. In 2016 she was declared International Model of the Year by the British Fashion Council.


Gigi Hadid. (2015, December 4). Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.arabamerica.com/arabamericans/gigi-hadid/

Halima Aden

Date of Birth: September 19th, 1997

Place of Birth: Kenya

She was the first woman to compete in the Miss Minnesota pageant wearing a hijab and burkini. After making it as a semi-finalist, she was signed to the IMG Models label. Since then some of her accomplishments include walking during New York Fashion Week for Yeezy Season 5 in February of 2017 and appearing on the covers of Allure, Vogue Arabia and British Vogue as the first woman wearing a hijab. She retains the modesty she feels comfortable with while keeping up in the fashion world. She has made great strides in representation and diversification of the fashion industry and is showing that women of all backgrounds and religions are beautiful.


Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in-2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1

(2019, March 30). Halima Aden. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halima_Aden

Kiran Waqar, Balkisa Abdikadir, Hawa Adam, Lena Ginawi

Date of Birth: 2000-2001

Place of Birth: Vermont, USA

This group of women created a slam-poetry group called Muslim Girls Making Change in 2016 when they were only teenagers. They are currently all seniors at Burlington High School and continue to tour across the nation using their poetry to make a positive impact and to change perceptions on what it means to be a Muslim woman.


Blumberg, A. (2016, Dec 12). 17 Muslim American women who made America great in 2016. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-muslim-american-women-who-made-america-great-in-2016_us_584204b7e4b09e21702ec3b1

Stephanie Kurlow

Date of Birth: 2001

Place of Birth: Australia

Stephanie Kurlow is known for being the first hijabi ballerina. Kurlow began dancing at two years old, and converted to Islam with her family in 2010.  She first made news in 2016, after raising money for full-time classical ballet training. She also received the Aim for the Stars Scholarship and the Game Changer Scholarship to help her continue to pursue her goals. Kurlow was a speaker at the Resonation Women’s Empowerment Conference in 2017 and featured in a 2018 International Women’s Day campaign. She continues to use her influence to encourage young women who may face similar challenges as she did.