I was honored when my good friend Mona Ismaeil asked me to co-host an event with her, Women and Hijab In Islam- A Panel Discussion.
The event took place on January 31, 2016, and I’m happy to announce that it was a huge success! We had a great turnout with many Muslims and non-Muslims attending and asking the panel many questions, Alhamdulillah!
Events like these are vital, as they create awareness of what Muslims are really like, inform others of what we actually believe in (and what we don’t, but the media tells you that we do), and clears out any misconceptions that others may have in regards to Islam.
During the event, we answered various questions from the audience, such as:
- Does the hijab prevent you from obtaining a job?
- What is Sharia law and why does it prevent women from driving in some parts of the world?
- How do women feel empowered by wearing the hijab?
- How do Muslimahs show the political leaders of the world that the hijab is not oppressive?
- What was our journey to wearing the hijab?
- What is the hijab for men?
- Is there a correlation between rape and the hijab?
- What is the status of women within Islam?
- How do we educate the Muslim youth about self-respect?
- What inspired us to share our journey as Muslimahs on a global scale (i.e through blogging and social media)
- and much much more!
I would like to thank Mona (she’s due to have her second baby very soon, by the way!) for putting all of this together and asking me to be a part of this wonderful experience with her. Mona went out of her way to make sure everything was perfect- and it was!
Moreover, it truly was a great pleasure to be alongside powerful and inspiring Muslimahs from the city of Edmonton! I learned so much from each woman on the panel, and it is comforting to know that we are all on the same mission: educating our society of what Islam is really about- PEACE.
Meet the Panel:
Mona Ismaeil, Host and Panelist
“Mona Ismaeil is a graduate of Concordia University College of Alberta. She has an Arts degree majoring in Sociology and minoring in Psychology. She also has an Elementary Education After-Degree. She worked for 3 years as a grade 5 teacher before the birth of her daughter Manessa. Since then, Mona has been focused on her other projects. With her husband, she is the proud owner of Modern Hejab, she is a blogger and writer/editor for MuslimMoms.Ca. She has also been published in Sisters Magazine and featured in the fashion section of the Edmonton Journal.
Mona is very passionate about Islam, Hijab and bringing awareness to the beauty of Islam while encouraging open and honest dialogue. Besides, working, Mona loves to spend time with her friends and family, travelling and most of all she loves being a mom!”
*Check out Mona’s online store and blog, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram!
Sumaira Zaheer, Co-Host and Panelist
“Sumaira Zaheer holds a business degree from the University of Alberta with a major in Strategic Management and Organization, and is a blogger over at TheMuslimahMommy.com where she writes about her experiences as a Canadian born and raised Muslimah mother of three while giving advice and tips along the way!
Sumaira is also a writer and has written for well known websites such as Productive Muslim, Coming of Faith, and Islamic Online University, amongst others.
When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, you can find Sumaira eating chocolate and thinking about creative DIY projects (that never seem to get done)!”
*Check out Sumaira’s blog, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram!
Nakita Valerio, Panelist
“Nakita Valerio is currently pursuing graduate studies in History and Islamic-Jewish Studies at the University of Alberta. Nakita was named one of the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation’s Top 30 under 30 for 2015, and is the recipient of the State of Kuwait, the Queen Elizabeth II and the Frank W Peers Awards for Graduate Studies. Most recently, she has been recognized by Rotary International with an Award for Excellence in Service to Humanity and has been named one of Edmonton’s “Difference Makers” for 2015 by the Edmonton Journal. Nakita is the co-founder of Bassma Primary School in El Attaouia, Morocco and a Director with the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council.”
*Check out Nakita’s blog, and follow her on Facebook!
Wedad Amiri, Panelist
“Wedad Amiri is a graduate from the University of Alberta. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, where she majored in Sociology and minored in Political Science. She currently works for the City of St Albert for the department of Family & Community Support Services as their Community Resource Coordinator. In this position she creates prevention based programs, which consist of mental health, bullying, body image, team building, communication, and friendship skills just to name a few. She then presents them to the students in all the schools in St Albert.
Wedad is also the proud owner of a fashion line called Afflatus Hijab. This line is a modest but yet fashionable Muslimah line. Afflatus Hijab promotes the empowerment of women and awareness around mental health.”
*Check out Wedad’s online store and blog, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram!
“Her love for culture and religion took her through a journey with an unexpected ending that started a new one!
Winnie accepted Islam in 2007 and is still actively studying her religion today. Born and raised in Edmonton, this mother of 2 holds a Psychology Degree from Grant MacEwan University and is now employed by the Provincial Government of Alberta.
Winnie has always loved to spend her time giving back to the community; she offered her outreach support services to Islamic Family and Social Services Association (IFSSA) in their Fostering Healthy Families program from 2010 through 2012. Winnie is also a key component in establishing the Edmonton chapter for AlMaghrib Institute, a worldwide Islamic University, since 2008. AlMaghrib is now the leading Institute teaching premier Islamic education in the West with the largest on-site student body.
Outside of raising her two beautiful daughters and volunteering, Winnie loves a great cup of tea and thought provoking conversation.”
We would also like to extend our gratitude and thanks to all of our amazing sponsors who generously donated the venue and food for the event:
–Mac Islamic School for the venue, located at 11342 127th Street
–PitaBake for providing food, located at 15180 – 127 Street Edmonton, Alberta
–Paramount Fine Foods for providing food, located at 12922-167 Ave,
–Cedar Sweets for providing dessert, located at 10710 – 134 Avenue, Edmonton, AB
–Baklava For You for providing dessert, located at 15718 -111 street
A shout out to all of my friends and family members that came out for the support and helping me out (at 30 weeks pregnant) getting the food and setting up the venue, and assisting me with my children- I couldn’t have done this without you all, THANK YOU!