Fed up with stereotypes of Muslim women, documentary photographer Maha Alkhateeb made her own images. Pictured here are 20 American Muslim women ranging in professional roles from educators to entrepreneurs, from artists to attorneys, who are changing the world.
Spirited Tenacity highlights the fortitude, brilliance, and vitality embodied by American Muslim women leaders in their roles as educators, authors, entrepreneurs, professors, attorneys, artists, social service providers, political activists, and community advocates. Their lives run contrary to popular images over the past 50 years that have portrayed Muslim women as oppressed, passive, and uneducated – masking the strengths and courage they are manifesting in their lives as passionate and visionary leaders. These remarkable women are of diverse races and ethnicities, and represent several generations ranging in age from their 30s to their 70s. They include indigenous American Muslims in addition to first and second-generation immigrant families. Several are pioneers in their fields of expertise, and many are socially, politically, and morally influential in the wider American sphere. Despite their extremely busy schedules, not only are all the women multitalented, but each and every woman is also a community volunteer or activist.
In addition to each leader participating in a qualitative survey, I had an opportunity to shadow some of these women. The intellect, talent, confidence, and conviction they displayed were remarkable. I observed one leader preside over a roomful of senior male leaders with humbleness and grace as she listened respectfully before offering her firm recommendation – which these leaders accepted with respect. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. This was not the typical cultural gender dynamic I remembered from my youth – certainly not from the male leadership. At a small dinner with a top level U.S. official, another American Muslim woman was the most intellectual, articulate, and charismatic presence in the room – a testament to the advancement of American Muslim women.
Universal themes expressed in interviews included embracing tolerance towards all people, a desire for peace in society and the world, and utilizing their faith as a source of empowerment and gender equity devoid of patriarchal culture. Another common thread was motivation to pursue careers that would help to eradicate the myths and perpetuate the facts regarding Islam and Muslim women, both outside and within their faith communities.
I am eager to see how the path that these extraordinary leaders have paved will impact the next generation. Courageous, creative, and dynamic, the accomplishments of these visionaries are a living legacy that is empowering the next generation of American Muslim women.
This ongoing project is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Sharifa Alkhateeb (1946-2004).
When she spoke, everyone listened.
Learn more about these women in the slideshow, and read their full bios below.
Afeefa Syeed, 43
Kashmiri, via Central Asia via Arabia
Grassroots Organizer, Peace Educator & Advocate for the Marginalized
"We can only truly touch what surrounds us, and if we each work for that, the larger world feels the ripple effects of our efforts"
Afeefa Syeed travels the world in pursuit of peace and women’s empowerment. As senior advisor at the US Agency for International Development Middle East and Asia Bureaus, she designs and implements initiatives and training on emerging programs, including engaging traditional and religious leaders and institutions, radicalization, and madrassah enhancement. Afeefa works with Washington-based and mission staff to define best practices, highlight success stories, develop tools, and frame country strategies to bring expertise in engaging with cultural contexts. She worked for over 15 years with various international and grassroots NGOs and US and international development agencies, public and private. She also designed and managed a model school whose core curriculum is peace education and civic engagement. Afeefa is a member of various interfaith, social service, and political action organizations in the US. Her activism led her to run for local office in 2003 as a Democratic candidate for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in Virginia.
Aisha Al-Adawiya, 69
African in the Americas
Muslim Human Rights & Social Justice Advocate
“The mosque is a spiritual dwelling for women, and one in which we should feel equally at home. I hope that whatever we accomplish will serve to not only empower women to take their rightful place in the public arena, but also to open up a process of dialogue that will enable all members of the Muslim community to fully appreciate and value the contributions that women make.”
As Founder and Executive Director of Women in Islam (WI), Aisha al-Adawiya has been leading a major initiative to increase women’s access to New York City mosques with regards to prayer space and governance. Using WI’s publication Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers: Working Together to Reclaim Our Heritage as a resource, she has emphasized change from within the mosques by working collaboratively with mosque leaders. Like many American Muslim women, Aisha views the degradation of women’s space as a residual effect of patriarchal culture, whereas, in the early days of Islam, women had equitable access to the mosque and were active community participants.
Through Women in Islam, an organization of women focused on human rights and social justice, Aisha has organized and participated in conferences, symposia and other forums on Islam, gender equity, conflict resolution and cross-cultural understanding, and represents Muslim women in United Nations forums as an NGO. Aisha serves on numerous boards related to the interests of the global Islamic community.
Dr. Amina Wadud Muhsin, 61
African, Berber, Arab Muslim Slave
Professor of Islamic Studies, Lady Imam, Mother of 5 & Grandmother
“[We must] understand that our destinies are linked on this planet and we need to learn how to interact in a positive or constructive way. I call it radical pluralism, so that people learn to accept differences and still keep the peace.”
Dr. Amina Wadud has been pioneering among contemporary Muslim scholars advocating for a woman-sensitive interpretation of the Qur’an through her publication of Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text From a Woman’s Perspective. She is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a visiting Scholar at the Starr King School for Ministry in Berkeley, CA. Amina is also known as ‘The Lady Imam’ for leading mixed gender congregations in prayer, and has received much criticism for her imamate. In her recent book Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam, she emphasizes a gender inclusive perspective through Qur'anic exegesis. Amina has lectured about Islam, human rights, and women in 40 countries at universities, the grassroots level, and in governmental and non-governmental forums.
Anisa Mehdi, 57
Arab, Persian, Scottish, Canadian & American
Leader, Communicator, Journalist, Filmmaker, Media Consultant, Interfaith Activist, Musician & Mother
"We need to transform American appreciation of Arabs, the Middle East, and Muslims. I grew up in New York City with a politically active, pro-Palestinian, Iraqi-Muslim father and an equally visionary Canadian-Christian mother. That taught me a lot at a young age about being unusual and being misunderstood. Discrimination? Yes, that, too. Working in television news allowed me to engage journalists in ordinary and unexpected conversations that helped us all reframe our perceptions. When people see and hear fresh, authentic perspectives, anything is possible."
Anisa Mehdi is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker specializing in religion and the arts. She was a 2009-2010 Fulbright Scholar in Amman, Jordan. Her acclaimed National Geographic documentary Inside Mecca screens internationally, and her PBS Frontline film Muslims won the CINE Golden Eagle. Anisa was arts and culture correspondent for New Jersey Network (PBS) for 12 years and is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University. She is Vice Chair of the board of Abraham's Path Initiative, which is developing a cultural walking trail that puts tourists in touch with the historic hospitality of the troubled Middle East. On-camera, behind-the-scenes, and in person, Anisa is committed to sharing inspiring personal stories of faith, culture and courage to a wide range of audiences.
Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, 70
Professor, Scholar & Non-Profit Organizer
“My writings and Karamah both open windows of hope for women, and shine the light on the humanistic fair and just traditions within Islam that have been buried under a heavy patriarchal heritage. My writings do this in theory, my organization does it in practice. The two supplement each other.”
As founder and President of Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, Dr. Azizah al-Hibri clarifies Muslim women’s rights under Islamic law, and responds to their needs through grassroots activism, legal advocacy, and education. She has written extensively on issues of Islam and democracy, Muslim women's rights, and human rights in Islam as a Professor of Law at the University of Richmond and a Fulbright Scholar. Azizah is a former professor of Philosophy, founding editor of Hypatia: a Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and a member of the Constitution Project's Liberty and Security Committee. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. She was also an advisor to the award-winning, PBS-broadcast documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet.
Azizah has traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world in support of Muslim women's rights, and has discussed issues of importance to Muslim women with their religious, political, and women leaders, as well as their legal scholars. She has written numerous books and journal articles, and has served on the board of directors and advisory boards of many non-profit organizations.
Dr. Aziza Shad, 57
Pediatric Oncologist, Professor, Researcher, Humanist, Mother & Wife
“Through the educational programs I am establishing in developing countries, I hope to see an improvement in clinical care for children with cancer, which then will translate into an improvement in survival rates in developing countries from less than 20% to close to where they are in the developed world.”
Aziza is a distinguished pediatric oncologist currently serving as Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology Oncology at Georgetown Hospital. She is also Director and Board Chair of many other local, national, and international oncology programs and committees. Aziza is internationally recognized for her cutting edge research on lymphoma, palliative care, cancer survivorship, and the development of cancer treatment centers. Her unique oncology program at Georgetown is family centered with an emphasis on personalized, compassionate, state of the art care as expressed through multiple programs, including an art therapy program, a family emergency fund, and a cancer survivorship program.
As the U.S. Branch Director of the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research, Aziza remains committed to developing pediatric oncology programs in developing countries and educating medical personnel in cancer treatments and palliative care. Aziza has received numerous awards and is widely published in the field of pediatric oncology. Her latest book, The Next Step…Crossing the Bridge to Survivorship, is available free to childhood cancer survivors anywhere in the world.
Hadia Mubarak, 30
Islamic Studies Doctoral Student & Georgetown University Activist
“I hope that my achievements will help to shift the discourse about Muslim women from one of victimization to one of empowerment. The thousands of positive stories about women in the Muslim world never make it to the public spotlight…”
Hadia Mubarak was the first Muslim woman to become President of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) -- the largest organization of young Muslims with chapters at major universities in the U.S. In addition to her role as a youth leader and community activist, she has served as a researcher for the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, for the Gallup Organization's Center for Muslim Studies, and for the Islam in the Age of Globalization project.
As a full-time doctoral student in Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, Hadia's research interests include the development of classical Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic family law, Islamic reform, and gender issues in Islam. Hadia has given presentations in the U.S. and internationally and published a number of articles on Muslim youth, Islamic feminism, and Muslim culture.
Dr. Ingrid Mattson, 49
Canadian, Irish, German, Norwegian & English
Professor of Islamic Studies & Muslim Community Leader
“I hope that Muslim Americans in particular will see that we need to consider new ways of organizing ourselves to provide relevant and compassionate services to our communities. “
Dr. Ingrid Mattson was the first female and Muslim convert to become President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the largest grassroots Muslim organization in the U.S. During her presidency she focused upon institution-building to emphasize the need for developing uniform standards within the leadership of American Muslim communities.
Ingrid is the inaugural London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College's Faculty of Theology. Previously, she served at Hartford Seminary as Professor of Islamic Studies at the Macdonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, and as the founder of the first Islamic chaplaincy program in the United States. During her tenure Ingrid worked to raise the level of religious leadership in the Muslim community; particularly to move from a focus on authority to a concern with service.
Lobna Ismail, 50
Egyptian, American (Southerner) & Arab
Interculturalist, Interfaith Dialogue Speaker & Mother
"Throughout my life, what mattered most was to come together with others based upon mutual respect and superordinate goals. Sharing our stories can move us from fear to compassion, highlight our humanity, and foster a more inclusive world. Doing what is right for communities, nations, and the world will lead to what is right for all of us."
As a cross-cultural communication expert, and founder and president of Connecting Cultures, Lobna "Luby" Ismail conducts trainings for Federal and State agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and corporations in cultural competence, Arab and American cultures, Islamic awareness, and religious diversity. Her trainings help participants gain critical knowledge and understanding to effectively communicate with Muslims and Arabs, and are especially helpful for civilian and military individuals stationed overseas.
Lobna has published several booklets on interacting with Muslims and Arabs, one of which has been distributed to almost 10,000 American military, law enforcement trainers and diplomats. She has been selected as a Peace Fellow for Seeds of Peace and a Malone Fellow in Middle East and Islamic Studies by the National Council for U.S. and Arab Relations. Most recently, she helped launch an initiative, 20,000 Dialogues, to promote peace and dialogue across cultures and faiths. Most recently, she helped launch My Fellow American, America’s Unofficial Ambassadors, and two exciting dialogue initiatives to breakdown barriers across faiths -- 20,000 Dialogues and Change the Story.
Dr. Mohja Kahf, 45
Arab & Damascene Syrian
Poet, Academic, Professor, Artiste & Mother
"To seek the living manifestation of spiritual and ethical values themselves, regardless of the label they come under, is to discover unexpected kinship. . . In this view, faith is no longer a matter of an allegiance to a specific community or identity, but a ceaseless search for the beautiful ways to realize the human potential in every given age and place."
Dr. Mohja Kahf’s literary works give life to the perspective and experience of being an Arab Muslim in America and an American in the Arab Muslim world. With discerning wit she weaves a universal spirit into this bifurcated identity. As Associate Professor of Comparative Literature in the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program at the University of Arkansas, Mohja’s courses examine the literature of the Arabs, Islamic Spain, and the Qur’an. She has published several books including her novel The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, a book of poetry entitled E-mails from Scheherazad, and Western Representations of the Muslim Woman: From Termagant to Odalisque. She has won many awards for her poetry and prose.
Dr. Nimat Hafez Barazangi, 69
Scholar-Activist, Action Researcher, Educator in the Foundations of Islamic/Arabic Studies & Mother
“The goal of my silent revolution over the past 40 years has been to ignite the flames for social change, re-interpreting the Qur’an in order to retrieve its dynamics that originally intended to establish gender justice. My revolution will be silent no more.”
As a Research Fellow in the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Cornell University, Dr. Nimat Hafez Barazangi’s scholarly work with Arab, Muslim, and non-Muslim organizations and individuals in North America and the Muslim world has been intertwined with her academic research and achievements. She has published many research articles, book reviews, computerized instructional programs, and her magnum opus, Women’s Identity and the Qur’an: A New Reading, labeled by one reviewer as “the most radical book in the last 14 centuries of Islam.”
A recipient of many Fulbright Scholarships, Nimat has received several awards for her research. Her Participatory Action Research projects, relate an Islamic world view based on faith and reason with research and community service. The projects aim to educate Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam and to integrate Muslims' and Arabs' world views with that of the Western world view of North America.
Salma Elkadi Abugideiri, 47
Licensed Professional Counselor, Peaceful Families Project Advisory Board Member & Mother of 2 Sons
"It is important for each and every woman to identify the strengths she has and to realize that she can make a difference in any and all aspects of her life. A mother putting her energy into raising children who will become positive contributors to society, a career woman who does her job with integrity, a community activist who fights for social justice: all of these women can be significant change agents who can make this world a better place."
Salma Elkadi Abugideiri is a pioneer in providing mental health and domestic violence awareness services to Muslims. As a licensed professional counselor in private practice, she works extensively with Middle Eastern and Muslim families by providing individual and family therapy for a wide range of problems, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, abuse, and cultural adjustment issues. Salma is an Advisory Board member, the primary trainer, and former co-director of the Peaceful Families Project (PFP), an organization dedicated to educating Muslim community leaders and members about domestic violence. PFP provides educational workshops and develops resources based on gender equitable Islamic paradigms to address domestic violence prevention among Muslims.
Since 2007, Salma has been part of Faith Trust Institute’s Leadership Team, providing training to clergy and faith communities on issues related to domestic violence. She is also a member of the Interfaith Coalition against Domestic Violence, a national effort with a focus on guiding policy and legislation that supports domestic violence survivors. Salma has published numerous works on domestic violence issues among Muslims.
Salma Arastu, 62
Painter, Sculptor, Printmaker, Poet, Businesswoman & Mother
“I have always tried to address themes of unity, peace and spirituality in my paintings, sculptures and poetry. In my new painting series I combine lyrical human forms with Arabic calligraphy to convey celebratory messages of diversity, unity, love and compassion from the Al-Quran for all people.”
Salma Arastu combines Eastern spirituality and Western techniques in her paintings with continuous lyrical lines, and a variety of re-purposed materials. Through art she transcends all physical and mental limitations to create images of transformation, with strong folk art, miniature art, and Arabic calligraphy influences. Salma's work is inspired by her multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, and multicultural heritage and life experiences. In addition to her painting, she also creates metal sculptures, uses digital media to narrate experiences, and publishes free-verse poetry and short stories. She has won many awards for her artwork, and exhibited her paintings internationally over the last 30 years.
Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn, 69
Entrepreneur, Business Owner & Philanthropist
"Creating a life of breaking barriers, service and setting new standards of what is possible in the face of great odds and obstacles, while drawing on your own personal pool of strength to move forward with grace and courage, is yours to do for yourself. There is never any real change without courage, conviction, commitment, sacrifice and leadership."
Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn is a former owner and Vice Chairman of the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc., a privately held corporation and the fourth largest Coke bottler in the United States. Prior to the bottling business, she owned a home care company and had a long, groundbreaking and successful career in the home health-care field, having pioneered the creation of home care in New York City. She received Presidential appointments from both President Carter and President Clinton. When General Colin Powell started and chaired America’s Promise, he appointed her his first Vice Chairman. In addition, she has received numerous awards and honors.
Shahara is a founding member of several organizations and just recently stepped down as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of The National Constitution Center. She currently serves as a Vice Chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center, is Vice Chairman of The New 42nd Street, and is on the board of Peace First, originator of the Peace First Prize. Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed her a Commissioner to the NYC Commission on Women’s Issues, where she is serving her third term. She is a founding Board member of Platform.org, a new non-profit organization focused on diversifying participation and success in the growing innovation economy. She continues to be involved with various ventures and projects as well as maintaining her philanthropic activities and interests through the Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn Family Foundation.
Sharifa Alkhateeb (1946 – 2004)
Muslim Women’s Rights Advocate, Domestic Violence Advocate, Educational Consultant, Intercultural Trainer, Mother & Grandmother
“You have the right as a Muslim woman to happiness, to have a life that is full of hope and dreams, where you’re able to speak your mind directly and fully, where you’re respected for who you are and how you think, where you are encouraged in what you want to pursue in your life, and where you are allowed to develop your abilities.” (from “Garments for One Another: Ending Domestic Violence in Muslim Families,” FaithTrust Institute, 2007)
Sharifa Alkhateeb (1946–2004) was a writer, researcher, teacher, educational consultant, intercultural trainer of trainers, television producer, youth advisor, and international speaker. For 40 years she worked within and outside the Muslim community on issues concerning cultural communication and cultural competency, Islam and Muslims, Muslim women, Muslims and domestic violence, religion and the workplace, and religious diversity.
Sharifa served as the founder of the Peaceful Families Project, an advisory committee member for FaithTrust Institute, on the editorial board of the Journal of Religion and Abuse, as team leader for FEMA’s Community Resilience Project, as founder and vice-president of the North American Council for Muslim Women, as Muslim caucus chair at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, as president of the Muslim Education Council, as co-editor of the Arab World Notebook social studies curriculum, as television producer and host of ‘Middle Eastern Parenting’, and as Managing Editor of the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences.
Shirin Tahir-Kheli, 68
South Asian American
Former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for Women’s Empowerment, Policy Maker & Strategic Issues Writer
“I salute the United States as a country that nurtures those who are different and allows them to become full citizens.”
In her work at the U.S. State Department, Shirin highlighted the importance of women’s empowerment, and was especially focused on engaging women of the Muslim world. Shirin spearheaded the Secretary’s Women Leaders’ Working Group, with nearly forty foreign ministers and heads of state, to focus on political participation, economic empowerment, education, and issues relating to justice for women.
Shirin recently served as the Secretary’s Senior Adviser on United Nations reform. As an academic who transitioned to senior positions in the U.S. government, Shirin has served as Head of the U.S. Delegation to the UN Commission on Human Rights, was appointed by President Bush to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and served on the Presidential Commission on Public Service. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Tayyibah Taylor, 60
Publisher and Founding Editor-in-Chief of Azizah Magazine & Mother of 5
“To create a life that ends without regrets means living deliberately, consciously choosing to do good continually. By always looking to increase benefit in ourselves and others, we foster a desire to be our best at all times. In doing so we seek to develop into an nafsul mutmainnah – a soul welled pleased and well pleasing, a soul at peace, a soul without regrets.”
Tayyibah Taylor, founding editor-in-chief and publisher of Azizah Magazine, is passionate about spirituality, women’s issues, and communication. Through Azizah Magazine, she realized her vision to provide a vehicle for the voice of Muslim American women – a vehicle that portrays their perspectives and experiences, and shatters commonly held stereotypes. Tayyibah hopes to empower Muslim women to fulfill their potential, and to demonstrate their diversity and spirituality to others. She is also on the steering Committee of WISE, an organization that convenes global Muslim women leaders and fosters Muslim women’s participation in Islamic law and contemporary debates.
Tayyibah lectures widely on Islam, Muslim women, and the media nationally and internationally at conferences, universities, and as a representative of the U.S. State Department. She has worked on several interfaith initiatives and traveled to many countries in Europe and the Middle East with various multi-faith groups. She serves on several boards and has received many awards for her work.
Zainab Alwani, 51
Jurist, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Community Activist for Women’s and Family Issues, Writer & Mother
“Having been touched by war, illness, and various difficulties in life, I believe that love is the answer to intercultural misunderstanding and human tragedy. We will reach peace one day, as long as there are people who love themselves and love others.”
Dr. Zainab Alwani is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Howard University School of Divinity. She is an Islamic scholar, speaker, researcher, and community activist. In addition to being the first female jurist to serve on the board for the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), Zainab currently serves as the Vice President of the FCNA. Her research focuses on Qur’anic studies, Islamic jurisprudence, the relationship between civil and religious law in the area of family and gender, comparative religions, and inter-religious dialogue. As an educator at Johns Hopkins University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington National Cathedral, and Cordoba University, she taught courses in Arabic and Islamic Studies examining the link between Islamic philosophy, language, culture, and jurisprudence.
Zainab works with many social service organizations and offers frequent workshops about the role of women and family from an Islamic perspective. She has led many group studies for women and youth to promote Islamic education and to advance mental and spiritual inner peace. Zainab participates in interfaith dialogues and conferences to promote positive understanding among faith communities. She has published many articles and contributed to several books on Islamic jurisprudence and family harmony.
Zakia Mahasa, 58
Master in Chancery & Community Advocate
“I hope that being a Muslim woman in the legal field will help to illustrate the various dimensions of people who practice Islam. Non-Muslims who come before me get a chance to see a Muslim who is in an authoritative position being fair and helpful.”
Master Zakia Mahasa is an American Muslim judge who is known for being just as she presides over delinquency hearings and children in need of assistance. She serves as Master in Chancery (akin to a Magistrate Judge) in the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland. As an active member of the legal community Zakia sits on Maryland’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, has served as Vice President of the Maryland branch of the National Association of Women Judges, and was honored with the Leadership in Law award in 2010. Prior to being appointed as judge, she served as Supervising Attorney at House of Ruth and represented victims of domestic violence. A long time community activist, Zakia is involved with several grassroots organizations and lectures at schools, universities and community events.
Zarinah Shakir, 64
African, Native American & European American
Media/Marketing Consultant, Producer/Host of Radio and Television, Educator, Community Activist, Musician & Mother
“To put a positive spin on how to reach and teach those who are unaware or ignorant about who we are is a major challenge. However, this is one of our tests, and to succeed we must research, study and try to offer the facts as they are.”
As producer and host of Islamic Perspectives, the longest running television program about Islam and Muslims in the Washington, DC metro area, Zarinah Shakir values offering content and highlighting guests not often seen in mainstream media. She is also the Chairperson of WPFW (89.3FM), part of the Pacifica Network.
An avid community advocate, Zarinah has served through teaching, educational outreach, arts and cultural programs, and marketing roles. She has traveled to Palestine, Israel, and Egypt for international interfaith trips, and lectured on those experiences in the U.S. Zarinah is an active participant of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, DC and remains committed to interfaith work and multicultural unity locally and around the U.S.