The beautiful thing to understand when we truly embrace diversity, is that there are intersections within intersections. There are layers within the layers of identity. The best description of what I read recently, in terms of a prominent example of the beauty of diversity, is that within the ethnic terrain of Afghanistan: it resembles the intricacies of the patchwork within an Afghan/Persian carpet. Scholar Abubakr Siddique was referring to that beauty of diversity within Afghanistan, but I’d like to think it applies to various other groups and the world in general, including the population of Muslim women within the 1.6 Billion Muslims around the world.
Today I write because we celebrate the first Muslim Women’s Day. The hashtag to honor this special day has surfaced, and people have been writing to acknowledge and celebrate Muslim Women all over the world #MuslimWomensDay. And I wanted to briefly take a moment to contribute to this message.
I celebrate this important intersection of my identity that has been a critical part of my history and who I am today. But I think mainstream conversations surrounding Muslim women, and especially within our own Muslim communities, often compartmentalizes Muslim women in one type of persona. And this is counterproductive towards the real conversation we should be having about women in Islam.
I hope we remember that what exemplifies the brilliance, compassion, resilience, and beauty of a Muslim Woman is not by any means what we see on the outside, but what is on the inside that radiates in our words, actions, and behaviors.
Just like all women around the world, Muslim women come in all shapes, forms, sizes, and colors…and our communities must reflect an understanding of that in dialogue and action, while asking the rest of the world to understand it.
This diversity among Muslim Women cannot continue to be minimized at every corner of our communities and must be acknowledged and celebrated.
It is something we too often forget to consider when we think about the “image” of a “Muslim woman.”
So happy Muslim Women’s Day to all who cherish this intersection of their identity and I hope we grow more aware of the depth and beauty that is emblematic of all women from every background around the world.