USA: American-Muslims dispel the stereotypes of Muslim women who cover - new photo exhibit 'iCover'

The International Museum of Women (IMOW) is an  online museum that showcases art, stories and ideas to celebrate and advance the lives of women around the world. IMOW's exhibit Muslima: Muslim Women's Art & Voices presents inspiring art and innovative ideas from Muslim women worldwide who are leading the movement for a more just, equitable, and inclusive world.

This exclusive selection of portraits from iCover, part of Muslima's exhibition, allows us to get to know ten unique Muslim women who all choose to wear the hijab for sports, at school, in the army, as a truck driver, and elsewhere in everyday life. Sadaf Syed’s sympathetic portraits dispel the stereotypes of Muslim women who choose to cover.

All photos credit: Sadaf Sayed

Please contact International Museum of Women www.imow.org or use the Press Contact details on the right hand side of this page for permission to reprint these images.

Gallery

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Asma Azim, Truck Driver: Asma, a 58-year-old step-grandmother from Pakistan, has been a manager of mechanics and a truck driver for the past twelve years. While working at a busy gas station, she became intrigued with the lifestyles of the cross- country truck drivers who stopped by to refuel their big bodies and their even bigger big rigs. She ended up enrolling in the recommended training courses and went on to earn a decent paycheck in a lucrative but dangerous business, delivering industrial supplies to warehouses in Texas after only a few days and nights of driving. Her success in the field was such that she soon owned and operated her own ?eet of trucks, working independently.Backing up a 53-foot-long big rig is a piece of cake for the 5'1" petite driver from California, but it's her courage to take on a challenging career so late in life that draws out the most respect and awe in people.
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Asma Azim, Truck Driver: Asma, a 58-year-old step-grandmother from Pakistan
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Asma Azim, Truck Driver: Asma, a 58-year-old step-grandmother from Pakistan
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Autumn Hardesty, U.S. Army Specialist: Life in the United States Army is a balancing act, and Autumn is simply trying to be all that she can be --- a Muslim-American. “[People] assume I have a different culture, that somehow I am less American because I am Muslim. Some people do accept me, but I have to be very cautious. I feel like I have to be on my best behavior all the time, which is a little stressful. If I make a mistake, non-Muslims will believe it is Islam and not me.”
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Rema Nasaredden, Soccer Player: Rema, an Arizona State University student of both Palestinian and Dutch ethnicity, likes to get out on the soccer field whenever she can take a break from her studies.
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Rema Nasaredden, Soccer Player: Rema, an Arizona State University student of both Palestinian and Dutch ethnicity, likes to get out on the soccer field whenever she can take a break from her studies.
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Rema Nasaredden, Soccer Player: Rema, an Arizona State University student of both Palestinian and Dutch ethnicity, likes to get out on the soccer field whenever she can take a break from her studies. "It's really important to create an outlet for girls to stay active and have fun by being involved in sports. Staying physically fit and active is important for Muslims, both male and female. I played basketball and baseball and ran track in middle school. I didn't wear hijab yet, but I wore pants instead of shorts. My parents encouraged me to stay active as long as I followed the Islamic dress-code. I hope to encourage my own daughter to participate in sports as well in the future. Someday I would love to start a little girls' soccer team to encourage all Muslim girls to get active and stay fit, God Willing."
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Nousheen Yousuf, Tae Kwan Do Martial Artist: A 26-year-old Indian-American who got her Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Boston University, Nousheen also practices the martial art Tae Kwon Do. "The discipline I learned in Tae Kwan Do helped me focus more in my spiritual practice, which in turn helped me perform better in martial arts. Tae Kwan Do taught me to treat daily prayers as a real meditation where the focus is on my relationship with God."
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Heba Abbasi, Triathlete: “Participating in a triathlon was de?nitely a new event for my family and friends,” confesses Heba, a Palestinian-American elementary school teacher who teaches second grade in an inner-city school on the south side of Chicago. “My start time was 6 a.m., but I still had so many family members and friends come out to watch me. Their cheer at the end of my swim gave me the last boost of adrenaline that I needed to complete that portion of the race.” Emerging from the pool and hearing her nine-year-old nephew yell, “Heba, you’re so cool!” motivated her to keep going with the bike and running portions of the triathlon. “The support of loved ones cheering me on was God’s way of answering my prayer in helping me complete the swim. God’s Will, my desire, and the support of family and friends are why my medal is hanging in my room right by the plaque given to me by my husband which reads ‘She Believed She Could. So She Did.’”
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Naturopathic Doctor: A doctor who enjoys physical activities like kite surfing, snow boarding, and hang-gliding along with more quieter pursuits like painting, reading, and yoga, this thirty-something who wishes to remain anonymous has raised a few eyebrows while out on the water. "Several times the instructors at the kite surfing school were approached by people on the beach asking if that really was a Muslim woman out there surfing, and they responded in the affirmative, explaining that a Muslim woman dresses modestly but is not forbidden from pursuing physical exercise." When asked what it means to be a Muslim-American, she responds, "It is living the beauty of Islam in a ceaseless sea of opportunities where opportunities manifest and morph into new states of being, where the new dimensions of expression become part of our essence, leading us back to gratitude, to the One (Allah) Who puts all in our path."
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Sana Rahim, Homecoming Queen: Sana was elected the first Muslim homecoming queen at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Ilinois, a town which is often rated one of the top ten places to live in America. She remembers her senior year with nostalgia. "It was incredible to see the support and interest that people in my school showed towards my nomination. I was disappointed to receive some negative reactions from Muslims in the community who felt that it was inappropriate for a Muslim girl to be attending Homecoming, but I feel like I am a strong Muslim woman who can pursue anything in life with ambition and charisma."
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Sana Rahim, Homecoming Queen
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Nancy Ali, Voter: An American of Italian and German descent, Nancy is an educator and public speaker with a passion for exercising her political rights. "It is important for Muslim-Americans to vote because we are as much a part of American politics as any other religious community. If we want to be heard, we need to be seen in every productive aspect of life in America, and voting is one of the most important activities. As a muhajjiba, when I enter polling places to vote, I am treated with great respect. I wish that more Muslim women would realize that wearing the hijab does not alienate others; it all depends upon the personality under the hijab."
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Noor Ali, Palestinian-American Survivor/Student: Noor, 24 years old, has seen it all in her native Palestine. House arrests, curfews, roadblocks, being woken up at dawn by soldiers to have her home ransacked and occupied had all become par for the course before she decided to take advantage of her U.S. passport and move back to Rockford, Illinois, where she went on to complete her high school. "When I first heard about the controversy in which Dunkin' Donuts pulled their on-line ad for featuring Rachael Ray in a scarf they felt looked 'too Arab', to be honest, I was not disturbed in the slightest. To me, such ignorance has become normal. It was later that my brother made me realize that therein lies the problem and that such an action should not go quietly. The keffiyeh (Palestinian black and white scarf) symbolizes much more than a culture; it is not a fashion statement. To us Palestinians, it is a symbol of hope, pride, strength, and freedom."
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Noor Ali, Palestinian-American Survivor/Student
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Renee Abdul Hadi, Senior Team Leader: Senior Team Leader Renee is a Lebanese-American who manages Target, an American mass merchandise retail store, in Dearborn, Michigan.
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Date: 30/05/2013

Countries:

United States of America

Categories:

Culture and Tradition
Women/Gender
Religion/Religious minorities

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

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Name: Angela Braren

Telephone: 415-543-4669

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