Singer and Activist
Hijri 1397–Present (AH); Common Era 1977–Present (CE)
Deeyah was born in Norway to a father of Pakistani heritage and a mother of Afghani heritage. She is one of the few women who have trained with the venerable musicians, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Sultan Khan. Deeyah, dubbed the Muslim Madonna, has released critically acclaimed albums in Europe. Because of her public image, Deeyah has faced criticism and harassment from elements of the Muslim community, forcing her to move from Norway to the United Kingdom and eventually to the United States. However, she has continued her musical career and her activism on behalf of women’s issues. Deeyah is an avid supporter of ASHRAM, a shelter for battered women in the United Kingdom. She is also an advocate for ICAHK, the International Campaign Against Honour Killings. Deeyah is currently working with Freemuse, an organization that supports freedom of expression through music. She has also organized a compilation album of female Muslim artists, called Sisterhood, which she independently produced.