Muslim Women: Past and Present

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Throughout the ages, from the earliest days of Islam to contemporary times today, Muslim women have been and continue to be active leaders in their communities and countries across the world. This directory is a growing archive of leading Muslim women scholars, activists, writers, politicians, artists, religious and spiritual leaders, civil society leaders and more. Please contribute to this archive by suggesting Muslim women to be featured through our recommendation form.

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Jamila Afghani

I have often heard that Afghan women are not political. That peace and security is man’s work. I am here to challenge that illusion.

- Jamila Afghani addressing the United Nations Security Council 2001 meeting on the implementation of Resolution 1325.

photo of Jamila Afghani Photo courtesy of Jamila Afghani.

Known For: Head, Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization (NECDO)
Dates: 1974 - Present
Country: Afghanistan

About

Jamila Afghani heads the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organzation (NECDO), a local Afghan women’s NGO serving women, youth, and children. The NECDO is dedicated to building capacity and leading educational activities, including establishing libraries. Since 2000, Jamila has been working as an activist in the area of gender & human rights from an Islamic perspective and a consultant with national and international organizations in management, strategic planning, and monitoring and evaluation. She raises awareness of issues surrounding women’s rights within an Islamic perspective through media, round tables, group discussions, workshops, and seminars.

Jamila believes that social mobilization for positive change towards women will be the key instrument for paving the way for gender equality and that Islamic teachings are essential to influencing human behavior, especially in a cultural-based society like Afghanistan. She holds a Master’s degree in International Relations & Sharia Law from Peshawar Pakistan. She is married to a prominent Islamic scholar, who supports her work and organization. They have a three childern, Salahuddin, a five year old son and two daughters, Khadija and Fatima.

In 2008, she was the recipient of the Tanenbaum Peacemaker in Action Award.  In collaboration with the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality, Jamila created the first holistic gender-sensitive imam training program in Kabul and the surrounding areas. In its initial form, the program has resulted in a series of khutbas (Friday sermons) in twenty of the city’s influential mosques. An Islamic scholar herself, Jamila has also proposed the creation of an Islamic institute for women in Afghanistan, so that more women can access their own tradition to strengthen their understanding, protect themselves from injustice and violence and play a greater role in national affairs. In her own words, “Even our women parliamentarians could not play a major role for women’s life improvement [so far] as they could not argue with male parliamentarians from Islamic values, and women’s mouths get shut when they don’t have Islamic justifications.”1

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This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women alphabetically by their first names. Many Muslim names have alternative spellings once rendered into English so if you cannot find the name you are looking for, please try the general search tab where you can enter keywords of your choice.
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This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women chronologically by the Common Era century. We are actively building the archive of Muslim women leaders from the past, as well as from today, and we would welcome your recommendations of women to feature. Please complete our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.
This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women by their Country. We are actively building the archive of Muslim women leaders from the past, as well as from today, and we would welcome your recommendations of women to feature. Please complete our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.
This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women leaders by entering the keyword(s) of your choice. If you cannot find a particular woman that you are looking for, please let us know by completing our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.