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Richmond Firefighter Breaks Barriers, Balancing Faith & Service – 8NEWS – WRIC | News Where You Live

It doesn’t take much for Muslim women to break down barriers. In the case of Kae Asima, a Richmond mom of two, all it took was a nomex hood that is flame retardant to act as her religious head covering for her to take up one of the most dangerous jobs in Virginia.  Here, she talks with 8NEWS-WRIC about her choice of becoming a firefighter and how she balances her faith and service. Kudos to Richmond Fire Department for providing the religious accommodation.

Richmond Firefighter Breaks Barriers, Balancing Faith & Service – 8NEWS – WRIC | News Where You Live.

8NEWS – WRIC | News Where You Live

 

Turkey elects three female metropolitan mayors in a first

From Daily News

Gültan Kışanak, will succeed Osman Baydemir, who also competed in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa in this year’s elections. AA Photo

Gültan Kışanak, will succeed Osman Baydemir, who also competed in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa in this year’s elections. AA Photo

By Daily News

None of Turkey’s metropolitan cities have been governed by female mayors until the March 30 local elections and now not one, but three women have made history after being elected to the helm on opposite sides of the country.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate for the southeastern province of Gaziantep, Fatma Şahin, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-mayoral candidate for the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Gültan Kışanak, and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate for the Aegean province of Aydın, Özlem Çerçioğlu, took over three metropolitan cities, representing three different parties and gaining remarkable support from voters.

Şahin, former Family and Social Policies Minister, who was removed from her post as part of a cabinet reshuffle in December, has won the race against her male rivals, maintaining her party’s strong electoral support in the big city.

Besides serving as minister for over two years, she has served as an AKP lawmaker for three terms, as the first woman representing Gaziantep in Parliament.

She claimed more than half of the votes in the March 30 election to become the new head of the 1.7million-populated city that undertakes a remarkable part of Turkey’s trade.

Kışanak, another experienced parliamentarian and co-leader of the BDP, also beat her rivals in the Kurdish-dominated province of Diyarbakır, running for the post alongside Fırat Anlı, in line with her party’s co-leadership model adopted to support female presence in the political arena. Continue reading story here…

Her new job is high-profile religious leader

From Cincinnati.com
Shakila Ahmad is the Islamic Center's new leader and the first woman elected president of the board of trustees.

Shakila Ahmad is the Islamic Center’s new leader and the first woman elected president of the board of trustees. / The Enquirer/Tony Jones
by Krista Ramsey

Eighteen years ago, when Shakila Ahmad offered to arrange tours of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati where she’s a member, she thought she was volunteering for a single weekend.

Since then, 70,000 visitors have stopped by.

What Ahmad offered visitors was an opportunity the vast majority of Americans never get – to enter a mosque, discuss matters of faith face-to-face with their Muslim countrymen and find out what Islam is and what it isn’t.

The reward, Ahmad says, is “seeing the transformation on a person’s face and hearing them ask a difficult question without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.”

“We’re not the same,” she says, “but we have far more in common than we have differences.”

Ahmad has spent years advancing that message while serving on an array of influential local boards and quietly living it out as a neighbor, volunteer, professional, wife and mother.

From here on, her work won’t be done so quietly.

Last month, she assumed one of the area’s highest-profile religious leadership roles when she was elected president of the Islamic Center’s board of trustees – the first woman to hold the role in the Center’s 18-year history and only its second president.

She says accepting the role was “a big reflective and thoughtful moment for me.”

There are significant demands on her time, as she oversees operations of a mosque with 200 member-families and up to 3,000 Muslims involved on holy days. There are demands on her creativity and resourcefulness as the center begins a major social services initiative – called Rahma, or mercy – to connect families with physical and mental health services and promotes its bullying prevention program, interfaith women’s groups and leadership training for youth.

Most of all, there are demands on Ahmad’s abilities to engage people in sensitive religious topics, dispel misconceptions and build an interfaith dialogue in a society where religious tensions – especially surrounding Muslims – periodically flare.

Continue reading story here…

 

American Female Muslim Athlete Inspires Girls in Dakar

From Voice of America

Fencing champion Ibtihaj Muhammad tells students at the John F. Kennedy all-girls school in Dakar that they can do anything they believe in, Feb. 7, 2014. (Jennifer Lazuta/VOA)

Fencing champion Ibtihaj Muhammad tells students at the John F. Kennedy all-girls school in Dakar that they can do anything they believe in, Feb. 7, 2014. (Jennifer Lazuta/VOA)

by Jennifer Lazuta

DAKAR — Ibtihaj Muhammad was the first-ever female Muslim athlete to compete on behalf of the United States in an international competition. Muhammad spoke to an all-girls school in Dakar Friday about her experiences as a female African-American Muslim fencer.Growing up black and Muslim in the U.S. state of New Jersey, 28-year-old Ibtihaj Muhammad says she loved sports, but often struggled to find her place.

“Growing up, especially at this age, we all want to be liked by our friends; we all want to fit in with our friends. But as a Muslim woman, because I cover, I always had to change the uniform. So if I played tennis, if I played soccer or if I ran track, and my teammates wore shorts or short sleeves, I would always have to wear long sleeves or long pants, and it was hard for me as a kid, because I didn’t feel like I fit in,” said Muhammad.

It was her mom who urged her to try fencing – a sport where competitors must wear full body, head and even hand coverings.

“I find that in sport, once I put my mask on – that’s the beauty, I feel, of my sport – it almost becomes an equal playing field. People look at me as an athlete, and solely as an athlete, as opposed to being a woman or a Muslim or being black. And I love it,” she said.

Continue reading story here…