Black History Month is a celebration and recognition of Black excellence in the US and Canada. in this article, we shed light on six influential black Muslims who are excelling and making a difference in their communities and the world.
1 – Eman Idil Bare
Eman believes that barriers are just stepping stones to self growth.
She knew the risks involved when launching her fashion label at twenty three in a highly competitive and volatile market.
Bare, however, is not afraid of failure, having the mindset that failure is just a learning curve. She kept her focus, on sourcing ethically produced clothing.
One of the most problematic aspects of the fashion industry for Bare, is that it doesn’t always value lives. By supporting certain brands, we do it knowing that many of them use sweatshops to produce their clothes.
Bare values people over products and tries to stay on top of every aspect of her business. But fashion is just one facet of the life she has created for herself.
She worked full time as a journalist for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) for over four years. She’s had bylines in Teen Vogue, Huffington Post and Muslim Girl.
As if that was not enough, she is currently an associate at a law firm, after receiving a full scholarship from the New York school of Law, in 2018.
There is no glass ceiling for this dynamic woman and she has a message to all young people of color, “When a door is closed in your face, break a window.”
2 – Mubarakah Ibrahim
Mubarakah rose to international acclaim after appearing on the Oprah show. She is a well known fitness and nutrition expert and a Muslim American businesswoman.
Ibrahim also developed the successful FitMuslimah brand. FitMuslimah is a health and fitness revolution which was specifically developed to address issues unique to Muslim women. Her journey was spurred on after watching her own mother struggle with diabetes.
Her work in health education and as a Muslim businesswoman afforded her the opportunity to be invited to the White House. She was a special guest of President Barack Obama in 2012 and 2013 at his annual Iftaar dinner.
Moreover, Ibrahim has recently authored the book, mR40 Method: The 40 Day Guide to Reset Your Metabolism, Lose Weight and Optimize Your Health. Mubarakah embodies the concept of a healthy body, which means a healthy mindset. And this means that we are able to do more spiritually.
She continuously shifts the goal posts when it comes to the science behind nutrition and fitness. And is often ahead of the curve. She is also a published writer, poet and admits to being a Facebook addict.
3 – Angelica Lindsey-Ali
Angelica Lindsey-Ali is a certified sexual health educator, scholar, author, and researcher. If that is a mouthful, she is also known as the Village Auntie.
The name refers to an older woman in traditional African communities where girls would go to ask advice on periods, sex and reproduction.
Ali teaches women about sexual health from a medical, Islamic, and a traditional West African perspective. Her main aim is to break the taboo around sex and a woman’s pleasure in Muslim communities.
With over 20 years of experience in women’s wellness, Ali is a powerhouse of information in her field. Her workshops are for women only, as she wants women to feel safe in the space she facilitates for them.
The main aim of her work is to not only disseminate her practical sexual knowledge but also model femininity and positive body image. She wants women to claim their rightful role as pillars of family and community. All the while having healthy sex lives of course.
She also teaches Kunyaza, a method of stimulating the vulva practiced in East African countries like Rwanda. Angelica hosts the award-winning podcast called “Lights On” produced by Amaliah magazine.
We celebrate Angelica, for empowering women and being brave enough not to be silenced on a topic often frowned upon in our communities.
4 – Isra Hisri
Isra Hisra, the 16 year old daughter of Ilhan Omar, is leading the fight against climate change.
In January 2019, Isra founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, alongside 12-year-old Denver activist Haven Coleman. Currently she is the sole executive director.
In March 2019, the group rallied around 1.6 million young activists in 120 countries to skip school and demand action on climate change from adults in power.
Isra is vocal about carving out a space for young people of color within the climate change movement. Environmental activism is not her first rodeo. At 12 years of age, alongside her family and organizers, she helped shut down the Mall of America to demand justice for Jamar Clark.
In her own Medium post, Hisri writes, “ I live 2 lives- that of a climate justice organizer and that of a politician’s daughter. Throughout my attempts to keep my two realities separate, many conflicts arose — especially in activist spaces. I now know that I can’t create a middle ground and the 2 lives don’t need to be separate.”
Leading a double life has it’s challenges and she is aware of her limits. She continues, “I will make mistakes along the way, after all I’m human, but I want to continue a dialogue about my new reality and grow as a person. I can’t wait to continue impacting the world in positive ways.”
5 – Kofi Achampong
Kofi, a Toronto resident, is a lawyer and Political and Strategic Advisor in the provincial government with a JD from York University. Kofi is the co-organizer of the Black Muslim Initiative, a grassroots project that aims to address issues of anti-black racism and Islamophobia through education, advocacy and resource development.
He is also the executive of the Muslim Youth Fellowship Project, a political internship for Muslim youth in Canada. Kofi came to Islam, nine years ago.
Achampong has appeared as commentator on current affairs in Canadian politics for the CBC, CP24, CTV, and Real News.
He was also vocal around the blackface incident involving Justin Trudeau, in a Facebook post he mentions, “This will happen again. And again. And again. That’s because there is a bigger conversation that needs to happen in this country. It’s a conversation far bigger and more influential than any one person, irrespective of what office they happen to occupy.”
6 – Senator Robert Jackson
Robert Jackson was the first Muslim in New York’s history to win a district seat in the New York State Senate and is currently one of the first two Muslims in the New York State Legislature.
Though he was elected in 2018, he has been involved in politics for decades. He is a considered a pioneer in getting much needed funding for poorer schools in New York state.
Jackson has done groundbreaking work in education while serving on the City Council for twelve years. He fought against teacher layoffs and assisted with the creation of the Drop-Out Prevention Initiative.
Robert took on the state by suing it over its funding for New York City schools, known as the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. And to show how serious he was, he walked 150 miles to Albany to bring attention to the cause.
The result of this was the establishment of a nationwide funding formula in 2007 that offers support for the poorest school districts. At, 70 years of age there is no slowing down for this activist and he remains vocal in bringing a black Muslim voice in legislation.