Today I will talk about a woman who has an interest in subjects as diverse as: women, power politics and liberation movements; the economic aspects of Chinese foreign policy; development and Islamic values; women in Islam; and conflict resolution.

Ambassador Sallama Shaker, Dr. Shaker has held a number of positions in the Egyptian government over nearly four decades.  Most recently, she has served as Egypt’s assistant minister of foreign affairs.  Previously, among many other positions, she was the ambassador to Canada; consul general at the Embassy of Egypt in Washington; and assistant minister for cultural and education relations, and religious affairs and dialogue. And Dr. Shakir was the first appointed woman Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Americas in the history of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In one of her presentations, Dr. Shaker was focusing to give examples of women in Islam that are contrary to Muslim women’s representation in the media as well as give the steps that need to be taken in order to uplift all Muslim women.

Dr. Shakir began her talk by starting with the Qur’an: she highlighted a passage that explicitly stated that men and women were seen as equals. Then she went on to talk about prominent women in the history of Islam- from scholars to religious figures to women who protested in the Egyptian Revolution of 1919. These profiles were, to Shaker, direct challenges to the media’s representation of Muslim women as oppressed by their religion: women who did well for themselves and did it while following their religion. Shaker then went on to talk about how educated women in Islam are the “silent majority” and “agents of change” and the steps that need to be taken in order for the majority to be heard. She attributed the silencing of these women to misinterpretations of the Qur’an and media representation. In terms of misrepresentation of the Qur’an, she hoped Imams could take charge in teaching the people that the Qur’an sees women as equals and noted that there are many women working with Imams to spread this knowledge today. She also hoped that more recognition in the media would help to curb stereotypes about Muslim women and the Islamic religion’s views towards women.

Dr. Shakir highlighted the need for the review of religious practices and critique of images of Muslim women in the media, but I think she needs to give more examples about other challenges that are facing them e.g.; Education, Jobs, and Roles in the family … etc.

There are many things that need to be discussed about the role of the Muslim Women in the Community and how to support them?! Most of the successful Muslim Women have a support from their families, but there are many intelligent Women who don’t have a support from their families or even their communities..

We need to open our minds and think about these issues, Dr. Shakir is a great Example for a Muslim Woman, but there are million Dr. Shakir in our communities who need a support or/and motivation..

 

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