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Saturday, March 26, 2016

5 + Muslim Women You Should Know in The Muslim Writing & Book World

It's Women's History Month! But no, I will not be writing about Susan B.Anthony, Hilary Clinton, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, or Julia Alvarez.  The American historical canon has been stuffed  with stories of hardworking American women who have accomplished extraordinary accomplishments - but none of them ever represent me as an Muslim American Woman. As a avid reader and writer, I believe representation of organic narratives of American Muslims and especially Muslim women, is not only needed, but necessary! We are here - reverted, born and raised often, for generations and our sisters have always made their mark. Which is why creating this list was incredibly hard. There are so many Muslim women (and men, too!) out there grinding and writing and knocking down doors in the writing and book world these days and I am so proud of you all. I will definitively have to make a part two of this list, enshallah. That said,  I think these Muslim women that I have chosen for part 1 have already made such an important impact in their fields, communities, schools, families and the writing and book world - the rest of the world needs to know about them now. The days of waiting for secular media outlets to highlight Muslims is dead! Here are 5+ Muslim Women Should Know About in the Muslim Writing & Book World:

1. Linda (Widad) Delgado

Sister Linda, a retired Police Officer, reverted to Islam after 50. Disgruntled by the lack of Islamic literature for children she founded along with a group of Muslim women writers from around the world: the Islamic Writers Alliance. The Islamic Writers Alliance is a non profit organization in the United States that helps to connect Muslim writers, editors, and illustrators together. Sister Linda later went on to establish the Muslim Writer Publishers (MWP), a traditional publishing company of Islamic Fiction and help to define guidelines for Islamic fiction for BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications). Sister Linda has written and published over 15 books. Check out Islamic Writers Alliance and Islamic Fiction Books (IFB).

2. Brooke Benoit
Brooke Benoit is a long time editor for SISTERS MAGAZINE, blogger, a workshop presenter, homeschooling Mama, and beading artist! She can be found behind the scenes working to push, shove, and guide Muslim writers along their journey to greatness. Brooke is a wonderful resource! Follow her blog A Cliched Life

3. LaYinka Sanni

London's own says on her website, "I’m LaYinka Sanni -the Editor, the Writer, and the Teacher; three separate hats, intricately linked." LaYinka, also a long time writer, poet, and editor for SISTERS MAGAZINE and mother, has been working diligently with Muslim authors to put their best writing forward. She also hosts workshops (Young Story Weavers & Story Weavers) online and off in London for Muslim youth to help develop and inspire the next generation of Muslim storytellers. This is a sister to watch! Keep up with her on site, LYS

4. Emma Apple
Emma Apple hails from New Zealand but is based in the United States now and is a sister with many gifts. Her artistry is out of this world, but that is not to take a back seat to her other gifts. Emma is also an advocate for Autism Awareness and the creator of the Blue Hijab Day for Autism Awareness and Acceptance. Her children books blends science, Qur'an, and the Sunnah to help Muslim children think big. Make sure to sign up for Emma's newsletter on her site: Emma Apple  

5. Layla Abdullah-Poulous

Layla Abdullah-Poulos is another hard working woman! She is a writer, book reviewer, student, wife, mother, and cultural theorist focusing on the intersections between religion. As  the founder of NbA (Native-Born American) - a website "to gather information and analyze socio-cultural elements that comprise the developing native-born American Muslims," she engages in important research that helps clarify and redefine American Muslim culture and communities through an organic filter. Layla's site also hosts an extensive amount of research on NbA Muslim writers as well. Furthermore, Layla is a proud alumna of SUNY Empire State College’s Long Island Center with a Bachelor of Arts in Historical Studies and Literature and is presently a student in the School for Graduate Studies.

6. C.Islaah Abd'al-Rahim 

Sister Islaah is a native Baltimorean Muslimah, an educator, writer, community organizer, supporter of sisterhood, poet, elder, a long time member of the Women's Committee of Masjid As Saffat of Baltimore, MD, prolific speaker on Muslim Women's Issues and now a published author of two works: Random Lamentations, Protest Chants, and Affirmations and The Book of Islaamic Lists: People, Places, Things, and Ideas to Study, Memorize and Provoke Further Study. Sister Islaah also holds graduate degrees from John Hopkins University in education.

7. Dilshad D. Ali

Dilshad D. Ali is the Managing Editor of the Muslim Portal on She has covered Muslims and Islam in America for more than 10 years for a variety of media outlets, including (before it became, NewsweekAzizahMagazine, Illume Magazine,,Islamica magazine, and Beliefnet. She has also worked as an editor at Islamic Relief USA, the largest Muslim charity organization in the U.S. Furthmore, Dilshad's blog, Muslimah Next Door: Faith, Family, Autism - Not Always in that Order helps to highlight the challenges and bring awareness to  special needs issues in the Muslim community. 

8. Hend Hegazi 
Hend Hegazi was born and raised in the USA and graduated from Smith College with a degree in biology. Her first novel, Normal Calm, tackles rape and abuse  within Arab-American communities, which has not been done often. Normal Calm  was published in January 2014 by FB Publishing. Follow Hend at to stay up to date with her new books.

9. Aishah Schwartz 

Sister Aishah is an American Muslim revert to Islam, founder and director of the 2006 established Washington, D.C.-based Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) and a retired 17-year litigation legal assistant. She is also a published freelance non-fiction writer/journalist and internationally renowned human rights activist with a focus on the rights of Muslim women and the plight of the Palestinian people affected by the Israeli imposed illegal embargo on Gaza. MWA has helped many Muslim women writers find support and resources. Keep up to date with sister Aishah on Muslimah Writers Alliance

10. Margari Azizah 
Margari Aziza Hill is co-founder and Programming  Director of Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), assistant editor at AltM, and co-founder of Muslims Make it Plain. She is also an adjunct professor, blogger, and freelance writer with articles published in Time, SISTERSIslamic Monthly, Al Jazeera English, Muslimmatters, Virtual Mosque (formerly, and Spice Digest. The writing and advocacy that sister Margari engages in is  long overdue within the Muslim community, but also laborious and heartfelt. You can find Margari's writing on her site: Margari Aziza