My name is Zunera Mazhar. Recently my CNNireport video went viral after the Charlie Hebdo attack. I received tremendous love, support, and constructive criticism from around the world, but it was accompanied by some disturbing hate mail from both sides. One telling me that I’m not fit to represent Islam and the other telling me to “go home!” Some of my blog followers have told me that they consider me to be an example of what a moderate Muslim American woman looks like. While I’m flattered and encouraged by their high regard, I believe that Islam has a beautiful and complex structure and I am proud to be one of its many faces.
I want to start by saying that just like any faith Islam also teaches love, compassion and harmony. My life as an American is no different from a non-Muslim’s, I am a working mother of a 6-year-old daughter and am surrounded by a caring group of family and friends who contribute to the American society on a daily basis in their own big and small ways. In my free time I share my love of fashion and feminism by showcasing my style and writing about women’s issues on my blog.
I have made a few appearances on CNN and am excited to share the amazing work of a lot of accomplished women in the West with you in the coming days. Like any group of people governed by religious or social practices that have deep historical roots, Muslims around the world battle with different interpretations of their belief system, some of these interpretations are highly ignorant and uninformed and harm the community’s women and children in turn. I’m glad that more and more Muslims like me are coming out and disowning the ill-informed narrative of extremists who want to claim our profoundly rich and complicated Muslim identity as their own narrow and violent one.
I’m excited about my future plans to highlight the contributions of all women around the world and give them a platform to talk about their amazing work on my blog. They come from all walks of life and are productive members of our society. If you have any ideas on how we can raise awareness or are a woman doing amazing work in the community then please drop me a line through the “contact us” page and I’ll be so happy to connect with you!