Humanitarian, entrepreneur and author, Zainab Salbi, has launched the Zainab Salbi project video for The Huffington Post. The series aims to have unapologetic and fearless conversations centering around women’s issues the world over.
“I travelled around the world for these stories and here’s what I learned: Muslims see ISIS as the biggest enemy of Islam itself; the third gender revolution is happening in India, where people no longer have to choose between male or female on any legal form; Mexico has one of the highest rates of journalists being killed; Buddhist monks in Thailand are setting fire to women’s monasteries; and behind closed doors, the stories of French families whose sons joined ISIS are ones of love and loss,” she said in an article for the New York Times’ ‘Women in the World’ blog, for which she is a contributing editor.
Salbi, an Iraqi-American, aims to shatter stereotypes and build bridges between people. So far, two episodes of the series have aired on The Huffington Post.
Salbi’s journey begins in Minnesota, where Islamophobia is impacting many American women. She speaks about the disconnect between how Muslims sometimes see issues differently than other communities. She interviewed Kadra, a Muslim-American policewoman who chooses to wear a headscarf. The woman said how she has not been forced to wear a hijab, but still chooses to wear one. She has been told that she is not an American and that she should go back to her country. “I was raised in America,” she said. Another hijab-wearing woman, Salbi interviewed, was asked “why do you want to kill us,” and has been called “a Muslim bitch”. She wears a hijab even though her other family members do not.
Also Read: Another Hijab-Clad Woman Attacked In The US
Salbi has also been to India where she talks about the third gender revolution in India. Salbi interviewed transgender activist, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi. She was born a man, but never identified as a man. She said that even after she started campaigning, her parents still wanted to marry her off! Tripathi talked about how her community has experienced discrimination and how ‘hijras’ are often made to do sex work.
Salbi said that the Supreme Court ruling has changed a major narrative in India!
Salbi has been the former CEO of Washington-based charity Women for Women. She said she has been devoted to women’s issues since she was 15. Growing up in Iraq, she said she had her own experience of overcoming terror. She was married at 19, and moved to America with her husband. But she left within the year because he was abusive.
“I always pay attention when women are missing. I look at pictures and I’m like, ‘Women are missing,” she said in an interview with Red UK.
Her voice is strong, unafraid and unique. If you haven’t watched the Zainab Salbi project, you should tune in immediately!