Muslim women are the new cultural global leaders via soft power through fashion, pop-culture and art.
by Rajae El Mouhandiz
The Muslim world has been suffering from significant shortcomings, such as ineffective communication between citizens and their leaders and stagnation in the development of many Muslim-majority countries. Limited freedom of speech and a regressive approach towards fighting extremism and gender inequality are all too common. This attitude has to change. Leadership has to evolve in order to build trust, and must be self-critical, in order to promote human rights, accountability and to show the world that Islam stands for peace and spiritual growth, rather than tyranny and stagnation.
But why would they if it means giving up power? The ego is not often discussed when we speak of world peace, but many of the world’s problems stem from selfishness and inability to connect with others in an empathetic way. This is why some Muslim youth leave their families and countries. They seem to have no sense of identity, nor a firm spiritual base to root them and keep them from joining death cults. They hijack Islam out of vindication, because their identity is in limbo. Those who abuse their positions of authority dubiously lure them astray with smart marketing tools filled with propaganda and blood-thirsty fantasies- to places far away from home, their identities, a future and the core teachings of their faith. In a globalised world where matters of identity are complex, Muslim leaders should be using their collective power to tackle issues of connecting with youth in a more effective way.
With the rise of a new wave of nationalism, extremism and terrorism, minority groups and women suffer the most. In America, the Black Lives Matter movement exists because young black lives are still in danger. Freedom of speech, the environment, human and women’s rights are under threat by the military-industrial complex that profits from pushing young men and women into war. All the while, global leaders are oblivious to this reality, distracted by their political tactics.
Published in the Muslim 500, 2018 publication in November 2017.