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August 7, 2016
A DOZEN-PLUS MUSLIM WOMEN LEADERS WHO TRUMP TRUMP
Arshad M Khan
There is a story of Trump at a London dinner party seated next to a woman who
writes for The Spectator. By way of conversation she mentioned she was in New York
recently and went to see Norma. Norma who, was his response. She of course duly
reported the incident in her column. The problem with Donald could not be easier to
identify: He knows next to nothing. So confirms Tony Schwartz who actually penned
his book, "The Art of the Deal." His basic theme of the US being ripped off by the
(blank) -- substitute name of country, continent, or whatever -- is as old as when he
was on an Oprah show almost 30 years ago.
If Hillary read "Goodnight Moon" to Chelsea, Trump might suggest it was a quote from
Neil Armstrong, and then continue to defend the absurd view. As Schwartz, has
repeated time and again, Donald Trump has a very short attention span and he
doesn't read. His ignorant view of Muslim women is just one symptom, but this one is
not difficult to rectify.
So here goes. A list of historical and present-day Islamic women leaders Hillary may
be breaking the glass ceiling here but it has already been broken in recent times in
many Muslim countries including Bangladesh where two women from opposing parties
have been switching the top job there for a long while. But first to history ...
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (d. 620 AD) was the leading merchant of Mecca. Her
caravans equaled in size the caravans of the rest of the merchants put together. So it
was said. She hired Muhammad ibn-Abdallah to lead them because of his reputation
for truthfulness and honesty. After her husband died, she married him and was his
only wife until her death -- he was several years younger. Muhammad is the revered
Prophet of 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide including the war hero, Captain Humayun
Khan, whose mother Mr. Trump has been insulting.
Queen Zubayda (d. 831 AD), wife of fabled ninth century Caliph Haroun al-Rashid
was noted for her charitable works. Noting the difficulties faced by Hajj pilgrims, she
embarked on several projects including the building of Darb (Road) Zubayda running
from Kufa just south of Baghdad to Mecca a distance of nearly a 1,000 miles. She
also improved the supply of water to the holy city by constructing an aqueduct to bring
water from Hunayn spring 60 miles east.
Queen Raziya (d. 1240 AD) was named his heir by her father Sultan Iltutmish who
established the Delhi Sultanate consolidating its rule over northern India. He favored
Raziya who had been assisting him during his reign over her incompetent brothers.
He had also appointed her regent during his absence campaigning.
Shajarat al-Durr was Queen of Egypt in the middle of the13th century. Through twists
and turns and despite the death of her husband, Sultan Al-Malik al-Salih, she
organized the defeat of the Seventh Crusade led by Louis IX the French king who was
captured and held for ransom. Then she negotiated a peace treaty with Queen
Margaret of Provence to end the crusade.
Queen Nur Jahan (1577-1645), wife of Emperor Jahangir, essentially ruled the
Mughal Empire on her husband's behalf. Why? Because he preferred the pleasures
of wine, women and opium. The land area she governed was about the size of
So to the present and a list of eleven countries with Muslim women as head of state or
leading the government ( I am indebted to Juan Cole and his Informed Comment blog):
Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, 1988 – 1990; 1993 – 1996
Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, 1991 – 1996; 2001 – 2006
Tansu Ciller of Turkey, prime minister 1993-1996
Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, 1996 – 2001; 2009 – Present
Megawati Sukarnoputri, President of Indonesia, 2001-2004
Mame Madior Boye, Prime Minister of Senegal, 2001-2002
Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo, 2011-present
Roza Otunbayeva, President of Kyrgyzstan, 2010-2011
Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé, prime minister of Mali 2011-2012
Aminata Toure, Prime Minister of Senegal, 2013-2014
Ameena Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius, 2015 – Present
For most, they certainly trump Trump!