Ramadan is the time of year for finding ones self and finding a deeper meaning in the world itself. But sometimes, we struggle to find a reason to do better for ourselves and for others. Alas we are in a region that fosters talent, creativity, and compassion in the form of Arab role models, whether they are Christian or Muslim, religious or non-practicing, these nine Arabs from around the Middle East and abroad have inspired us all year, and especially during Ramadan.
Nadine Labaki has been echoed the cries and joys of many Arab women across the region. Her films tell the true tales of the struggle that many women face, from familial obligation to struggling with religious identity, to finding love in a hopeless place (war torn Lebanon). Through her films and words, Labaki has inspired us to face our demons, challenge our beliefs and love no matter what.
Samra has faced some extreme physical, mental, and emotional challenges that one could face in a lifetime. To overcome heartbreak and loss, to climb to the top (literally), and to find healing through giving, he has taught us to appreciate what we have and learn to embrace it and ultimately let go.
With a beautiful vision of ending violence against women around the world, Lina Khalifa of Jordan has inspired us immensely this Ramadan. Her female self-defense studio, SheFighter is the first of its kind in Jordan and in the Middle East.
The 10-year-old professional citizen journalist has earned her a name in the media by reporting live from the human rights violations happening in the West Bank. Growing up in the town of Nabi Saleh which is hit with violence from Israeli forces on a regular basis has served as an unfortunate backdrop for news coverage for one of the youngest journalists in the world.
The Lebanese-Turkish grad students at the School of Oriental and African Studies has spread the spirit of Ramadan through the initiative known as The Ramadan Tent Project. Salha had faced the challenges of Islamophobia head on with the project that invited university colleagues, faculty, and staff to join in breaking fast on campus with fellow Muslim students fasting during Ramadan. The project has grown since 2011 and invites the homeless and passerby on in London to join in breaking fast and breaking down the barriers that have been create by lack of knowledge of Islam in the West. The Ramadan Tent Project has since spread to several cities and continues to building bridges between the communities around the world.
A woman, an Egyptian woman, running for U.S. County Judge? Sounds crazy right? But it’s not. Sherrie Miday has not let stereotypes of society set her back in life, she let them push her further. Breaking gender barriers and challenging a scared West, Miday has inspired us, the little ones, and women to follow the career path they love and purse their dreams.
King Abdullah II
The ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom has extended his borders to except the massive refugee population flooding in from neighboring countries. Approximately 1.3 million Syrian refugees reside in Jordan and currently make up 20% of the country’s population. The King has dipped into Jordan’s national budget in order to accommodate the humanitarian expenses that are needed.
Lebanese designer and refugee, Celine Semaan sought an unorthodox career as fashion designer in the midst of of an obscenely violent Israel-Hezbollah war. Fashion has always been a part of Semaan’s life and culture which helps her hold on to the pieces of a distant homeland. As an immigrant to America, Semaan not only launched a ethical line of scarfs, Slow Factory that reflect the beauty of space but she also launched the We Are Home collection which donates proceeds from sales to ANERA’s initiatives to improve the lives of refugees in the Middle East.
WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss out on Where Is the Ramadan Spirit?