Muslim Women Doing Cool Things…a Public Conversation
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Shoulder to Shoulder is hosting a conversation about “Muslim women doing cool things” featuring Malika Bilal (Journalist), Lena Khan (Filmmaker), Yasmin Elhady (Comedian-Matchmaker), Isra Bhatty (Attorney/Scholar), and Sabaa Tahir (Author) on Sunday, March 21st at 12:00pmCT. These women join a larger community of Muslim women who are making waves and shattering various stereotypes in the work they are doing.
Malika Bilal is an international news journalist, TV and podcast host, and moderator based between Los Angeles and Washington, DC. She is currently senior presenter at The Take, an award-winning interview-driven news podcast that builds on the global reporting of Al Jazeera English. She joined The Take after eight years as co-host of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, an Emmy-nominated TV news talk show centered on online community participation. A Chicago native, Malika graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She also attended the American University in Cairo. She has reported from across the United States and the Middle East, including Egypt, where she covered that country’s first post-revolution election campaign and subsequent violence, and Saudi Arabia, where she was deployed to cover the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Malika previously worked for Voice of America and has written for the Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio and ESPN’s The Undefeated. Her career has afforded her the chance to interview former presidents and prime ministers, Hollywood and Bollywood stars, and artists and activists from around the world. Her favorite interviews, though, are with the people you haven’t heard of yet.
Yasmin Elhady is a comedian, attorney, and relationship expert. She has toured in London, all over the US, and regularly performs in the DC metro area, including The Kennedy Center and Union Stage. You can catch her on InstaGram @yasguru dishing relationship advice every Monday on #MarryMondays and posting silly videos.
Lena Khan – Writer, Director A writer and director, Lena debuted her first longform movie The Tiger Hunter in 2016. The film, starring Danny Pudi, Karen David and Jon Heder, follows an Muslim-Indian immigrant on his journey to discover where he fits in 1970s America. February 19 was the release of Lena’s first film she directed for Disney, Flora & Ulysses – based on Kate DiCamillo’s Newbery-winning book. The film stars actors Ben Schwartz, Bobby Moynihan, Danny Pudi, Alyson Hannigan and theater actress Matilda Lawler as 10-year-old Flora. Lena is currently directing multiple episodes of the Netflix’s hit series by Mindy Kaping, Never Have I Ever, starring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan and Richa Moorjani. Lena gained experience at companies like Participant Media (Syriana, The Kite Runner) before focusing on directing her own work. She has directed commercials, films and music videos for international artists such as Maher Zain and her videos have been broadcast on TV across the world and received over 20 million hits on YouTube. Lena graduated summa cum laude from the prestigious UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, after which she spent years gaining experience at renowned film companies. Lena has gained extensive knowledge of what qualities a film needs to be successful, and brings those aspects into co-writing and directing The Tiger Hunter. Lena has been profiled in USA Today, Teen Vogue, The New York Times, and various other media outlets; won Sony Entertainment Television’s South Asian Excellence Award for contributions to entertainment, and now dedicates herself to making films that call attention to social issues through fun and engaging entertainment.
Sabaa Tahir is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the An Ember in the Ashes series. Her books have sold more than a million copies worldwide, and have been honored by TIME Magazine on a list of the 100 best fantasy books of all time. She grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash, and playing guitar badly. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all things nerd.
Isra Javed Bhatty is an DC-based attorney working in the federal government. Isra previously served as Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice. Prior to joining DOJ, Isra spent a number of years in the private sector litigating complex civil and criminal cases. Isra is a graduate of the Yale Law School, the University of Chicago, and the University of Oxford, where she obtained her PhD on a Rhodes Scholarship. Her dissertation studied the role of community- and faith-based networks in crime prevention. Since her teenage years in Chicago, Isra has been passionate about developing effective, efficient, and equitable ways to promote community safety and improve access to justice.