Sultana's Dream

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Sultana's Dream
September 2011


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Contributing Writers - September 2011 Issue
Randa Abdel-Fattah is an award-winning author whose books are published around the world. She also works as a litigation lawyer and is a passionate human rights activist. Randa is regularly sought for comment in the media and has appeared on TV shows such as the ABC’s Q & A, George Negus, The Drum, Insight, First Tuesday Book Club, and Sunrise. Randa regularly gives talks and writers’ workshops at schools and writers’ festivals around Australia and overseas. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two children.

Aziza Abdel-Halim AM is one of Australia’s leading Arabic scholars and a prominent Muslim leader. She grew up in Egypt at a time when her birthplace was renowned for its progressive and enlightened Islamic and literary debates. Aziza is the founder and President of the Muslim Women’s National Network and is the author of Did You Know? She has served on numerous government committees including: former Prime Minister Howard’s 2005 Muslim Community Reference Group.

Dr Anne Aly is a research fellow at Curtin University with an interest in terrorism studies and radicalisation. She is the author of Terrorism and Global Security: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan). In 2011 she was inducted into the West Australian Women’s Hall of Fame for her work in international security and also received the Minister for Multicultural Interests individual community services award for her work in combating racism and discrimination. Anne was born in Egypt and lives in Perth with her two sons.

Durkhanai Ayubi is a senior policy analyst of Afghan origin who migrated with her family to Australia in the 1980s, at the height of the Soviet-Afghan War. She believes that the pen is mightier than the sword; this spurs her passion for social commentary and writing about the experiences of minorities. She is ‘a lover of all things challenging and a rejector of all things dull’. She holds a Bachelor of Science, and an Honours degree in Chemistry from the Flinders University of South Australia, and is currently undertaking a Masters in Business Administration at RMIT.

Flora Chanisheff is a full time mother of 4 children who lives in Adelaide. She gained her Bachelor of Human Sciences Degree with Honours from the International Islamic University of Malaysia, and her Postgraduate Diploma in Population Studies and Human Resources, Flinders University, South Australia.

Ruby Hamad is a Sydney-based writer and filmmaker. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and is currently completing a Master of Media Practice at the University of Sydney. Ruby has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, Crikey, Eureka St. and New Matilda. ‘Sultana’ readers can look forward to hearing more from Ruby Hamad who sustains both a hard-hitting style of journalism, and a feminist perspective on human rights and international events.

Dr Shakira Hussein is undertaking a McKenzie postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Melbourne on Muslim women, gendered violence and racialised political discourse. She completed her PhD at the Australian National University and contributes regularly to New Matilda and Crikey on issues including gender, multiculturalism and Islam. Shakira is book editor for Sultana’s Dream, but not for this edition, which contains a book of essays (published by Text) in the Review Section that she contributed to… [no nepotism at Sultanas…]

Fattimah Imtoual is an ‘Adelaidean’ by birth, a Canberran by circumstance and, she maintains that it’s not too late for the nation’s capital to be relocated somewhere more cosmopolitan—or at least warmer. A lawyer by training, she’s nevertheless had a varied career including a period of time which saw her wield power tools and wear steel capped boots on the Darwin waterfront as a law enforcement officer. She has frequently been accused of having an overactive imagination, but disputes that there’s anything wrong with this, and wishes that there was a bit more whimsy in the staid world of the public service.

Jan Jackson converted to Islam around the turn of the millennium. She worked for 23 years in various administrative roles at La Trobe University, the last of which was in publications. She is now retired and lives in Brunswick. In 2003 Jan was one of three Muslims who, together with the Islamic Council of Victoria, made a complaint of religious vilification against the Catch the Fire Ministry Inc. in a headline case in Melbourne that lasted five years and was finally conciliated.

Najiyah Khan is the Chairperson of MySydney, a collective of young Australian Muslims promoting the importance of leadership for social change. She is currently in her final year of studying a combined Law/Communications degree. She has a deep fascination for exploring issues relating to the identity politics surrounding minority groups in Australia.

Yasmin Khan’s family have been in Queensland for nearly 150 years and are into the fifth generation of Maroon supporters! Yasmin has been a Muslim community advocate for nearly 30 years; and appears regularly in the media talking about Muslim issues.  She also has her own Islamic radio program, is a regular weekly panellist on 612ABC  ‘Evening Show’ with Steve Austin, is a contributing producer/journalist to ‘The Wire’ radio program broadcast to over 200 stations across Australia, and has written for the Courier-Mail and Crikey. Yasmin co-founded ‘Eidfest’, the multi-award winning festival held in Brisbane. Dignitaries and celebrities she has interviewed include: Imran Khan, the Governor General, Hazem El-Masri, and the Queensland Governor. Yasmin was also a representative on Prime Minister Howard’s Muslim Community Reference Group.

Dakhylina Madkhul is a practising psychologist who hopes that nobody will hold that against her. She works as a counsellor with families and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including new and emerging communities. She is actively involved in the educational and community welfare sectors, with a particular focus on women and young people. She was also a regular panel member appearing on the popular SBS TV show Salaam Café.

Amra Pajalic is an award-winning author born in Melbourne's Western suburbs to parents of Bosnian background. A life-long reader, she realised early on that books representing her kind of story were rare: books about being from a migrant background and the family expectations that come with this, while at heart being ‘Aussie’. In her writing she relates stories that might not otherwise be heard. She holds a Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing and a BA.

Zubeda Raihman is the Treasurer and Project Manager for the Muslim Women's National Network of Australia, (MWNNA) Inc.  She is also the Secretary of the Women's Movement of the Regional Islamic Da'wah Council of South East Asia and the Pacific (RISEAP) and represents MWNNA on the executive board of the Australian Women's Coalition and the Women's Interfaith Network. Her day job involves managing Revenue Services at Macquarie University. She is a strong proponent of Muslim women's rights to equality as enshrined in the Islamic laws and practised by the Prophet (saw). Zubeda believes in building community bridges and de-mystifying Islam to non-Muslims.

Shamim Samani is Kenyan-born and now lives in Perth where she is actively involved in Muslim community activities. She completed her Masters in Ecologically Sustainable Development at Murdoch University and her PhD at Curtin University, Perth. Her doctorate examined challenges facing Muslim women especially in a post-9/11 world. Shamim describes herself as passionate about the empowerment of women and works as a volunteer in the community.


Nur Shkembi is a Melbourne-based contemporary Muslim artist and the Arts Officer at the Islamic Council of Victoria; many of her projects have introduced the wider community to the work of Australian Muslim artists. Nur spent two years on the Arts and Culture Committee for the Parliament of World Religions and is an advocate of the Arts in interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue. She is part of the team that is establishing the Islamic Museum of Australia (IMA), which is expected to open its doors in 2013. In her ‘spare time’ she’s undertaking a postgraduate diploma in Community Cultural Development at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), University of Melbourne. She tells us she lives in ‘Falafel-land’ with her husband Zakariya, their five children, three cats (and the occasional possum) in the heart of the proudly diverse ‘Republic of Moreland’.