Sultana's Dream

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Sultana's Dream
April 2012


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Contributing Writers - April 2012 Issue

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.
Amal Awad is a Sydney-based writer and editor. She graduated university with an arts/law degree and practised very briefly as a lawyer before words beckoned and she moved into editing and journalism. Her creative work has been published in The Sydney Morning Herald and Frankie magazine. She recently published her first novel, Courting Samira.

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.

Susan Carland is a PhD candidate at the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University, where she is researching the way Muslim women fight sexism within their own traditions and communities. Readers will remember her as a regular on the SBS show Salam Café and other programs like Q&A .She hopes one day to a write a best-selling book about women in the Qur'an, but until then, you can find her working in her garden or obsessively vacuuming, brewing coffee, tickling her kids or buying new books for her kindle.

Tasneem Chopra is Chairperson of the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights. ‘Equality without Exception’ is the centre’s ethos. This new human rights organisation was formerly the Islamic Women’s Welfare Centre of Victoria, and Tasneema’s involvement goes back almost twenty years to its inception. She's an advocate for social justice issues as they impact upon Muslim women and a strong proponent of the contributions they have made, and continue to make, to broader society.

Hanifa Deen is an award-winning author who writes narrative non-fiction and lives in Melbourne. Her books include: Caravanserai: A Journey Among Australian Muslims; Broken Bangles; The Crescent and the Pen and The Jihad Seminar. Her latest book is Ali Abdul v. The King (UWA Publishers 2011).

Previous appointments include: Hearing Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission of Australia, the Board of Directors, Special Broadcasting Services (SBS) as well as senior positions in WA and Victoria in ethnic affairs bureaus.  Currently she writes full-time and is an Honorary Fellow at the National Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies, University of Melbourne.

She is a great admirer of disobedient women in history, literature and real life.

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. 

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.

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.


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’.

Lisa Worthington lives in Sydney and is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney researching in the field of Islam and gender. Outside of academia she has a penchant for t-shirts, Hello Kitty and Rilakkuma.

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