Sultana's Dream

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Sultana's Dream
November 2013


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Contributing Writers - 
November 2013 Issue

Amal Awad is a Sydney-based writer, journalist and author of Courting Samira ( She graduated university with an arts/law degree, practised very briefly as a lawyer and now works as a journalist. She's a regular contributor to Fairfax websites The Vine and Daily Life and Singapore-based digital magazine Aquila Style.

Durkhanai Ayubi is a first generation Afghan-Australian. She believes that the most important factor in empowering and unifying people is a mind free to challenge, to understand and to overcome. Much of her writing centres around achieving this through exploring issues facing minorities in Australia, particularly women. She has spent 5 years as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Federal Government. She is an Advisory Board member for Melbourne University's Social Equity Institute, a Board member for Writers Victoria and has served for 2 years as a Board member of the Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre. She is also an occasional freelance journalist for publications including The Age, Crikey, New Matilda and The Drum.

Tasneem Chopra, a TEDxMelbourne alumnist, is a curator of Melbourne's Immigration Museum exhibition 'Faith Fashion Fusion'. She is also a Cross Cultural consultant who delivers workshops on diversity for audiences ranging from Supreme Court judges to school students and was hailed by The Australian Magazine as one of 100 Emerging Leaders of 2009. As a leading advocate for social change and justice, she was also listed in The Age Magazine's Top 100 among Melbourne’s most influential 'Movers and Shakers' of 2008. Tasneem is Chairperson of the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights, and is on the board of 'Lentil As Anything', a unique not-for-profit community restaurant. Recently she was appointed to the board of the international NGO, Global Reconciliation. 

With a Masters in International Development and a background in psychology and sociology, she believes in the importance of owning your narrative as an activist, not an apologist, and seeks platforms to promote this way of thinking. 

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 Jihad Seminar and Ali Abdul v. The King. Her new book On the Trail of Taslima is now out.

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. She writes full-time and is Chair of the Institute of Cultural Diversity.

Amra Pajalic is a Melbourne-based author of Bosnian background. Her debut novel The Good Daughter won the 2009 Melbourne Prize for Literature's Civic Choice Award. Her short stories have been published in anthologies, journals and placed in awards. She conducts writing workshops and was funded by Artists in Schools to be a Writer in Residence in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in high schools. In early 2014 Allen and Unwin will publish an anthology she has co-edited of Muslim writers, and Garratt Publishing will publish her middle grade novel. 

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. As an Accountant and a member of CPA, her day job involves managing Revenue Services at Macquarie University, Sydney. She is a strong proponent of Muslim women's rights to equality as enshrined in the Islamic laws and practised by the Prophet. Zubeda believes in building community bridges and de-mystifying Islam to non-Muslims.

Gemma Ross-McGlynn is a final year Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Melbourne, and is majoring in Islamic Studies. She has been an intern at Sultana’s Dream since July 2013. 

Nur Shkembi is a Melbourne-based contemporary Muslim artist and the Art Director at the Islamic Museum of Australia which is due to open its doors to the public in February 2014; 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. In her ‘spare time’ she’s undertaking a Masters 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’.