Topics: Justice, May 2019 | Society

Stunning photos showcase Muslim women’s diversity

Photographer Alia Youssef captured 160 empowering photos of women from across the country

Nawal, 24, filmmaker, Toronto: “I’ve always just been outside, wanting to get in,” says Nawal, reflecting on being photographed outside a theatre. “Maybe there is some beauty in being an outsider?”

Wanting to help counteract stereotypes of Muslim women as “voiceless, oppressed” victims of a patriarchal religion, photographer Alia Youssef recently embarked on “The Sisters Project.”

This photo series resulted in 160 empowering photos of Muslim women from across Canada. “This project subverts labels and false associations,” she writes, “and shows women in control of their lives.”

Youssef immigrated to Vancouver from Cairo with her family at the age of eight. She currently lives in Toronto. “I want to counter the idea that Muslim women can be painted with one brush, by instead humanizing Muslim women, and diversifying the narratives of their everyday lives.”

View the complete project here.

Rudayna, 29, community advocate, Toronto: Rudayna works to promote equity in her neighbourhood and city. “It’s about dismantling broken systems,” she says. “It’s about love. It’s about reimagining.”
woman in toronto
Aalya, 28, Master’s student and religious educator, Toronto: Aalya’s Muslim faith is strong, and she strives to honour the Islamic ethic of helping those who exist on the periphery of society.
Farhat, 70, advocate, Ottawa: In her retirement, Farhat has dedicated herself to advocating for social justice — particularly for the rights of the mentally ill, the incarcerated and their loved ones.
woman in halifax
Aya, 24, journalist, Halifax: Aya is inspired by the diverse people she meets in her community working as a journalist. Now, she wants to see newsrooms reflect that diversity, too.

Alia Youssef is a Toronto-based portrait photographer and artist.


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