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Unapologetically Muslim: Maheen Ahmed

Hijab is one of my acts of devotion and worship of Allah. Its a constant reminder to myself of my faith and is a very spiritual act to me to focus on my principles and values and cleanse the desire for societal approval from my heart. In practice, attaining this goal is not as easy as putting on the physical hijab every day (which literally isn’t very easy some days!) — I need to intentionally work towards this by refining my internal character and bettering my actions, which are also important aspects of practicing hijab. Simply put, to me it’s a physically outward act that is meant to help purify the inward. I work at the California State Capitol in the State Assembly on public policy and legislation for the State of California. As the only hijab-practicing Muslim individual in the entire Capitol, I am much more conscious of my headscarf in this environment. And just as in any prevalen

tly non-Muslim workplace setting, it draws curious questions about my faith and my community, especially in the current Islamophobic political climate. I realize that due of the severe lack of representation of Muslims in this sphere, the sheer presence in these halls of power and 'at the table' as a Muslim woman has a level of influence on conversations and decisions that we otherwise wouldn’t have. But it’s important that it doesn’t just end there. My experiences thus far at the

Capitol, combined with my previous experience at CAIR-Sacramento Valley on advocacy efforts, at Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT) with grassroots organizing have taught me the importance of principled and effective representation to create social change, which is what I aspire to work towards in my career endeavors, God-willing.

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