Advocacy for Muslim Women

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Notions of identity carry complex political, social, and familial meanings. The following terms are defined for clarity only and not to force anyone into a particular regional and ethnic grouping. Self-identification is appropriately a matter of individual decision.


  • Arab, Middle Eastern, and West Asian refers to people from the Middle East, also called West Asia, and includes peoples who trace their origins to the countries, diasporas and/or ethnicities of these regions.
  • Asian includes peoples of Central Asian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and West Asian ancestry, i.e., those who trace their origins to the countries, diasporas and/or ethnicities of the above regions.
  • Muslim, which includes the Sunni and Shia’ sects, refers to people who self-identify, culturally or religiously (whether they are practicing or not), as Muslim.


Quick Facts

  • Not all Arabs are Muslims. They can be Christians, Druze, Baha’is, or Jews. Christian sects in the Middle East include Antiochian Orthodox, Assyrian, Chaldean, Coptic, Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Maronite, Melkite, Roman Catholic, Syrian Catholic, and Syrian Orthodox.
  • Not all West Asians, such as Iranians/Persians and Turks, are Arabs.
  • Indigenous Muslims refers to African American Muslims.
  • Immigrant and refugee Muslims in the U.S. come from Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan; MENA (Middle East & North Africa) Region: e.g., Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Palestine; Africa, e.g., Somalia; and Europe, e.g., Bosnia.

We have collected resources for Muslim communities because so many Muslim immigrants living in the U.S. come from various regions in Asia: Central, East, South, Southeast, and West Asia, i.e. the Middle East.

Resources on Advocacy for Muslim Women

Beyond Halal and Haram: Muslims, Sex, and Relationships

By Futures Without Violence, HEART Women & Girls, & Advocates for Yourh
A useful conversation starter for health care providers, counselors, social workers, mentors, or other adults working with high-school and college-aged Muslim youth who are doing universal education around healthy relationships and assessing for violence. The card provides information on healthy relationships and sex, guidance and resources for support, how to help a friend, and cultural and religious factors that play into decision-making.

Other Resources

Articles and presentations on Islamic law and American courts by Abed Awad, esq.

HEART Women & Girls: promotes sexual health and sexual violence awareness in Muslim communities through health education, advocacy, research and training

Human Rights Campaign Foundation: Coming Home to Islam and to Self (2015): a guide aimed at LGBTQ American Muslims who are on the journey toward living fully in their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and in their faith and its traditions

KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights

Legal Glossaries in Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu: Superior Court of California

Peaceful Families Project: training, technical assistance, and resources on preventing domestic violence in Muslim families

PEW Research Center: Resources on Muslims in America

Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality & Equality: WISE Up: Knowledge Ends Extremism (2017)

WISE, Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality & Equality: information on domestic violence