Fatima Ashraf

Speaking Options

The Dejabis: Muslim American Women Unveiled

Women’s rights, place, duties, and responsibilities in Islam are constantly being discussed and debated.  Hijab is likely the most recognized and frequently criticized symbol of Islam.  There is a current trend among Muslim American women to “dejab” or decide to discontinue wearing hijab for a variety of reasons.  This presentation is part story telling and part interactive discussion about hijab, “dejab,” and the implications for Muslim Americans.  Participants will learn about the history and origin of hijab, the reasons women choose to wear it and now, the reasons women choose to take it off.

The Young Men of Color’s Initiative: Bringing their Health and Well Being to the Forefront

Rising unemployment. Violence. Decreasing graduation rates and college admissions. Drastic inequalities in health, education, and employment between young men of color and their white counterparts. Activist and educator Fatima Ashraf believes that all of these societal realities are unnecessary. From racist policies like “stop and frisk” to tedious tasks like obtaining government ID, young men of color face more and more barriers each day to becoming productive members of society.  Learn how health, education, and employment policies can be changed from obstacles to openings to dramatically improve life outcomes for men of color.

Healthy Working Moms

There is no lack of debate surrounding women’s roles today as provider and mother. From Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) to Marissa Mayer (Yahoo), the game for working moms in the workplace is changing.  This presentation explores whether this game is a fair one, how societal oppressions have forced women and families to make very tough decisions regarding children and money, and how privilege of some over others calls into question the utility of working moms.

Speaker’s Bio

Fatima Ashraf is a strong Muslim woman with an opinion. She is an activist, health educator, public policy specialist, wife and mother of two young boys. Fatima has committed her life to studying, analyzing, and solving a variety of our society’s health problems.  Having studied biology at the University of Wisconsin then health behavior at the University of Michigan, Fatima brings a scientific and social understanding to her work.  Fatima was hired by past New York City Mayor Bloomberg in 2005 to design policies and programs to address health and education together. She used this opportunity to create the Health Literacy Fellowship for Medical Students, the We Are New York television series for English language learners, the City’s Youth Violence Prevention project, and co-directed the Young Men’s Initiative, the nation’s boldest effort to reduce disparities in health and education among men of color. Today, Fatima is a health policy consultant helping people, organizations, and governments efficiently design, evaluate, and complete their health-related projects and programs.Fatima is executive producer of Muslim State of Mind, a weekly radio production on 99.5FM WBAI in New York City. The show highlights voices of Muslims in America from across the religious spectrum on a variety of issues including, politics, health, sports, fashion, culture, parenting, and of course religion. Fatima is also a deeply spiritual woman and follower of Islam, or Muslim. For over ten years Fatima has been working with Muslim girls and women on issues of self-esteem, identity, and oppression.  Fatima has experienced life as a “hijabi” and a “dejabi,” a single woman, a married mom of two, a Muslim woman in politics, and one half of an interracial couple.  Her perspectives on Islam and America bring a unique understanding of societal and cultural norms and how they relate to religious practice.