Zainab Salbi is launching a new initiative called “The Zainab Salbi Project,” which covers global issues from a woman’s perspective, follows her as she travels the world shedding light on those issues through personal stories of people who are struggling, surviving and thriving in conflict regions.
She’s an Iraqi-American women’s rights activist, humanitarian, author, social entrepreneur, media commentator, and all around #MuslimGirlFire.
Her new six-episode series that launches today will cover everything from issues of Islamophobia to gender discrimination all around the world and show why it’s important to understand and pay attention to these issues. Muslim Girl interviewed Zainab to find out more about the project and inspiration, so check it out below!
Muslim Girl: Can you tell us a little bit about the Zainab Salbi project?
Zainab Salbi: The Zainab Salbi Project explores global issues impacting our lives. Traveling around the world Zainab explores Islamophobia in America, a gender revolution that is happening in India, discrimination against women who want to be ordained monks in Thailand, the impact of ISIS and the war in Iraq on Iraqi society, the state of freedom of press and safety of journalists in Mexico and what French Muslims have to say about the increased rate of ISIS recruitment and how the community is fighting back.
What inspired you to start this series? What does it mean to you?
I think we are living in a time of fear, blame and misunderstanding. And the only way forward in such times is to have the uncomfortable conversations, to shatter stereotypes and to build connections among people.
Unless we fully incorporate women’s voices in all sectors of life: politically, socially, culturally, economically, militarily among others, we will never be able to build sustainable peace and prosperity.
Do you think there’s a lack in covering global issues through a woman’s perspective?
Definitely. We need to understand the world from a woman’s perspective and how women experience and see the world. This is different than just covering women’s issues.
This series shows women’s active agencies in various ways — whether it be featuring a woman fighting against ISIS in Iraq or renegade female monks defying and changing the systems in Thailand.
Why do you think it’s important to shatter stereotypes about women across the globe?
Unless we fully incorporate women’s voices in all sectors of life: politically, socially, culturally, economically, militarily among others, we will never be able to build sustainable peace and prosperity. In such unstable times in the world, the voice that gives me most hope is that of women around the world. They are engaging their emotional intelligence to explore how we can actually build some peace in this world.
What emerged out of all these stories are strong voices of women – whose voices must be heard as a first step towards better understanding and connection.
On this journey, what global issue surprised or shocked you the most?
What took my breath away is the direct connection between the invasion of Iraq, the increased radicalization of young men in France and Islamophobia in America. This all is one story – one we need to understand and feel the toll it is having on so many people as a way to heal the tension of the moment. What emerged out of all these stories are strong voices of women – whose voices must be heard as a first step towards better understanding and connection.
What was the most rewarding part of traveling and putting together this series?
I love learning about new cultures and am open to understanding what people of that culture are experiencing and feeling about different issues. This was an immersion into other cultures, traditions, food, music and even the tears. I felt invigorated in every moment and it helped a lot having a great team to work and travel with. They made it possible and even fun to work so intensely.
What’s the message you want to spread with this project?
To overcome such a time of fear, we need to hear the “other” in a new way and to understand their perspective so we may rise up with love. If we let fear overtake our actions, we become the very thing we despise. The only way out of it is to love fearlessly.
What can we look forward to and expect from this series?
A new way of seeing the world.
To watch the trailer for Salbi’s new series, click here.