CONTACT aishah.schwartz AT gmail.com
MWA PRESS ROOM
BIOGRAPHY: AISHAH SCHWARTZ
OCTOBER WEEKLY: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/__R3vOjTvWws/TCELkgGQMiI/AAAAAAAAAqM/W4nJpBegT0M/s1600/aishah_schwartz_october_weekly_19jun10.jpg
Aishah Schwartz, an American Muslim revert to Islam since April 2002, is founder and director of the 2006 established Washington, D.C.-based Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) and a retired 17-year litigation legal assistant.She is also a published freelance non-fiction writer/journalist and internationally renowned human rights activist with a focus on the rights of Muslim women and the plight of the Palestinian people affected by the Israeli imposed illegal embargo on Gaza.
Ms.Schwartz's writing, primarily autobiographical, generally focuses on countering misconceptions about Islam and her own life as a Muslim.Relating her experiences as an American Muslim woman traveling in the Middle East, her stories gained world-wide notoriety via the internet and can be read at www.sisteraishah.com.
She eventually also became a featured writer for Naseeb Vibes, one of the world's largest online Muslim e-zines and social communities.Ms.Schwartz's articles are also regularly published at The American Muslim (TAM) and various other outlets (list here).
Shortly after becoming Muslim, while volunteering at the 2003 ISNA Convention she was interviewed for Nile TV and later that year participated in a voter registration campaign at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, which led to her first "quote" in a CBS News story.
As a writing activist Ms.Schwartz focuses on civil and human rights issues within the Muslim community at-large, particularly those adversely affecting Muslim women.
She addressed President Jacques Chirac, dressed as the Statue of Liberty, in front of the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.as hundreds gathered on January 17, 2004 in protest of an impending law prohibiting Muslim women from wearing hijab.
In 2004 Ms.Schwartz also participated in the live filming of the hour-long premiere episode of the WETA-TV series "Senso Reports" - Target Washington (2004); appearing twice in cameo.
In 2005 she lead a national campaign in association with America's Second Harvest, organized to rally the Muslim community in support of National Hunger Awareness Day and developed a Hunger Awareness guide for participants in the Muslim community that was distributed to masjids across the United States.
Robert Forney, President and CEO of America's Second Harvest stated, "We are honored to be aided in our National Hunger Awareness Day 2005 efforts by members of so many diverse faiths, including Ms.Schwartz." In 2006 she continued the Hunger Awareness campaign as Founder and Director of Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA).
Through MWA her activism received international recognition in 2006 after a successful campaign to avert removal of a prayer space in view of the Kabba designated for women in the courtyard of Makkah's Grand Mosque.The impact the campaign website, online petition, poster declaring "We Have A Right to Pray in This Space!", and press release, all directed to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.was reported on by Egypt's Al-Ahram Weekly."Aishah Schwartz, founder-director of the Muslimah Writers Alliance in Washington, set up the Grand Mosque Equal Access for Women Project that circulated a petition protesting the restrictions [on women].Very quickly over a thousand signatures were collected."
Women inside Saudi Arabia and around the world, meanwhile, carried on protesting in the media."It was the most striking example to date of concerted Islamic feminist global protest and one that authorities could not ignore," stated Margot Badran, Senior Fellow, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
On September 11, 2006, the proposal was overturned based in part on pressure from international media outlets and response to the online petition endorsed by Muslims worldwide.
In 2008, Human Rights Watch recognized the Grand Mosque Equal Access campaign in its report titled, "Perpetual Minors".
Ms.Schwartz was also recognized for her work in tackling equality within the masjid in the 2007 paperback release of Donna Gherke-White's 'Face Behind the Veil', a widely read collection of stories shedding additional light on issues facing American Muslim women.
Launching another Saudi Arabia-based campaign in 2007, again directed to the Saudi King, Ms.Schwartz tackled the need for reforms in the Kingdom's laws regarding guardianship of women with the "Say 'No' to Forced Divorce, 'Yes' to Reforms" campaign, which combined the cause for reuniting Fatima and Mansour Al-Timani, a couple forcefully divorced due to alleged 'tribal' differences.
Ms.Schwartz also had the opportunity discuss the issue as a guest panelist on the D.C.-based television program, "Islamic Perspectives".
The couple was finally reunited nearly 5 years from their divorce, however, the Say 'No' to Forced Divorce, 'Yes' to Reforms petition, signed by people from 40 Countries, 56 Foreign Cities, 21 U.S.States, and 45 U.S.Cities, continues in support of reform.
An unexpected surprise came to Ms.Schwartz in September of 2009 when her blog, "Sister Aishah's Journey" was recognized by The Daily Reviewer as one of the top 100 Muslim blogs.The Daily Reviewer selects only the world's top blogs (and RSS feeds), sifting through thousands of blogs daily to present the world's best writers.Blogs selected for inclusion are authorative on their respective niche topics and are widely read.To be included in The Daily Reviewer is a mark of excellence.
In 2010 Ms.Schwartz hit the ground running.
Beginning with the December 2008 illegal Israeli massacre on Gaza, Ms.Schwartz, already actively involved in campaigning to end the embargo on Gaza through extensive writing and in marching against it in Washington, D.C., became more personally involved, petitioning members of the U.S.Congress and President Obama through various projects (see MWA Press Room); work that led to her eventual personal siege breaking journey to Gaza in December 2009.(Video) (Enter GAZA in search box mid-right of this page to learn more.)
On returning from Gaza January 2, 2010, she was compelled to do more.In support of the reported 700+ students in need of exit visas for pursuit of studies abroad, Ms.Schwartz launched the 'No Gaza Student Left Behind' campaign in June 2010 with a press release, open letter to President Obama, online petition drive and posters.The campaign continues today.
In 2010 the women's rights movement in Saudi Arabia waged forward again in June as guardianship reform, in conjunction with the rights of foreign nationals, was once again brought to the forefront as news broke of a pending June 29 visit by King Abdullah to the White House.Ms.Schwartz again lent MWA's support, to demonstrations that took place in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., and in front of the White House, in association with the Comit'e de Soutien 'a Nathalie Morin,' of Canada, Muslims for Progressive Values and Responsible for Equality, and Liberty (R.E.A.L.), based in Washington, D.C.
"The women of Saudi Arabia continue in pursuit of much needed reform in the Kingdom's existing guardianship laws," stated Ms.Schwartz.
"Many people confuse reform with abolishment; the movement is not to dissolve guardianship, it is merely to improve the conditions of women suffering from uneven-handedness and to provide alternative recourse for those not benefiting from the protections that the law is intended to provide," Ms.Schwartz added.
The new year was also marked by participation in International Hijab Awareness Day, an event organized in support of bringing awareness to physical abuse within Muslim communities - commemorated in conjunction with the one-year anniversary marking the tragic beheading of Aasyia Zubair Hassan (1972-2009).
In December 2010 Ms.Schwartz and her organization, Muslimah Writers Alliance, was the subject of a produced for Al-Jazeera mini-documentary aired on Al-Jazeera's "Initiatives".The documentary was produced by iFilms in Cairo, Egypt and also features MWA member and new author, Rania Marwan, who recently published her first children's book, "Laila and Pesto the Fly".
Ms.Schwartz took her activism away from the keyboard in 2010 with the film production of a sequel to the Bridges Foundation project, "The Fog is Lifting", titled "Jihad on Terrorism", also featuring Imam Suhaib Webb and others.The project was released on DVD in January 2011.
Muslimah Writers Alliance, Founder & Director
National Association of Women Writers, Member
National Association of Muslim Lawyers, Member
Muslim American Journalists Association, Member
Committee to Protect Journalists, Member
Academy of American Poets, Member
ON THE WEB
Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA)
MWA Social Network
GRAND MOSQUE EQUAL ACCESS CAMPAIGN
SAY 'NO' TO FORCED DIVORCE, 'YES' TO REFORMS
BLOG – Sister Aishah's Islamic Journey
MAS Freedom Biography
NASEEBVIBES Featured Writer Biography
Muslim American Journalists Association (MAJA)
AC ASSOCIATED CONTENT Writers Biography
THE JOURNEY LIBRARY
Aishah's Journey Begins.Shahada 4/19/02
Adopt a Ramadan Buddy
Aishah's Journey Continues.My First Ramada
Aishah's Journey Continues.A Day in the Life of a Servant of Allah
Aishah's Journey Continues.New York, New York!
Aishah's Journey Continues.An American Muslim in Saudi Arabia
Aishah's Journey Continues.The Niqab Story
Aishah's Journey Continues.Released from Solitary Confinement
Aishah's Journey Continues.Only in the Land of Chance
Aishah's Journey Continues.My First Umrah
Aishah's Journey Continues.The Road to Madinah
Aishah's Journey Continues.Madinah Day One
Aishah's Journey Continues.Madinah Our Last Day
Aishah's Journey Continues.An Anniversary
Aishah's Journey Continues.My Third Umrah
Aishah's Journey Continues.Friday, July 23, 2004, Mecca
Aishah's Journey Continues.My Fifth Umrah
Aishah's Journey Continues.Ramadan in KSA Chapter One
Aishah's Journey Continues.Ramadan in KSA Chapter Two
Aishah's Journey Continues.Post Islam Holiday Reflections
Aishah's Journey Continues.Hajj 2005
Aishah's Journey Continues.April 19, 2005 - Three Years Later
Aishah's Journey Continues.Ramadan 2005 - Day One
Aishah's Journey Continues.Through Good Times and Bad
Aishah's Journey Continues.Reflecting on Ramadan 2005
Aishah's Journey Continues…Ramadan the First Four Years
Aishah's Journey Continues.Post Ramadan Blues
Aishah's Journey Continues…Eid in Egypt 2005
Aishah's Journey Continues…Hijab in the Workplace
Aishah's Journey Continues…Prelude to a Shahada Story – Part One
Aishah's Journey Continues…Prelude to a Shahada Story – Part Two
MAS Freedom Executive Director Joins Clergy and Lay-Leaders in Demanding Accountability for Torture (MASNET) 06/12/09
MAS Freedom Condemns Attack on Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC (MASNET) 6/10/09
Washington U.S.District Court Denies Habeas Corpus Petition on Behalf of Naji Hamdan (MASNET) 6/10/09
MAS Freedom Calls on DOJ to Dismiss Al-Arian Charges & Bids Farewell to Attorney William B.Moffitt (MASNET) 4/27/09
Religious and Human Rights Leaders Organize Congressional Visits on Behalf of Naji Hamdan UAE Torture Victim (MASNET) 4/23/09
MAS Freedom Commends ACLU/SC on Discovery of New human Rights Abuses as Naji Hamdan Trial Looms (MASNET) 5/21/09
MAS Freedom Protests Senseless, Unprovoked Shooting of U.S.Activists by Israeli Forces (MASNET) 3/16/09
MAS Freedom-NC Director First Muslim Appointed to Raleigh news & Observer Community Panel (MASNET) 3/10/09
Federal Judge Rules Dr.Sami al-Arian to Face yet Another Trial March 9 (MASNET) 1/16/09
Why Your Generous Contribution WILL Make a Difference on Jan.10 (MASNET) 1/9/09
MAS Freedom Interfaith Community Coalition Against the propagation of Obsessive Hate Receives Meeting Requests (MASNET) 9/25/08
MAS Freedom Mourns the Passing of Imam Warith Deem Mohammed (Muslim Link) 9/28/08 Issue
MAS Freedom Rejoices in the News of Dr.Sami Al-Arian's Release on Bail (FreeDetainees.org) 9/24/08 (MASNET) 9/24/2008
MAS Freedom Campaigns for Meetings with Newspapers Involved in Distribution of 'Obsession' DVD (MASNET) 9/24/08
MAS Freedom Applauds Greensboro, NC News & Record for Principled Stand Against Distribution of 'Obsession' DVD (MASNET 9/17/08
MAS Freedom Secures Stay of Deportation for 60-Year Old Cardiac Patient, Ziyad Busaileh (MASNET) 9/16/08
MAS Freedom Fights Deportation of Ziyad Busaileh, Cardiac Patient MAS Freedom Secures (MASNET) 9/10/08
MAS Freedom Mourns Passing of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (MASNET) 9/9/08
MAS Freedom Rejoices in news of Dr.Sami Al-Arian's Release on Bail (MASBOSTON) 9/2/08
Release of ICE Cardiac Detainee Ziyad Busaileh of Raleigh, NC (MASNET) 8/15/08
MAS Freedom Appeals to ICE and DHS Officials for Humanitarian Response in Case of Ziyad Busaileh (MASNET) 08/13/08
ICE 90-Day Sweep Nets Raleigh, NC Palestinian Cardiac Patient (Daily Muslims) 8/8/08)
MAS Freedom Offers Preparedness Advice as ICE Continues 90-Day Sweep (MASNET) 8/4/08
MAS Freedom Investigates ICE Arrest of 60-Year Old Palestinian Cardiac Patient (MASNET) 7/31/08
MAS Freedom Welcomes Judge Brinkema's Order for Release of Dr.Sami Al-Arian (MASNET) 7/11/08
Human Rights Violations Resulting from Male Guardianship and Sex Segregation (Human Rights Watch – See Footnote 104) 4/19/2008
MAS Freedom's Aishah Schwartz: Time Well Spent-Profile of a Muslim American Woman (MASNET) 4/10/08
MAS Freedom Legal Fund Announces Imam Kadir Gunduz Released on Bond After 2 Week Detainment (MASNET) 12/19/2007
MAS Freedom Welcomes Saudi King’s Pardon of ‘Qatif Girl’ But Reiterates the Need for Change (TAM) (TheWIP) 12/18/07
MAS Freedom Welcomes Saudi King's Pardon of Qatif Girl But Reiterates Need for Change (CNN) (MASNET) 12/17/2007
MAS Freedom Celebrates Unanimous 376-0 Passage of 'Ramadan Bill' (MASHOUSTON) 10/2/07
Arizona’s Hegazy Family Evacuated from Gaza Strip (TAM) 8/25/07
MAS Freedom Reflects on First-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (MASNET) (Daily Muslims) (MAJA) 8/24/06
MAS Freedom Announces Evacuation and Reunion of Arizona's Hegazy Family (MASNET) 8/23/07
Despite Three Known Evacuations Hegazy Family Remains Stranded in Gaza Strip (TAM) (MASNET) 8/21/07
‘Battle of Gaza’ Separates Arizona Muslim Family (TAM) 8/11/07
June 'Battle of Gaza' Separates Chandler, AZ Muslim Family (MASNET) 8/9/07
MAS Freedom Responds to Sentencing of Sabri Benkhala (Invading the Blogosphere) (MASNET) 7/25/2007
In Defense of Islam: To Advocate or Abdicate (Naseeb Vibes) 3/13/07
Women's 'Protection' (Arab News) 3/6/07
Muslimah Writers Alliance Director to Appear on Channel Islam Radio in Support of Islamic Initiative at Johannesburg's Rand Show (PRWeb) 3/22/07 (Topix) 3/22/07
Muslimah Writers Alliance Petition Exceeds 1,000 Signatures in Support of Guardianship Reform in Saudi Arabia (PRWeb) 3/19/07
In Defense of Islam: To Advocate or Abdicate (Naseeb Vibes) 3/13/07
Muslimah Writers Alliance Joins in Petitioning Saudi Arabia for Reversal of Forced Divorce (The American Muslim) (TAM) 2/06/07 (PRWeb) 2/24/07
Saudi King Pressed Over Women's Marriage Rights (Malaysia Sun) (China National News) 2/08/07
Muslimah Writers Alliance Joins in Petitioning Saudi Arabia for Reversal of Forced Divorce, (TAM) 2/06/07
Awista Ayub - A Beacon of Hope for the Children of Afghanistan (TAM) 2/3/07
Awista Ayub: Beacon of Hope to the Children of Afghanistan (Naseeb Vibes) (MAJA) 1/07
Rites and Rights (Al-Ahram Weekly) 10/12/06 (Source Reference Stephanie E.Shaw – Women's Rights Anthology 103 Levin-Cohen (University of Illinois) 11/06
America's Largest Muslim and Catholic Grass Root Organizations Respond to Pope Controversy by Vowing to Strengthen Ties (MASNET) 9/20/06
MAS Freedom Expresses Concerns Regarding Immigration Speed-Up (MASNET) 9/18/06 (Logo Credit: Aishah Schwartz)
Local Sister Sees Impact of Online Campaign for Women's Area in Haram (Muslim Link) 9/12/06
Muslimah Writers Alliance Director Welcomes News of Saudi Reversal to Eliminate Women's Prayer Area (MWANET) 9/12/06
Muslimah Writers Alliance Joins Activists Seeking Preservation of Women's Prayer Area at Makkah's Grand Mosque (MWANET) 8/31/06
MAS Freedom Reflects on First-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (MASNET) (Daily Muslims NY) (MAJA) 8/24/06
MAS Freedom Reflects on Aug.29 Katrina Anniversary (MASNET) 8/21/06
MAS Freedom Executive Director Calls for Bush Apology on Indonesian News Broadcast (MASNET) 8/15/06
ANSWER/MAS/NCA Mobilizes Over 30,000 for March on Washington (Daily Muslims) 8/14/06
Thousands of Muslims Join MAS Freedom for August 12 March on Washington (The Muslim Link) 8/14/2006
MAS Freedom Preparing Muslims, Interfaith Leaders and Civil Rights Activists for March on DHS (MASNET) 8/14/06
MAS Mobilizes Over 30,000 Muslims for March on Washington (MASNET) 8/13/06
MAS Iowa Holds Palestine Rally, New Demonstration Scheduled on July 21 (IBN News) 7/19/06
MAS Iowa Holds 'AJ4P' Rally in Cedar Rapids; Second Demonstration Set for July 21 (MASNET) 7/17/06
MAS Freedom LA Leads American Justice for Palestine Rally in Southern California (Daily Muslims) (Photo Credit: Aishah Schwartz) 7/12/06
My Life in Gaza (MASNET) (Photo credit: Aishah Schwartz) 7/12/06
Reports from Protests Against Israeli Invasion (ANSWER) 6/29/06 (photos copyright 2006 Aishah Schwartz)
Eradicating Complacency (Naseeb Vibes) 4/19/06 (Daily Muslims NY) 4/26/06
Double Homicide Labeled 'Cold Case' (Naseeb Vibes) 4/5/06
MAS Freedom Gets Limited CNN Coverage for Unsolved Brutal Murder of Muslim Mother (MASNET) 4/6/2006
CNN Revives Murder Case of LA Muslim Woman (IBN News, VA) 4/4/06, (MASNET) 4/6/06, and (Daily Muslims NY) 4/13/06
Muslimah Writers Alliance Launches Muslim Women Making History Project (PRWeb) 3/10/06
National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women (Faith Trust Institute) (See #2271)
Launch of Women's History Month Draws Over 400 Muslim Women Activists (Islam Online) 3/8/2006
Muslim American Activist Promotes Universal Standards for Human Rights at World Economic Forum (IBN News VA) 1/26/06
Al-Jamarat…The Rest of the Story (Naseeb Vibes) 1/16/06
Help Solve Case of Murdered Muslim Woman (MASNET) 8/05
MAS Asks CNN, Media to Solve Murder of Muslim (IBN News VA) 8/05
MAS Freedom Asks CNN and Other Media Outlets to Help Solve Case of Murdered Muslim Woman (MASNET) 8/4/05
MAS Freedom Rallies Muslim Community in Support of Hunger Awareness Drive (MASNET) 5/21/05
Muslims Responding Positively to Nationwide MAS Freedom Hunger Awareness Campaign (MASNET) 5/19/05
MAS Freedom Launches First Annual Hunger Awareness Food Drive (MASNET) 5/16/06
Defendant in Virginia Paintball Case Acquitted on All Charges (IBN News VA) 2/04
U.S.House of Representatives Holds Ramadan Iftar (MASNET) 11/13/03
Muslims Get Out the Vote (CBS News) (MASNET) 8/12/03
MAS Freedom Announces Launch of Voter Registration Campaign (MASNET) 8/12/03
Letter to the Editor; Wall Street Journal (MWANET) 4/7/07
"Say 'No' To Forced Divorce - 'Yes' to Reforms" (Petition Online) 2/7/07
Masajid Still Have a Long Way to Go (The Muslim Link) 7/11/06
You're Back From Hajj - Now What? (The Straight Path Magazine) Spring '06
Interviewed Cii Radio (South Africa) 4/15/06
Madinah, Revered City of Blessings (Our Rising Star Magazine, Seattle, WA) 4/06
Hunger Awareness Information Resource Packet
A Sad But True Ramadan Survey
Heaven…The Rest of the Story
Here's a Thought…Volunteer Your Way Through the Holidays!
Surviving the Holidays as a Revert
Just a Rant…and Co-Rant…on the "H" Word
Jealousy and Envy; The Wolf Behind the Door
Pondering the Best Deeds of the First 10 Days of Dhul-Hijjah
On the Eve of Eid ul-Adha
ABOUT TOWN - AISHAH IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
MAS National Emergency March on Washington 08/12/06
MAS National Protest in Front of Israeli Embassy 07/14/06
Protest at Embassy of France, Washington, D.C.01/17/04
Muslim's Get Out the Vote (CBS News) 8/13/03
Launch of Voter Registration Campaign (MASNET) 8/12/03
National Emergency March on Washington (Washington, DC) - August 12, 2006
Azizah Event at ADAMS Center, Sterling, VA - July 23, 2006
MASFF-NATIONAL Rally at Israeli Embassy, Washington, DC - July 14, 2006
MASFF-NATIONAL Rally at Israeli Embassy, Washington, DC - July 7, 2006
MASFF-NATIONAL Rally at Israeli Embassy, Washington, DC - June 29, 2006
ICNA/MAS Convention, Hartford CT - July 1-3, 2005
MAS Press Conference; Campaign to Combat Terrorism, Washington, DC - July 25, 2005
International Day of Protest at Embassy of France, Washington, DC - Jan.17, 2004
Failed settlement negotiations in the Red Sea port city of Hurghada, led United Company for Marine Lines owned Almottahedah-1 crew members and their attorney, Said Mamdouh Abdel Maksoud, to take their case to the streets.
Crew members allege passenger vessel owner, United Company for Marine Lines, failed to pay wages in excess of LE3 million.
As hundreds of thousands demonstrated throughout Egypt in protest of President Morsi's recent power grab, hundreds more, led by the 6th of April Youth Movement's Red Sea group in Hurghada, marched in solidarity.
Muslims in the Red Sea coastal city of Hurghada, Egypt, gather at the Hurghada Marina Mosque to attend the ritual Eid ul-Fitr prayer marking the end of the annual month-long period of fasting and worship known as Ramadan.
In Monday's newspaper, headlines declare that on Sunday, June 24, 2012, in the Republic of Egypt's first ever free and democratic presidential campaign, the people of Egypt elected Dr. Mohamed Morsi as President.
In an ongoing effort to educate Muslims and non-Muslims alike about the truths found in the religion of Islam, Al-Azhar University trained Dr. Muhammad Salah continued a series of discussions in the Egyptian tourist city of Hurghada.
Citizens of Egypt vote for their president in the country's historical first free election. In the Red Sea coastal city of Hurghada, voter turn-out appeared to be slow as residents customarily wait for the last day.