Meet the three Somali sisters changing the Muslim narrative in the West

SHAFAQNA - Imagine when your dream is too big it could overshadow you and the thread you’re treading on is too slim you could easily fall off. That is exactly what three young Somali women are doing in Canada.

Meet Ilhan Ibrahim, Hodan Ibrahim and Ayan Ibrahim who share not only blood and identity, but a dream to change how the mainstream media portrays the Muslim community. They said they could not achieve that dream without first having their own publishing house.

The idea that bore Qurtuba publishing house was just as simple as this:
“I once attended a seminar called “Owing our History”. At the end of the event, they gave everyone a piece of paper, and asked us to write one goal that we promise to accomplish within one month’s time. I remember writing “Start changing our narrative”-and by ‘our’ I meant the Muslim narrative,” Ilhan, who is the co-founder and the CEO of the publishing house, explains.

One night while at home, Ilhan,20, called her two sister for a short discussion over a nagging dream that was rendering her restless. Her two sister—Hodan Ibrahim, 25, a social entrepreneur, author, and publisher who specializes in capacity development for emerging businesses and Ayan Ibrahim, 23, a writer, aspiring photographer, and registered nurse—talked extensively about the Muslim narrative in the eyes of the western world, and they were not content with end result of their discussion.

“All over the globe, Muslims are suffering from social polarization, economic decline, and political turmoil. Mainstream media has immensely contributed to the negative portrayal of Muslims, creating a narrative that is neither factual nor representative of the global Muslim community,” they said, adding that the challenges were increasing by the day and it was becoming exceedingly difficult for Muslims to reconcile with what Islam taught and the dynamic context of the of current world.

“As any Muslim, we felt that we had a social and religious obligation to counter these growing challenges,” they offered.

Six months into the business, they said they are looking for authors “that are passionate about bringing more attention to underrepresented subjects in the Muslim mainstream discourse.”

The three sister said they find it enjoyable to run the business together. Ilhan is the founder while her elder sister, Ayan is Managing Editor. Hodhan serves as the Marketing Manager.

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