She came to Australia not knowing a single world of English, but is now a prominent figure in Australia and around the world. Mariam Veiszadeh talks to Sahar Mourad.
Selected as one of Elle Magazine’s (Malaysia) 12 women who were helping to change the world, Mariam Veiszadeh is humble in her outlook of the world and her place as a social influencer.
The lawyer, community rights advocate and opinion writer said she is “honoured and deeply moved by the gesture but I honestly don’t believe that I belong in this category of people at all.”
Mariam says she doesn’t dream of changing the world but wants to do her bit in combating false narratives created about Muslims. “I always thought the sacrifices I make today could, even if in a miniscule way, help make the lives of other women who may walk a similar path to mine in the not so distant future just that little bit easier,” she explained.
But to her supporters Mariam is a great leader and a brave advocate fighting against racism. She has strong community of followers on Twitter, all uniting against the racist attacks aimed towards her and what she stands for, as well as making #IStandWithMariam trend Australia wide.
“I was humbled and overwhelmed with the support. History has shown us time and time again that social change only comes about when we challenge the status quo and preserve so we must rise against Islamaphobia and all forms of xenophobia.”
This was not the only issue Mariam says she was faced with. Mariam’s constant disappointment after searching for a job as a lawyer led her to believe her rejected applications were based on her appearance, her hijab to be precise.
“I had to work extra hard in many of my job interviews to help put the recruiter at ease and to prove that I was ‘normal’. I recall, not so fondly, the days when I’d manage to impress potential recruiters on the phone but then having met face-to-face, their enthusiasm would suddenly plummet due to the piece of fabric on my head.”
This however, did not stop Mariam from succeeding in her profession. Mariam’s advice to other women in the same situation is hopeful and optimistic.
“Do not be disappointed if you don’t succeed today. Your work and determination will not be wasted, as you are planting the seeds for tomorrow. Know that love will always triumph hate and that the wrongs committed against us should never change our moral compass.”
As published in the May issue Anoujoum magazine, out now, get your copy at selected news agencies and Middle Eastern grocers.