Indian journalist and opinion columnist with American daily, The Washington Post, Rana Ayyub has been named the Global Muslim Media Person of the Year 2021 by Muslim News, Nigeria’s most authoritative Islamic Newspaper.
The Mumbai, Maharashtra, India-born journalist and author emerged the winner of the prestigious international award, tagged: #MNAwards2021, after rigorous deliberations by the Muslim News team.
The 2020 edition of this category was won by the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Islam Channel, Mohamed Ali Harrath.
In a press statement released on Saturday, October 22, in Lagos, Southwest, Nigeria, Muslim News Publisher, Alhaji Rasheed Abubakar described described Rana Ayyub as the Voice of the voiceless and oppressed Muslims, especially in India where cases of violation of Muslim rights including calls for Muslim genocide have been on the rise.
According to Abubakar, Rana Ayyub is a fearless, dogged and committed journalist. She has been at the forefront of advocating for the rights of Muslims, especially the girl-child, who have been denied access to education due to ruthless hijab ban in many parts of India, the so-called world’s largest democracy.
“Rana has been victimised, harassed, reviled on several occasions by armed gangs and government agents for speaking up, using the power of the pen on different platforms, including social media to expose the persecutors and oppressors of over 200 million Muslim minority in India, calling on the international community and nations to stop the Narendra Modi-led government and his extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Though Ayyub does not wear the Hijab, the organisers of the Award extolled the journalist for believing firmly that every Muslim girl in India has the fundamental rights to adorn the hijab, and that right must be protected.
“She also speaks against the oppression and persecution of Indian Muslims on account of their faith, bringing to light many cases of assaults, including vandalisation of Muslim property and their places of worship, many of which would have gone unnoticed, if not for her efforts.
“We believe that she doesn’t do all these to be loved or rewarded but we at Muslim News Nigeria are doing this to appreciate and spur her to do more for Islam, Muslims and humanity in general, in line with our mantra of celebrating Muslim achievers.
“That she doesn’t use the hijab today doesn’t mean she will not use it one day. The fact that she is a Muslim and speaks for millions of girls in India to wear hijab in the face of Modi’s persecution is a great sacrifice that must be acknowledged”, said Alhaji Abubakar, who also added that hijab, according to the Shari’ah is compulsory, but education comes first before enforcement, particularly in a Muslim or Shari’ah practicing state.
“How much effort have we made to educate Muslim ladies on the significance of hijab, especially starting from their young age?”, he asked.
In reaction to the growing hijab row in Iran, Abubakar said, “If they have been educated and received the right orientation and interpretation of the Qur’an and Hadith, they would not turn against it, not to the extent of someone dying, leading to a nationwide protest. Scholars must continue to educate every girl on hijab before enforcement,” he noted.
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