Muslim Woman Named Adviser in the Obama Administration

Dalia Mogahed, an Egyptian-born American who heads the Gallup American Center for Muslim Studies, has become the first Muslim woman appointed to serve in President Barack Obama's administration, and the first Muslim woman in hijab to be named to a position in the White House.

According to an article on Al Arabiya, Mogahed, along with 24 other religious and secular representatives, will sit on an interfaith advisory board which will advise the president on the role religion might play in resolving social problems and civil rights issues.

While the far right will clearly disapprove of this, for the first time in ten years a majority of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction. This statistic is according to an Associated Press-GfK poll, which shows "most Americans consider their new president to be a strong, ethical and empathetic leader who is working to change Washington."

Surely Mogahed's new role as adviser in the White House will be viewed by some as symbolic of that change. The question remains, however, whether interfaith dialog with the President will lead to a tangible change in how the average American views Muslims. Rather than be skeptical or speculate, I'll simply look at Mogahed's appointment as a small step in the right direction.

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About Christine Benlafquih

Christine (Amina) Benlafquih is a freelance writer whose work includes articles, opinion pieces, personal essays and occasional fiction and poetry. A former publications and public relations director, she earned a B.A. in Journalism from Duquesne University in 1987. Originally from Rochester, NY, she has also lived in Pittsburgh, PA, the Washington, DC area, and now resides in Casablanca, Morocco. Her experiences as an American convert to Islam, both in the United States and in Morocco, serve as inspiration to much of her work. She is particularly concerned about the biased portrayal of Arabs and Muslims in the media, and about the division and labeling that occurs among Muslims themselves. Christine is a member of the Islamic Writers Alliance (IWA) and the Muslim American Journalists Association (MAJA). She is married and the mother of six children.

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