Girl Boss 2017: Hind Jarrah

Dr. Hind Jarrah is the co-founder and executive director of Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation (TMWF), an organization dedicated to educating communities about Muslim faith and culture and giving voice to Muslim women. She is highly respected in Plano and beyond for her contribution to strengthening interfaith relations and for her ongoing work preventing and intervening in domestic violence.

Hind was born in Beirut, Lebanon and first came to the United States with her husband for temporary study. When civil war broke out in Lebanon in 1975 however, the couple made the choice to stay in the States. It was then that they opened a weekend school teaching Arabic. This offered many opportunities for Hind to lecture about Muslim culture at universities and churches.

The real turning point for her activism happened after Hind witnessed the public perception of Muslims rapidly decline after 9/11. “The biggest problem as a community is that for the longest time, people spoke for us. People heard ‘experts’ speak about Islam, but they rarely heard from Muslims,” Hind says. In 2005 she joined a diverse group of women to found Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation.

TMWF began to quickly focus on a few key issues. With an empowered group of women, domestic violence rose to the top of the list. The group’s website lists a goal to “promote and support all women and their families, with a special focus on North Texas.” TMWF has created several programs and worked with other non-profits to serve more than 1,500 victims of domestic violence since 2005.

Essential to gaining trust in the community is educating about actual Muslim culture. This involves strengthening men while also strengthening women. “Contrary to misconceptions, Islam itself does not put women down,” Hind explains. “Men have…counteracted that and have stood against domestic violence.” She adds, “If it wasn’t for my father and husband…I wouldn’t be able to do any of the work I am doing.”

From 2005 to 2010, TMWF was run completely by volunteers. While many were Muslim, many were also Christian, atheist, Jewish, Hindu, men and women. Now, the paid staff is just as diverse. Hind accomplished this interfaith alliance by teaching at various churches and organizations throughout the Metroplex and by appealing to the “commonality of all human beings.”

She says that Plano made perfect sense for TMWF headquarters because so many of the founding members and volunteers are here in Plano and Collin County. She says, “I’m very proud of Plano’s people and government. For instance, we’ve interacted a lot with Junior League of Collin County, which has its headquarters in Plano. At all levels, I have seen compassion – have seen them bring the community together.”

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