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As a young Muslim girl growing up on the streets of Astoria, New York, Rana Abdelhamid MPP 2017 experienced the terror of religious persecution when a man tried to tear the hijab from her face in a random encounter. It was a terrifying moment that would haunt her yet also inspire her to fight back.
At age 16 Abdelhamid founded the Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment, known as WISE, whose mission is to develop the talents of young women and to support their potential for success. WISE sponsors leadership, self defense, and social entrepreneurship training with the hope of helping to inspire a network of young female leaders who will work for the advancement of their communities and the world.
Abdelhamid is also the inspiration behind the social media project 'Hijabis of New York,' designed to highlight Muslim women around the world who wear the religious head scarf. Her story has received an array of media coverage, as reflected below.