Shaheen Bagh hero Bilkis named as the most influential lady in Muslim world

By Staff Reporter, The Site

In yet another recognition for her heroic role in anti Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest, Bilkis has been named as the Women of the Year by the Amman based Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. Bilkis found the top position in the 2021 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims after she turned to be the face of the female-led protest against CAA and NRC at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi.

The prestigious publication noted that Bilkis managed to bring the world’s attention to the latest signpost in India’s slide into Hindutva, ‘majoritarianism’.

“Eighty-two-year-old Bilkis Bano has managed to mobilise and inspire many to stand up against an ideology that is threatening to destroy India as we know it. Starting a simple Gandhian sit in protest on a road in her locality of Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, she managed to bring the world’s attention to the latest signpost in India’s slide into Hindutva, ‘majoritarianism’, ‘Hindu nationalism’ or ‘fascism, Hindu style’. Bilkis was joined by thousands of women, initially Muslim, but then of all religions, ages and classes to protest against the NRC and CAA," the publication noted. 

"Bilkis, or dadi (grandmother) as she is known,  protested for over 100 days against this ideology which would overturn India as we know it. Her protest grew organically to over 12 locations in Delhi itself and then on to other cities, with millions of people getting involved. The warning voice of Bilkis and others will be heard so loudly again. She is determined to carry on the fight, but whether she can once again garner this level of support is an open question," it added.

Last month, Time Magazine named Bilkis among the 100 most influential people in the world acknowledging the octogenarian's fight.

"Bilkis...became the symbol of resistance in a nation where the voices of women and minorities were being systematically drowned out," the magazine said.

Ilham Tohti from China was named as Man of the Year. A professor of economics, Ilham advocated for the rights of Uyghur culture and questioned the lack of economic opportunities for Uyghurs. He was imprisoned on separatism related charges in 2014, with no contact with his family for the past three years.

Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Qatar Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, crown prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and American scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf have been also featured by the publication.

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