Egyptian-born Dalia Mogahed was propelled onto the international arena when she became the first Muslim veiled woman to be appointed to a position in the White House. Mogahed, who moved from Egypt to America when she was fourteen years old, was selected as an advisor to US president Barack Obama on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships in April.
Mogahed joins 25 other religious and secular representatives who will report to the president on the role religion can play in resolving social problems and addressing civil rights issues. Her appointment was initially met with optimism but her declaration that her loyalty goes first to the United States in an interview with an Arab newspaper disappointed some people.
Mogahed also heads up the Gallup American Centre for Muslim Studies, a non-governmental research centre that provides data-driven analysis on the views of Muslim populations around the world, and is the co-author of “Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.”
The book, which is based on six years of research and more than 50,000 interviews, represents more than 90 percent of the world’s Muslim’s community, making it the largest most comprehensive poll of its kind. Her analysis has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy magazine, the Harvard International Review as well as other academic journals.