Sarwat Husain HER BRAVEHEART SIGNIFICANCE PHOTOGRAPHY BY LARRY CRAWFORD
arwat Husain, the founding president of the San Antonio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic RelaďÔòëĉ Ș 6eșȅ §ą´ áĉ the barrier between political and social change in our city. “I am a born activist,” she said. We agreed with someone who also serves on the San Antonio Interreligious Council and Texas Media Empowerment Project. We agreed with the founder of the San Antonio Muslim Council and member of the San Antonio Council for International Visitors. Agreed with someone who served on the FBI Regional Advisory Council and was selected to serve on the board of the San Antonio Mayors Commission under Mayor Garza. Lastly, we agreed with someone who publishes her own Muslim newspaper, Al-Ittihaad Monthly, (largest ê´ąÔ¨ ë KĔĉäÔê ë´ĤĉĂ Ă´ą Ôë n´ĩ ĉșȊ Ò ď ®ò´ĉ äȜäďďÔÒ ® mean? Unity. The activism Sarwat applies with CAIR stands for all. All women, men, Americans, and Muslims. We’ve all heard this line from the United States pledge of allegiance: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” FOR ALL. Not for one, nor for none, but for all. Sarwat withstands harassments and attempted assaults in San Antonio. She mentions being followed by cars and someone shooting at her home with paintballs. Sarwats’ dedication to CAIR is not only powerful, but life changing. Her ongoing actions in San Antonio empower communities to become one. Born and raised in Pakistan, she moved to the United States,
38 | APRIL / MAY 2017 | ÔëĸĔ´ë¨´ĉ Ȋ¨òê
where Sarwat’s strong-willed activism attitude sprang into action. 4´ą ķąĉď ¨ď Ĥ ĉ ďòĤ ą® ďÒ´ ´ä®´ąäĪȏ Ò´ą ¨ďÔģÔĉê ĉď ąď´® Ôë ëĔąĉing homes and hospitals, after she studied clinical nutrition in Wisconsin. College in Wisconsin was only the beginning—Texas came next. Today, Sarwat has lived in San Antonio for twenďĪȜķģ´ Ī´ ąĉȊ ĔąÔëÅ ďÒ ď ďÔê´ȅ ĉÒ´ ą´¨´Ôģ´® ĉ´¨òë® ê ĉď´ąȧĉ degree in nutrition from the University of the Incarnate Word. She told us about her experiences before and after 9/11. Before 9/11, Sarwat did not wear her hijab (Muslim woman’s ďą ®ÔďÔòë ä Ò´ ®ĉ¨ ąÄșȊ Äď´ą ǾȐǶǶȅ i ąĤ ď ą´¨´Ôģ´® ĂÒòë´ ¨ ääĉ from Muslim women, expressing that she did not know what it felt like to be Muslim in America. Who could foresee what was to come? Sarwat decided to go out in public wearing the hijab and said, “It was not because my religion says to put it on—it was for me.” Soon, Sarwat received hatred and disrespect. September 11, 2001, instilled unquestionable fear in Americans. Yet, fear was also instilled in the Muslim community. After experiencing such hatred within her daily commute, Sarwat continues to wear the hijab. After all this, her accomplishment is her supportive family— her husband and two children. She said, “Whatever the need is, do that. Whatever the need is, get up and do it.”
I AM A BORN ACTIVIST. “When it’s time to recharge,” we asked, “what’s on your nightstand?” i ąĤ ď ëĉĤ´ą´®ȅ ȤnÒ´ dĔą ë ȘBòą ëșȅ ďÒ´ ą´äÔÅÔòĔĉ ď´ĩď òÄ Islam.” After the interview, we saw a woman of power. A woman of devotion. A woman of heritage. A women of purity. Yes, a born activist all right.