As much as we may try, we cannot actually see into the future. Boo.
Having said that, the prospect of 2018 has inspired us to look ahead; to boldly predict where few have predicted before; to grab Father Time by the scruff of the neck, stare him directly in the eye and demand ‘who is going to be a big deal in 2018!?’
Sorry, we’re getting a bit carried away. But here’s the thing: we are highly skilled in seeking out talented Muslims who are doing brilliant things, and telling you all about them. Therefore, we feel we are as well placed as anyone to predict which Muslims will make a splash at some point hence from this very moment…right….
Here are four awesome Muslims in fields of fashion, sport, politics and the arts, who we reckon are going to have a big year in 2018.
Muna Jama made headlines earlier this year when she wore a kaftan during the swimsuit round of Miss Universe Great Britain. Her outfit choice at Miss Universe made waves across social media, but when we spoke to her we discovered she had passions far beyond pageants. Jama is currently working to tackle illegal migration from her home country of Somalia, and we’re sure she’ll become even more notable next year for pushing this cause. As she told us:
‘We want to help tackle natural disasters so that people don’t have to turn to illegal migration, we want to provide education and provide happiness…Most of these people don’t want to leave home, they don’t want to leave where they love. They just need reasons to stay.’
In July of this year, Easah Suliman scored the opening goal for England in the match that would see them crowned winners of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship. It was the least the Aston Villa defender deserved, having been a standout star in what looks to be a promising generation of English footballers.
Suliman made his first team debut for Villa back in August. If he continues his ascent in the senior game, he could have a 2018 that sees him become one of the more prominent British Pakistani Muslims in football – of which there are very few.
Fortunately, he knows someone who should be able to advise him on handling the pressure: ‘Moeen [Ali], who has been playing the recent Test matches for England, is another British Pakistani Muslim from around my area as well,’ Suliman told the FA. ‘He’s given me a lot of advice and encouraged me to keep going and carry on doing what I’m doing.
‘He wants me to show the younger ones around my area that they can make it in professional sports, it doesn’t matter what culture you are, the opportunities are there and we can achieve our dreams.’
Yumna Al-Arashi is a photographer from Washington D.C. In her Twitter bio she describes herself as ‘Yemeni, Egyptian, American’, and these roots inspire an incredible visual scope in her work
Many of her photos portray women. When we wrote about Al-Arashi soon after #MuslimWomensDay earlier this year, we described them as: ‘women in the West, the Middle East; women working, women at home; women in traditional clothes, women in none at all.’
While the subjects change along with the scenery, the women in Al-Arashi’s work always exhibit a real feeling of power. In the past year, a number of big name brands have brought Yumna on board to align their visuals with her own unmatched eye.
These collaborations, along with her independent work, are sure to further flourish. When you see a photo in 2018 that you can’t look away from, it may very well be shot by Yumna Al-Arashi.
We doubt you’ve heard of Abdul El-Sayed, but that may change come Autumn 2018. Granted, that’s a long way off, but if the politician wins the Michigan gubernatorial election, he’ll become the first Muslim state governor in the United States.
This may seem like NBD to anyone who voted for Sadiq Khan, but the implications are relatively massive. It won’t just represent huge cultural progress, it could also have a significant effect on the next US Presidential election: El-Sayed is a Democrat. Michigan is a Republican state.
He’s also in with a real chance. He’s raised over $1.5m while refusing corporate donations and his CV is, to put it simply, ridiculous: El-Sayed is a doctor, a Rhodes Scholar, a former professor at an Ivy League university (where he wrote the textbook for his class) and he served as the director of the health department in Detroit. And he’s only 32.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s drawn comparisons to Barack Obama, although he’s keen to carve his own path. If he does so successfully, it may go some way to changing the most powerful country in the world.