Shabana Shakir-Ahmed, of Mason, is among 10 women being honored by The Enquirer as its Women of the Year honorees.
The Enquirer honors women in the community each year for their commitments to improving the lives of people throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
This year’s honorees will be featured in a special print section in Sunday’s Enquirer. They will also be honored at a luncheon on April 26.
Shakir-Ahmed is being honored for her work in breaking down stereotypes and promoting diversity.
Born in Chennai, India, Shakir-Ahmed has lived in the United States since she was 4. She attended college, got an MBA and settled with her family in Mason.
She and two friends began Cincinnati Muslim Women in 2008 with the goal of addressing other people’s lack of understanding about Muslims – feelings Shakir-Ahmed felt acutely in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
She became active in Muslim Mothers Against Violence following the London bombings in 2005 and volunteers at the Islamic Center of Cincinnati in West Chester Township, where she frequently gives school groups tours.
Shakir-Ahmed is also active in the El-Sewedy International Academy at the Islamic Center, which her two daughters attend.
Her son, who is autistic, attends Mason City Schools, but Shakir-Ahmed wanted to ensure that he and other children with disabilities could also participate at the Islamic Center’s weekend school and sought assistance from Arc of Southwestern Ohio to build more inclusive classrooms.
For more on Shakir-Ahmed, check out Enquirer staff writer Polly Campbell’s profile on her online or read more about her and other inspiring women in Sunday’s Enquirer.
More about Shabana
Birthplace: Chennai, India
Family: Husband Aman Ahmed is a gerontologist, children Zara, 13; Salah, 11; and Maariyah, 10.
Latest project: Working on the garden by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, meant to highlight and honor people from all walks of life
Best advice: Always try to read the obituaries every morning. … Sounds morbid but it really helps you value your life and makes you feel blessed that you have another day to make a difference!