SAARAH HAMEED AHMED: INDIA’S FIRST FEMALE MUSLIM PILOT

Just like Myriam Adnani, who is Europe’s first female Muslim pilot, Saarah Hameed Ahmed (25) became the first female Muslim pilot in India, breaking the misunderstood stereotype of Muslim women in India.

Hameed has been flying a commercial aircraft for more than 18 months and she is currently the only Muslim woman to be chosen in the aviation sector out of 600 women already employed. Sarah grew up in Bengaluru, Karnataka, where most women are staying at home as housewives or mothers.
In 2007, she enrolled in flight school in the US, and considered herself lucky to have been given a visa.

“I just love the look on people’s faces when they discover I am Muslim,” said Saarah, who has been flying commercial aircraft Spicejet airlines for over two years.

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“Initially none of us encouraged her. In our community girls don’t usually take up professions where they have to stay away from home and live in hotels without an escort,” confesses her father Hameed Hussain Ahmed, a professional photographer. When Saarah showed no signs of relenting, he spoke to his friend Atif Fareed, who is a senior pilot in the US. “Fareed told me that I should consider myself lucky because most Muslim girls don’t even dream of flying. If he hadn’t convinced me, I might have made the blunder of killing Saarah’s dreams,” he says.

Sarah’s mother, Naseema Ahmed, says she never had any doubts about sending her to the US. Her proudest moment, she says, was when a group of Muslim girls surrounded Saarah at a wedding and started asking her for tips to become a pilot.

Inspired by her, two Muslim women from Hyderabad and Kashmir are also undergoing training to get commercial pilot’s license. Yes the sky’s the limit for these motivated women.

Source: Hindustan Times

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