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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Interview with Founder Na'ima B. Robert

Name, location, title
Na'ima B. Robert, Egypt (business based in UK), Editor and Publisher

What is the purpose of SISTERS?
We are filling a gaping void in today's market: the need for Islamic information and inspiration that is rooted in real life and that celebrates our identity as Muslim women who are striving to practise Islam. It also serves as a way to address issues that are important to Muslim women while providing employment to our writers and staff and extra income for members of our SISTERS Club (direct sellers to the community)

What makes SISTERS unique?
We are one of the few magazines that addresses Islamic life holistically. We are dedicated to inspiring our readers to be the best they can be spiritually, intellectually, physically and emotionally. We look at deen (religion) issues but we also look at the other aspects of our lives as Muslim women: food, fashion, shopping etc. Our approach to life is devout but fun!

How has SISTERS grown since it was first launched?
SISTERS started with 2 staff members and a design team, publishing online only. We have since grown to a team of 10 people based all around the world, have made the move into print and are sponsoring a nationwide writing competition for Muslim children, as well as expanding into South Africa insha Allah (God willing).

What is the target audience?
Any Muslim woman with an Islamic awareness of some kind will find something relevant and meaningful in SISTERS. But our overall target audience is English-speaking Muslimahs around the world.

How often is SISTERS published and printed?
4 times a year

Where can we get copies of SISTERS?

Internationally, the SISTERS website is the best place to get copies and purchase subscriptions (www.sisters-magazine.com). In the UK, SISTERS is available at Islamic bookshops all over the country.

Where do you see SISTERS in five years?

I would like SISTERS to be available everywhere where there are Muslimahs, in local editions where possible, in different languages. I would like the SISTERS website to become a hub for Muslim women to come together to learn, to share and to promote what they are doing.

What other writings have you dealt with? What is your writing background consist of? Are you a writer?
Up until 2005, I was a children's book author, publishing with mainstream multicultural publishers. Then, in 2005 my book 'From My Sisters' Lips' was published by Bantam Press and it was the response to that book that inspired me to create SISTERS. For more information about my other work, please see www.nbrobert.com

Will non Muslims be able to understand when reading Sisters? Explain.
Although SISTERS is written with a Muslim audience in mind, there are many aspects of it that would appeal to a non Muslim woman. If nothing else, it will show any reader that there is more to Muslim women than hijab!

What should non Muslims know about Muslims and Islam?

Whatever you've read or heard, seek the truth for yourself.

How are some ways a non-Muslim can learn about Islam and Muslims?
Read the Qur'an, get to know Muslims. Don't trust everything you read on the Internet or everything you hear on the news.

Were you born and raised a Muslim? Are you a revert? If so, how did you find Islam?
I am a revert and grew up in a non-religious family. I first encountered Islam in Egypt while on tour. It was then that I started asking questions about God, and faith in general. The story of how I became Muslim is fully documented in my book, 'From My Sisters' Lips'.

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