Woman Abdel-Halim, Aziza

Academic and Islamic community leader

Written by Shurlee Swain, Australian Catholic University

Aziza Abdel-Halim was born in Egypt where she qualified as a teacher, married and had two children before migrating to Australia in the early 1970s.

In her new country she became an academic, teaching and researching in the areas of language and culture. The founder and president of the Muslim Women's National Network, she has become a leading spokesperson for her community, and in 2004 served on Prime Minister Howard's Muslim Community Reference Group.

She has used her leadership position to inform the Australian Muslim community and Australian society generally of the ways in which women 'have suffered from the misinterpretation of certain verses of the Koran and the misapplication of certain aspects of sharia law (Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August 2005). In her book, Did You Know? she set out to clear the common misconceptions about Australian Muslim women.

Abdel-Halim defines her approach to leadership within the context of 'the teachings and spirit of Islam: submission to the One and Only God; that faith and action must go together; that selflessness and work to help others is the best way to help humanity, and in helping humanity you are achieving the highest degree of happiness yourself, basking in God's light and pleasure' (Mosaic website).

Abdel-Halim had received many awards for her community service, including the Order of Australia Medal in 2005.

Published Resources


  • Abdel-Halim, Aziza, Did You Know?: Refuting Rigid Interpretations Concerning the Position of Women in Islam and Muslims' Interaction with Non-Muslims, Muslim Women's National Network of Australia Incorporated, 2008. Details

Book Sections

  • Abdel-Halim, Aziza, 'Women in Islam', in Thiering, Barbara (ed.), Deliver us from evil, Australian Council of Churches, Sydney, New South Wales, 1977, pp. 71-78. Details

Newspaper Articles

Online Resources

See also