This is the first post in a “spotlight” series highlighting other disabled Muslims—that I have discovered through my own research or met in person—to show other disabled Muslims that they are not alone. Today, I’ll be focusing on the comedian Maysoon Zayid.
I discovered Maysoon Zayid late one night about four years ago, when I did a Google search for “celebrities with cerebral palsy”. I clicked on a link that had a list of celebrities with CP, and that list included Maysoon Zayid. Intrigued, I looked her up on YouTube, watched her TED Talk (inserted above), and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Maysoon is particularly special to me because she is the first Muslim female I knew of that had cerebral palsy. For the first time ever, I found someone like me, who had achieved some sort of success and made a name for herself. She had done all the things I was worried about doing because of my CP: going to university, getting a job, getting married, and living on her own. Just knowing that someone like me had done these things was such a confidence booster because that meant I could do them too. I was so inspired by the end of that night that I had to contact her and let her know what she’d done for me. So I sent her email through her website, never in a million years expecting a reply. However, I woke up the next morning with her response in my inbox, and I couldn’t believe my luck. Since following her Facebook page, I’ve noticed that she is very responsive to her fans, and it is clear that she is appreciative of every single one of them. I hope I can meet her one day and thank her for making such a big difference in my life.
Edited to add: I met Maysoon on April 22nd, 2018 at Smile Canada’s tenth annual fundraising gala in Brampton Ontario. It was a dream come true!
Do you know a disabled Muslim I could feature in a spotlight post? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. My next post will be a review of a lecture (Islam and the Disabled) by Sayed Ammar Nakshawani. This lecture is quite long, so if you’d like to watch it before my post comes out, I’ve inserted it below.