Posted by: HijaBella | January 29, 2009

Breaking Through

Salaaam sisters, and another succesful Muslim woman – do you know Famile Arslan?

When Famile Arslan showed up for her first day of work, the receptionist pointed her toward the broom closet. “‘The cleaning supplies are over there,'” Arslan recalls being told. “I had to say, ‘No, I’m not the cleaner. I’m the lawyer.'” In fairness to the receptionist, Arslan was making history that morning, as the first attorney to wear a hijab in the Netherlands. Ten years on, she has her own practice in the Hague. Her name’s on the door, her cat Hussein pads around and a veiled assistant fields phone calls. “People keep telling me how successful I am,” says Arslan. “But I’m not all that successful. Had I not been a migrant woman in a hijab, I could have gone much further.” Still, when younger Muslims ask Arslan how to climb the professional ladder, she’s optimistic. “If you think strategically, this is a great time to be a European Muslim,” she argues. “Everyone’s focused on us, so it’s an opportunity — if you take it.” […..]


Here is a simple biograpy with some interesting facts about her:

Famile ARSLAN is the founder and president of Arslan Lawyers in The Hague, Netherlands. Her firm specializes in family law, immigration law, housing and labour, and social insurance cases, and Ms. Arslan is the first lawyer in the Netherlands to wear a hijab. Previously, Ms. Arslan worked for five years in the Immigration Department of the Netherlands Ministry of Justice, where she handled asylum cases. In addition to her work as a lawyer, she is a member of the Board of the Foundation Islam and Citizenship, which focuses on the relationship between norms, values, and citizenship, and the role Islamic organizations can play in this debate, and is the chairwoman of the Commission for Complaints at Islamic schools. In addition, Ms. Arslan is involved in establishing a platform at the European level on dialogue between Muslims and Jews, and is currently forming her own Foundation, which will provide courses on communication, empowerment, assertiveness, and media training. She currently in the process of building a think tank to create a platform to give Muslim women a voice on social, economic, and political issues. Ms. Arslan holds an M.A. in international law. […..]


I’m blessed to see how Muslim women continue to scale the heights of control and influence. The only point I disagree with, needles to say, is that her cat is called ‘Hussein’, the name of the grandson of our Prophet Muhammad (saas). It is only mentioned en passant , but it definitely goes too far. But yet, what’s your personal opinion about Famile Arslan?



  1. This is PHENOMENAL masha’Allah. I’m a Canadian law student who also wears the hijab and I was just BLOWN away by this woman’s courage and intelligence. I loved it when she told the receptionist “No I’m the lawyer”. I think this woman is beyond amazing masha’Allah and I wish her continued success in representing hijabis everywhere!

  2. Thanks for your comment TJ,
    I hope that you will be also successful as a hijabian lawyer one day. May Allah help you to realize your dreams.

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