Saarah Hameed Ahmed, India’s only female Muslim pilot has urged women that they should not let the ‘community’ kill their dreams and they should pursue them with full confidence and hard work.
The Bengaluru girl is the only known Muslim among the 600-odd women pilots employed in the Indian aviation sector.
“I just love the look on people’s faces when they discover that I am a Muslim,” she said.
Saarah, who is a successful pilot now, was chosen as a commercial pilot by SpiceJet. But the journey for her was not so easy. She faced lot of problems because of Islamophobia since she was enrolled for training in 2007 at the age of 18.
“Don’t fret over what the community thinks of you. And don’t let them kill your dreams,” said Saarah Hameed Ahmed, according to Hindustan Times.
And it was not just outside, she also faced the confrontation at home over her decision to join the aviation sector.
In the beginning she was not encouraged by anyone. In her community girls usually don’t take up professions like this where they have to stay away from home and live in hotels.
Hameed Hussain Ahmed, the father of Saarah said:
“My friend told me that I am lucky. If he hadn’t convinced me, I might have not allowed Saarah to go for this profession.”
In 2007, when she was just 18, Saarah was enrolled with a flying school in the US.
“Those days most Muslim students were being denied US visas. When she got the visa without any trouble I saw it as a final message from God.”
Besides Saarah, two other Muslim pilots are making their way to the aviation industry in India. Ayesha Aziz, 18, is an aspiring pilot from Baramulla, Kashmir, and she has already obtained a basic flying license. Fatima Salva Syeda, 26, is a licensed commercial pilot. But she has to qualify additional training before she can be a professional pilot.