Sabah Fakhoury: Breaking The Cycle Of Oppression

Sabah Fakhoury tells us about how her mother and grandmother were restricted from education and how their stories inspired and motivated her in the pursuit of knowledge. Sabah began questioning the authenticity of history which was devoid of the contributions of women, and encourages women to decide how they want to live, rather than being streamlined into the demands of society.

This story was recorded in partnership with MALA and StoryCorps at the Arab American Museum. This story was produced by Sydney Jarol through StoryCorps Chicago.


“My grandmother was illiterate. Upon her death pad, I remember going to visit her and reading her the Quran, and she would quiet because I know her read the Quran but she couldn’t. She was a developed Muslim who prayed everyday of her life but yet never knew how to read Quran. She even don’t know sign her name. My own mother who came here when she was ten years old with her father and her two brothers, was actually the mother of the family until her mom and the rest of her family could be brought here from Lebanon . After high school my mom married and then when she tried to return the school she was actually stopped. By then I was in mid 20s and I remember my uncle, her oldest brother, coming to the house and telling her she could not go to school. A grown woman of five children was start attending a local college and she always wanted to continue her education. When I looked to my mother’s story and my grandmother’s story, I vowed I wasn’t get my education. When I graduated high school at age eighteen, I was given a choice either get married or get a job. I choose a career. It wasn’t until after I worked 7 years in advertising then I decided to return to school to complete my B.A. in Middle East to North African studies. I studied the history but the history was written by men. Where were women? So I did my Master’s. I chose my own program and I did women studies, Islamic law and I wanted to know what the role of women was in Islam. What I found and what I liked every woman to know is that when you become education you learn your God given rights. We have to empower ourselves to make our own life choices whether marriage, the choice of our mate will be, children when we will have them, if we will have them, our careers, our contributions to the society and what are divine purposes. I am sub off a query. I am empowered. I am a creature of God and I am a global citizen.”

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