Yassmin Abdel-Magied

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Yassmin Abdel-Magied
-5 - Yassmin Abdel-Magied.jpg
Abdel-Magied in 2016
Born (1991-03-03) 3 March 1991 (age 28)
NationalitySudanese Australian (Dual)[1]
EducationBachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours)
Alma materUniversity of Queensland
OccupationMechanical engineer

Yassmin Abdel-Magied (born 3 March 1991, Khartoum) is a Sudanese-Australian[2] mechanical engineer,[3] social media blogger and memoirist. In late 2017, Abdel-Magied relocated to London, England, to partake in what she called the "Aussie rite of passage".[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Abdel-Magied was born in Khartoum, Sudan. However, her parents moved to Brisbane, Australia, as skilled migrants when she was 18 months old in late 1992[6][7] after an Islamic military coup toppled the democratically elected government.[8][9][10] Abdel-Magied's father, Midhat Abdel-Magied,[11] completed a PhD in electrical engineering at Imperial College, London[6] and subsequently studied information technology in Australia. Yassmin's mother, Faiza El-Higzi,[11] was a qualified architect in Sudan,[12][13] who now holds postgraduate degrees across various disciplines.[14] Yassmin has a younger brother.[10]


According to her memoir, Abdel-Magied attended primary school at the Islamic College of Brisbane[15] and the independent Christian high school John Paul College, at which there was no policy against wearing a hijab.[16] She went on to study mechanical engineering at the University of Queensland.

Youth Without Borders[edit]

As high school students in 2007, Abdel-Magied and two others founded "Youth Without Borders" in Australia.[17] She was subsequently named 2007 Young Australian Muslim of the Year[18] and continued as chairperson of Youth Without Borders until 2016.[19][17] In the intervening years, Abdel-Magied participated in various youth groups and committees. She was named 2010 Young Queenslander of the Year[20] and 2015 Queensland Young Australian of the Year.[21] "Youth Without Borders" is not to be confused with its namesake, a social project formed by Chilean students in 2003.

Mechanical engineering[edit]

In 2011, Abdel-Magied graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with First-Class Honours from the University of Queensland.[22] From 2012 until 2016, she worked for multinational engineering companies based in Australia.[23][24][25] In 2013, Abdel-Magied wrote a journal article about working "On the rigs" in the Griffith Review.[26]


In 2016, Abdel-Magied published her memoir Yassmin's Story: Who Do You Think I Am? (Penguin Random House, Australia) ISBN 978-0857986153.[27] In due course, she was invited to speak on Australian radio and television programs.

Council for Australian-Arab Relations[edit]

After Abdel-Magied was named Queensland Young Australian of the Year in 2015, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop appointed her to the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR).[28] In late 2016, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia) (DFAT) sent Abdel-Magied, as a CAAR board member, to the Middle East to promote Australia. Abdel-Magied visited Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Kuwait, Jordan, Ramallah, Cairo and Sudan. Attorney-General of Australia George Brandis explained the purpose, rationale and cost of the tour, upon being grilled by One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts: "Yassmin Abdel-Magied visited a number of countries in the Middle East to promote Australia as an open, innovative, democratic and diverse nation. She met youth representatives, scientists, entrepreneurs, women's groups and others. The visit also promoted female participation in male dominated industries such as the oil and gas sector, and featured targeted engagements with young women considering careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths."[29] In July 2017, Abdel-Magied announced that she would be relocating to London to partake in what she called the "Aussie rite of passage".[4] On 9 August 2017, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop announced that Abdel-Magied had been replaced on the board of the Council for Australian-Arab Relations.[30]


Sharia law[edit]

In June 2016 on the ABC TV program The Drum, Abdel-Magied said that Sharia law "allows for multiple interpretations... it's about mercy, it's about kindness".[31][32] In February 2017, Abdel-Magied was a panelist on the ABC Q&A program where she was challenged about her views on Sharia law. She said "Islam to me is the most feminist religion. We got equal rights well before the Europeans. We don't take our husbands' last names because we ain't their property."[33] On the same program, Abdel-Magied stated in response to another panelist, Jacqui Lambie, that Sharia law is as simple as "me praying five times day," and that it says in Islam, "you follow the law of the land on which you are on".[33] The comments about feminism and Sharia law caused outrage in some quarters.[34][35]

ANZAC Day[edit]

In 2015, Abdel-Magied contributed as a member of the Federal ANZAC Centenary Commemoration Youth Working Group.[36] Two years later, on ANZAC Day 25 April 2017, Abdel-Magied posted "LEST.WE.FORGET. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine...)" on her personal Facebook page. The phrase "Lest we forget" is commonly used in war remembrance services and commemorative occasions in English-speaking countries, in particular Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day.[37] It is used to remember fallen military personnel as a mark of respect. Abdel-Magied's words in parentheses referenced refugees held in detention on Manus Island and Nauru, and injustices against Palestinians. The comment was criticised by many on social media as well as Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton. Abdel-Magied deleted the part in parentheses soon after posting it, commenting: "It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly."[38] Australian Muslim leaders expressed varying views on the controversy, from support to denouncing her remarks as not reflective of the views of all Muslims.[39][40][41]

The following day, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce suggested the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) should take action against Abdel-Magied.[42] The ABC argued that Abdel-Magied's personal opinions did not represent those of the national broadcaster.[43] One month later, on 24 May 2017, the Saturday morning ABC News human interest television program that Abdel-Magied hosted, Australia Wide,[44] was cancelled as part of a sweeping restructure at the ABC. As well as programming changes, as many as two hundred jobs were reportedly being slashed in order to reinvest $50 million a year back into regional and online content.[45]

In April 2017, Senator Eric Abetz formally asked Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to exercise her powers to sack Abdel-Magied from her position on the board of the Council for Australian-Arab Relations, which is run by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but Bishop declined.[46] In July, Abdel-Magied announced that she would be relocating to London.[47]

Media appearances[edit]

In November 2017, Abdel-Magied compared Australia to an "abusive boyfriend" in her first appearance on Australian television since moving to London.[48] Other media activities in Australia include: Radio Triple J[49] / Radio National,[50] ABC TV Australia Wide[51] / Hard Chat (2016–2017)[52] Podcast : F1 Racing (2016),[53] and SBS TV The Truth About Racism (2017)[54]


In December 2014, Abdel-Magied presented a fourteen-minute TED talk What does my headscarf mean to you?[18][55] Four years later, she presented six six-minute episodes of an Islamic headwear fashion program on ABC iview.[56] NSW Liberals state executive member Alex Dore and Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi criticised the ABC for its choice of host, while Liberal senator Eric Abetz argued that this form of headwear is a compulsory symbol of oppression.[56]

Acting career[edit]

In April 2018, Abdel-Magied made her acting debut in the SBS TV series Homecoming Queens in her Australian hometown of Brisbane.[57] The Sydney Morning Herald described Abdel-Magied's onscreen character as "a conceited social media lifestyle guru".[58]:para 10


  1. ^ Alana Schetzer (31 January 2017). "Travel ban exemption promised but has the damage to Australia's dual nationals been done?". SBS. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  2. ^ Schetzer, Alana (31 January 2017). "Travel ban exemption promised but has the damage to Australia's dual nationals been done?". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Yassmin Abdel-Magied - IMechE". www.imeche.org. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Yassmin's gap year". News Corp Australia. 3 July 2017.
  5. ^ Rudd, Matilda (10 September 2017). "'It's a beautiful day for migrating': Yassmin Abdel-Magied leaves Australia for the UK - after branding herself the country's 'most hated Muslim' for her Anzac Day post". Daily Mail Australia. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b Abdel-Magied, Yassmin (2016). "1". Yassmin's Story: Who do you Think I am? (paperback). North Sydney: Penguin Random House. p. 7. ISBN 9780857986153.
  7. ^ Abdel-Magied, Yassmin (2016). "1". Yassmin's Story: Who do you Think I am? (paperback). North Sydney: Penguin Random House. p. 30. ISBN 9780857986153.
  8. ^ "MEET: YASSMIN ABDEL-MAGIED". THE PIN. 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Books". Yassmin Abdel-Magied.
  10. ^ a b "Yassmin's family in early 1995 after arriving as one of first Sudanese families in Brisbane three years earlier. (L-R) Faiza el-Higzi, brother Yasseen Abdel-Magied, Midhat Abdel-Magied and Yassmin Abdel-Magied". ABC News. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  11. ^ a b Fyfe, Melissa (18 August 2017). "Yassmin Abdel-Magied on becoming 'Australia's most publicly hated Muslim'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  12. ^ Flitton, Daniel (3 January 2011). "Fired up to be the first female, Muslim F1 driver". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  13. ^ Abdel-Magied, Yassmin (2016). "1". Yassmin's Story: Who do you Think I am? (paperback). North Sydney: Penguin Random House. p. 17. ISBN 9780857986153.
  14. ^ Faiza El Higzi's journey from Sudan to modern Australia. Conversations with Richard Fidler. ABC. 7 August 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  15. ^ Abdel-Magied, Yassmin (2016). "2: Early Days". Yassmin's Story: Who do you Think I am? (paperback). North Sydney: Penguin Random House. p. 38. ISBN 9780857986153.
  16. ^ Abdel-Magied, Yassmin (2016). "6: High School". Yassmin's Story: Who do you Think I am? (paperback). North Sydney: Penguin Random House. p. 97. ISBN 9780857986153.
  17. ^ a b "History - Youth Without Borders".
  18. ^ a b "Yassmin Abdel-Magied". Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, University of Queensland. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  19. ^ "Meet the Board of Directors: Yassmin Abdel-Magied". youthwithoutborders.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Outstanding Suncorp Queenslanders of the Year revealed". Queensland Government Media Statement. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Yassmin's Story". Australian of the Year Awards. 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  22. ^ "UQ alumnus awarded Young Australian of the Year for Queensland". Alumni & Community. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  23. ^ Abdel-Magied, Yassmin. "Yassmin Abdel-Magied". LinkedIn. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  24. ^ Engineers, Institution of Mechanical. "Australian YM Profile- Yassmin Abdel-Magied". nearyou.imeche.org. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  25. ^ https://gradaustralia.com.au/graduate-employers/shell/graduate-stories/yassmin-abdel-magied
  26. ^ "On the Rigs". Griffith Review. April 2013. ISBN 9781922079978. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  27. ^ "Yassmin's Story: Who Do You Think I Am?". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Council for Australian-Arab Relations Board Members". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Senate Debates: Questions without Notice, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Open Australia. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  30. ^ "Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied AXED from board of Council of Australian-Arab Relations". Daily Mail Australia. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  31. ^ Hall, Eleanor (15 June 2016). "The Drum Wednesday June 15". The Drum. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  32. ^ "On Sharia law". The Drum. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  33. ^ a b "Blackouts, Childcare, and Migration". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 13 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  34. ^ "Online petition calls for ABC to sack Yassmin Abdel-Magied". The Daily Telegraph. 26 April 2017.
  35. ^ Palin, Megan (21 February 2017), "Thousands call for ABC to sack TV host over 'pro sharia law' comments", news.com.au.
  36. ^ "Yassmin Abdel-Magied at the 34th John Paul College Speech Night". John Paul College. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  37. ^ "ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee". Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  38. ^ Rawsthorne, Sally (25 April 2017). "ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied forced to delete Anzac Day post asking Australians to think about Manus Island and Palestine". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  39. ^ "'White Christians have no compassion' says Muslim businessman in support of besieged ABC presenter". Yahoo News. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  40. ^ "Muslim sheikh says ABC should sack Yassmin Abdel-Magied after 'disrespectful' Anzac Day remarks". Yahoo News. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  41. ^ Loussikian, Kylay, Miles Godfrey & Sally Rawsthorne (26 April 2017). "Yassmin Abdel-Magied: ABC activist's vile anti-Diggers remark slammed as 'deeply reprehensible'". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. Retrieved 27 April 2017.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  42. ^ "Yassmin Abdel-Magied: ABC can't sweep presenter's Anzac Day controversy under the carpet, Joyce says". ABC News. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  43. ^ Carmody, Broede (26 April 2017). "ABC stands by Yassmin Abdel-Magied after Facebook post sparks Anzac Day outrage". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  44. ^ "Australia Wide". ABC TV. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  45. ^ Carmody, Broede (25 May 2017). "ABC axes Yassmin Abdel-Magied's Australia Wide program". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  46. ^ Chessell, James (8 May 2017). "Julie Bishop resists Eric Abetz's call to sack Yassmin Abdel-Magied from her position on the board of the Council for Australian-Arab Relations". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  47. ^ "Yassmin's gap year". News Corp Australia. 3 July 2017.
  48. ^ "Yassmin Abdel-Magied compares Australia to abusive boyfriend". The Australian. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  49. ^ "Mornings with Zan". 24 October 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  50. ^ "Life Matters". 1 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  51. ^ "Australia Wide".
  52. ^ Guthrie, Susannah (21 December 2017). "Yassmin Abdel-Magied has a controversial Hard Chat with Tom Gleeson". The New Daily. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  53. ^ "Motor Mouth". www.abc.net.au.
  54. ^ "Face Up To Racism: What you need to know". SBS. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  55. ^ "What does my headscarf mean to you?". TEDxSouthBank. December 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  56. ^ a b Stevens, Kylie (10 April 2018). "Yassmin Abdel-Magied returns to the ABC with a fashion show about hijabs - but conservative MPs are quick to slam the taxpayer-funded program for promoting the 'oppressive symbol'". Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  57. ^ "Controversial author Yassmin Abdel-Magied takes on new role". news.com. 2 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  58. ^ McManus, Bridget (30 March 2018). "Free-to-air pick: Homecoming Queens ticks all the boxes". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 April 2018.