Rabat - A French woman of Moroccan origin won the international “Woman of Courage” prize - awarded annually by the U.S. Department of State - in recognition of her work spreading the spirit of tolerance and combating extremism.
Rabat – A French woman of Moroccan origin won the international “Woman of Courage” prize – awarded annually by the U.S. Department of State – in recognition of her work spreading the spirit of tolerance and combating extremism.
Latifa Ibn Ziaten, received the prize along with 15 other women this year during an award ceremony held at the U.S. capital city on Tuesday.
Ibn Ziaten is known in France – by both Muslims and non-Muslims – as the mother of one of the French soldiers killed by terrorist Mohammed Merah during a series of shootings in Toulouse and Montauban in March 2012. Merah – a French criminal of Algerian descent – killed 7 soldiers, some of whom were Muslim, and injured five others due to “anti semitic motivations.”
After the death of her son, Ibn Ziaten dedicated her time to preventing and alleviating the roots of terrorism present in French suburbs and slums, as well as mosques and prisons.
In honor of her son, she founded the Imad Association for Youth and Peace and “uses it as a platform to help young people in troubled communities develop positive identities and a sense of responsibility,” according to the U.S. Department of State.
Malaysian transgender rights activist Nisha Ayub was among the winners, marking the first time the prestigious prize was awarded to a transgender woman.
Ayub runs Malaysian non-governmental organization Justice of Sisters which funds defense cases for transgender women in courts.
In addition, she heads the Seed Foundation, which aids sex workers, transwomen, and HIV/AIDS patients.