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Muslim success stories across Europe are dominating the headlines

2016 has already been dominated by European Muslim success stories, taking social media by storm

Nabila Pathan

Published: Updated:

The year maybe far from over, but 2016 has already been dominated by European Muslim success stories, taking social media by storm.

The latest addition to the growing list of Muslim personalities is the Eurovision Song contest winner - #YesWeKhan was trending as thousands took to the microblogging site to express sentiments of excitement and adulation over the historic win.

Nadiya Hussain, the Great British Bake Off winner from 2015, has continued to generate Twitter fans across the continent as she baked a cake for the British Queen's 90th birthday, was commissioned with her own TV series called "Chronicles of Nadiya" and news of her first cook book "Nadiya's Kitchen."

From cooking heroes to sporting ones, April was dominated by Twitter celebrations for Riyad Mahrez, the 25 year old Leicester City player winning the PFA player of the year award. Being the first African player to win the award, the Algerian midfielder sparked a buzz online with many citing his journey from modest beginnings in France to becoming one of the most sought-after football players in Europe.

Many Twitter users across Europe have been keen to connect with the successful personalities that have contributed to politics, cuisine, football and music with their Muslim backgrounds, proving that mainstream European culture and identity can be inclusive of Muslims.

"In a perfect world, the faith of a TV cooking show star, an athlete or even a major politician would be irrelevant. But in our deeply imperfect — and, yes, Islamophobic — world, it isn’t," wrote British political journalist Mehdi Hasan in a New York Times piece titled "Sadiq Khan and the future of Europe".

The list of successful Muslim personalities have inspired a tone of optimism as observed by Maha Akeel, the director of the Information Department at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

"The recent examples of Muslims making their mark in the west are exciting to hear about especially during these times when there is a rise in Islamophobia, suspicion and hostility towards Muslims to dispel negative views of Muslims and illustrate that Muslims are part of Europe and contribute to its diversity and coexistence, but they should be seen within a wider picture."

She goes on to add, "While it's wonderful to celebrate and recognize Muslim success stories in the West, we should keep in mind that these successes and contributions to European culture and society are not new or recent and definitely not few where they might be thought of as exceptions."