Meet Bushra Alawie: A Muslim woman working in the FBI's Detroit office

Posted at 12:09 PM, Sep 16, 2016

Bushra Alawie knew her life calling at a young age.

“I’ve always wanted to give back to the community and be an active member of society,” said Alawie.

Her passion for helping people took her to youth leadership and then to a position with the Army National Guard before she eventually landed at the FBI.

“It was an absolute challenge as an Arab American Muslim woman to serve in the capacity of a civilian contractor with the Army National Guard at a time when we were at war with two Muslim countries, and the same applies to serving in the FBI,” said Alawie.

Full series:

Muslim AMERICAN: Inside a growing Michigan community

Alawie, who has Yemeni roots, now works as a community outreach specialist for the FBI’s Detroit bureau, building trust around law enforcement.

"I get that initial look like, ‘is that really Bushra’ because of my visibly Muslim attire," she said. “Immediately those rumors are dispelled and it’s business as usual.”

Any surprise over her background quickly gives way to an immediate realization: Bushra is just as patriotic and proud of the FBI keeping us safe as she is of the community that raised her.

And she says, she’s not unique in that regard.

“There are thousands of American Muslims who have served our United States armed forces, continue to serve our United States armed forces,” said Alawie. “Their stories remain to be untold.”

Alawie also focuses on another target in her work: Islamophobia.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that despite the challenges that we are facing in the saturation of fear and hate -- that we are moving in the right direction, because of the countless dialogues and communication that we have had within various communities as it relates to law enforcement,” she said.

The FBI in general is part of the solution, says Alawie.

“Our director has incorporated diversity as a core value of the FBI and I think that’s a testament to his leadership… commitment to have folks from diverse backgrounds,” she said. “My contribution is just one of many.”

At the end of the day, Alawie’s story is summed up in one sentence:

“I’m just another American Muslim who loves their country and when duty says to it’s time to serve, they serve. “