Ahmad, Qudsia Khurshid Holozada, 1912-2009
- Existence: 1912 - 2009
Qudsia Ahmad was born on August 5, 1912, in Jerusalem, Palestine, when Palestine was ruled under a British mandate. Her mother was a native-born Palestinian and her father was Turkish. She had five siblings: three sisters and two brothers.
In 1935, Qudsia graduated from a Women’s Training College in Jerusalem. Achieving this level of education was highly unusual for women living in that region during the 1930s. She taught for several years as the headmistress of a British-run girls’ school.
In the 1940’s, Qudsia became the first radio broadcast journalist in Palestine, and was hired as a writer and newsreader for the Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS). Qudsia was well known as a supporter of women’s rights and often covered this topic in her work.
In 1947, Qudsia married Hassan Ahmad. Hassan was born in Palestine but recently returned from a trip to the United States, during which he had become a United States citizen and had developed a dry goods business in northeastern Pennsylvania. Neither of their parents approved of their marriage because Hassan was less educated and from a different social class than Qudsia.
Qudsia became pregnant with her first son shortly after their wedding, and due to rising tensions in the Middle East, she and Hassan decided to move to the United States. They traveled by ocean liner, and Imad-ad-Dean (Dean) Ahmad was born aboard the ship.
After arriving in the United States, Qudsia and Hassan bought a house in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania. Hassan opened a small store called the Venice Shop in Pittston, Pennsylvania, which sold dry goods. Within the first five years of moving to the United States, Qudsia and Hassan had three more sons together; Maher, Malek (Mac), and Hani Ahmad.
One day, when on the bus with her four children, Qudsia met a woman who was a member of the local Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) who told her about the social groups and organizations it offered. This was the start of Qudsia’s extensive involvement in the local community. She joined organizations through the YWCA, as well as the Women of Kiwanis, the PTA, and she began giving frequent talks about Islam and Palestinian culture to groups such as church organizations. Qudsia also often wrote letters to the editor of the local newspaper, usually regarding the conflict between Palestine and Israel.
Family was also an important aspect of Qudsia’s life, and she lived to see three of her sons married and witnessed the births of her five grandchildren: Arlo, Amanda, Abby, Zachary, and Marlee. In 1981, Qudsia’s husband, Hassan Ahmad, died from cancer. Qudsia continued to live alone in the family home, being looked after by her son Malek. She continued to lecture and write until suffering a stroke in 1997 which limited her mobility and made speaking difficult.
Qudsia Ahmad was the last of her siblings to pass away; she died in December 2009, in her home, at the age of eighty-eight. She is buried alongside her husband, Hassan, in the historic cemetery in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania.
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Qudsia Ahmad (1912-2009), born in Palestine, was recognized as a poet and worked as a radio broadcaster for the Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS) before moving to the United States in January 1948. Residing in Forty Fort Pennsylvania, she was an active member of the local community and often lectured about Islam or Palestinian culture to educate the community on these topics.