Enas (left) and Houda (right)
Houda al-Habash was born into a large, educated Sunni Muslim family in Damascus, Syria. One of 10 brothers and sisters, she knew from an early age that she wanted to become a da'ia, or caller, in the Islamic faith. Houda was educated at a well-known Islamic school in Damascus, the Abu Nour Institute. She started her Quran school at Al-Zahra Mosque in 1982 when she was only 18 years old. She also ran the summer Quran school and led biweekly lectures at the mosque for the women in her neighborhood for 30 years. She is married to Samir al-Khaldi, a businessman, and they have three children. In early 2012, Houda and her family left Damascus due to the growing political unrest. They are now living in the Arabian Peninsula.
Enas al-Khaldi, Houda's daughter, is a recent graduate of the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, where she studied international relations and political science. She will be traveling to the United States in summer 2012 to participate in a seminar on the Quran in the modern world at Princeton University.