• Huma Abedin has announced her split from Anthony Weiner (AP)Source: AP
She speaks three languages, grew up in the Middle East and has had Hillary Clinton's ear for the past two decades. She's so much more than the woman who dumped Anthony Weiner.
By
Bianca Soldani

30 Aug 2016 - 2:35 PM  UPDATED 30 Aug 2016 - 2:57 PM

It's been a case of three strikes and you're out for disgraced former politician Anthony Weiner, as his wife and senior Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, revealed she would be leaving him.

Despite her marriage woes playing out in the media over the past five years, 41-year-old Abedin has kept a remarkably cool head while her career has continued to soar. Here's what you may not know about her:

1. She’s a child of immigrants

Born in Michigan in 1976, Abedin is of Indian and Pakistani descent and enjoyed a very multicultural upbringing.
Her parents are academics and at a young age she moved to Saudi Arabia with her family where she attended a British school.

Abedin is fluent in Urdu, Arabic and English, is respected for her expertise on the Middle East, and in an open letter in response to Donald Trump’s anti-Islamic rhetoric describes herself as a “proud Muslim”.

2. She started working for Clinton at age 19

Abedin has had the ear of the Democratic presidential nominee for over two decades. She began her political career as a White House intern while completing a Bachelor of Arts in the mid 1990s. She was assigned to then First Lady Clinton’s office and has hardly left the politician’s side since.

During Clinton’s successful 2000 bid to be elected to the Senate, Abedin worked as her campaign aide. Eight years later, she was again on the campaign trail with Clinton, this time as her travelling chief of staff and “body woman” or personal assistant, as Clinton vied for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

In 2009 Abedin became deputy to chief of staff while Clinton served as US Secretary of State, and she is now the Clinton campaign’s vice-chair.

Vogue magazine describes her as the “engine at the centre of Clinton’s well-run machine, crucial and yet largely out of sight” in an editorial published earlier this month, and she’s widely considered to be Clinton’s closest aide.

3. She has been highly praised by John McCain

Abedin’s resume is impressive to say the least. Apart from her extensive experience in politics, she has worked for the Clinton Foundation, as a private consultant and written for a scholarly journal. All of which contributed to her making Time magazine’s 40 under 40 list alongside former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, in 2010.

Along with her many accomplishments, Abedin’s life in the public arena has also attracted scandal and in 2012 was at the centre of unsubstantiated conspiracy accusations.

A handful of Republicans attempted to link Abedin’s family to the Muslim Brotherhood, but she found support - among many others - in Republican senator John McCain.

The conservative politician, who was a rival of Clinton’s during the 2008 race to the White House, openly praised her in Congress as “an intelligent, upstanding, hard-working and loyal servant of our country and our government”.

“Huma represents what is best about America: the daughter of immigrants, who has risen to the highest levels of our government on the basis of her substantial personal merit and her abiding commitment to the American ideals that she embodies so fully,” he went on.

4. Bill Clinton officiated her wedding

When Abedin said “I do” to then congressman Anthony Weiner at their 2010 wedding, it was in front of Bill Clinton.

The former president officiated the couple’s ceremony after wife Hillary hosted their engagement party, at which she described Abedin as a second daughter.

Weiner’s first sexting scandal broke just under a year after they tied the knot when a lewd photo was briefly posted on Twitter. He resigned from Congress shortly afterwards and Abedin, who was pregnant with their son at the time, was not present for the announcement.

When his second sexting scandal broke two years later, derailing his campaign for New York mayor, Abedin fronted a press conference.

She said, “it took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony” and that she made the decision to stay in the marriage “for me, for our son, and for our family”.


5. She has a much scrutinised 12-year history with the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs

Between 1996 and 2008, Abedin has been listed as an assistant editor in the London-based Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a paper her family have long been associated with.

The publication is touted as a scholarly one that studies Muslim communities in non-Muslim societies and aims to provide “accurate, reliable and objective information on Muslim minority communities worldwide,” according to their website.

It was recently criticised by the New York Post however, for “opposing women’s rights” under Abedin’s mother’s leadership, although according to people familiar with it, the journal’s content is “academic and nonpartisan” and “does not raise red flags”.

A spokesperson for the Clinton campaign has since distanced Abedin’s involvement with the journal, telling CNN “she wasn't paid” and “did little to no work”.

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