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  Home > Newsletter > MWNUK October 2013 Newsletter
MWNUK October 2013 Newsletter
Date: 22/10/2013

October 2013

Message from MWNUK Chair

Muslims all over the world have been celebrating Eid Al Adha and millions of animals would have been sacrificed to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim\'s willingness to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael, to God.  This is our annual reminder that we should also be ready and willing to make sacrifices for the sake of God and strive for equality, justice and piety.  It is not the symbolic animal sacrifice but our deeds that are most important: It is not the meat nor the blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches him (Quran 22:37) . Despite the lack of resource, MWNUK will continue working hard to strive for equality and justice for women and girls. The MWNUK Board wishes you all wonderful Eid al-Adha.
The last two months have been extremely busy for MWNUK.  We launched our groundbreaking report on the sexual exploitation of Asian girls and young women and have been following this up with stakeholder meetings to ensure the findings have the widest impact possible. If there are organisations and groups that want to organize a local awareness event, and would like us to present our findings, then please do let us know.  We have been receiving requests about this already.

Then of course the face veil debate ignited again as a result of a series of events e.g. veil ban in a Birmingham college, a Muslim woman refusing to remove her in court and the government Minister Jeremy Browne calling for a national debate).  We were inundated with media interview requests and tried to do as many as we could. It would be useful to know if there are local members that would be willing to talk about this issue to the media in future (who we could refer local media to). We are also particularly seeking Muslim women who wear the veil who would like to put their viewpoints forward.

Finally, thank you to members who have been making donations to MWNUK to support our work and would particularly like to thank two anonymous donors .  One anonymous donor very kindly stepped in and made a donation to cover the cost of the design and print of our sexual exploitation Unheard Voices' report . The other anonymous donor has made a generation donation of 2000 for a particular project more on that soon!  And if you would like to donate you can do sohere.
Shaista Gohir MBE
 MWNUK Chair 


Exploitation of Asian Girls
(Sept 2013)

MWNUK conducted a pilot study on the hidden experiences of Asian girls and young women and collected 35 case studies of victims of sexual exploitation.  We launched our groundbreaking report \'UNHEARD VOICES\': Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women (CSE), at the House of Commons on 10th September .  The event was hosted by Shabana Mahmood MP and speakers included: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Sadiq Khan MP, Sue Berelowitz, Nazir Afzal, Ratna Lachman (event Chair), Shaista Gohir and Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra.  The event was attended by, senior police, politicians, children\'s charities, local authority children\'s services, community groups, charitable grant making foundations, businessmen, reporters, crown prosecution service, and government officials.  Photos of the event can be foundhere.

About the Report
The report has been already downloaded over 1500 times and you can be foundhere

Media Coverage
The report received extensive media coverage (online, print, radio and TV) in the UK and abroad it has been covered by more than 50 media outlets (TV, radio, print and online) and continues to be covered.  Some of these have included: BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, BBC Radio 4 Women\'s Hour, Guardian, Times, Daily Mail, BBC Asian Network, Islam Channel, Press TV, Al Jazeera, Jang, GEO,  etc.  Here are a few example links:

Guardian (includes videos)
BBC News
Al Jazeera

Muslim Women
Face Veil Debate

(Sept 2013)

The debate on the face veil kicked off again due a sequence of events e.g. Birmingham wanting a ban on the veil on campus, a Muslim woman refusing to remove it in court and one politician stating that a national debate is needed on the veil.  MWNUK were inundated with media requests and responded more than 25 requests for print, radio, TV and online - in the UK and abroad.  Some of these included: Sky News, BBC Breakfast TV, BBC Sunday Morning Live, Guardian, Independent, Islam Channel BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour and numerous radio stations.  We also organised a debate amongst Muslim women on what they thought about complete and partial ban of the niqab.  We also encouraged women who wear the niqab to voice their opinions (see member updates below)

The position we took was: We oppose a ban on the veil because women should decide what to wear for themselves but do feel that there are certain situation where the face should be seen. Our views in detail can be found here:

Muslim women\'s dress: let\'s use proportion and common sense
Viewpoints: Should full-face veils be banned in some public places?

CPS Consultation on
Prosecuting Child Abuse Cases

(Sept 2013)

The Crown Prosecution Service set out Interim Guidelines on Prosecuting Cases of Child Abuse,' which were opened for public consultation until 3 September 2013 .  The guidelines made very little mention of BME victims. In light of the pilot study conducted by MWNUK, UNHEARD VOICES:  Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women, we responded to the consultations and pointed out concerns and made recommendations.  Our full response can be downloadedhere.

Women's Rights
in Afghanistan

(Sept 2013)

MWNUK was invited to share concerns about women's rights in Afghanistan at two events at a conference held at SOAS (on 9th September) and at the University of Durham (on 19th September).  Shaista Gohir Chair of MWNUK presented on how rights were being reversed and what action needed to be taken to improve rights.  Representatives from the Afghan government also were present at the events,who were challenged on the rate of progress on women's rights.

Labour Party Conference
(Sept 2013)

The Labour Party invited a number of faith and minority groups to their annual conference, including MWNUK.  The importance of the role of faith groups in society was highlighted.  We attended the event on the day Labour Party Leader delivered his keynote speech.  We welcomed the party's acknowledgement that more needed to be done to address inequalities faced by women.

Mediators Beyond Borders
Annual Mediation Congress

(Sept 2013)

Muslim Women\'s Network UK Vice-Chair Nazmin Akthar attended as the UK delegate and partner representative of MBB\'s 6th Annual Mediation Congress along with the likes of UN Development Programme Turkey , I nternational Mediation Institute and Pepperdine University School of Law . Held in Istanbul, the three day conference explored the world of mediation through various lectures and workshops such as on cross-cultural mediation , exploration of religious disputes and conciliation as well as the role of women mediators in conflict situations. Attendees were from across the world including Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Belgium, US, Canada and Australia.

Ministry of Justice
Non registration
of Marriages

(Sept 2013)

Many Muslim women who have Muslim marriages (nikahs) in Britain do not also have their marriages formally registered under British law.  This of course has many negative repercussions for women if the marriage breaks down.  The Ministry of Justice are currently exploring the non registration of marriages and partnered with MWNUK to hold a consultation event in Blackburn,  which was hosted by the MWNUK General Secretary Mussurut Zia . The event was attended by 40 local women , local registrars and the super intendant registrar .  If you have views on what should be done to better protect Muslim women and to encourage more Muslim women to register their marriages, then please let us know at


Shalina Litt
(Sept 2013)

So many people were commenting on the veil and we felt it was important that voices of women who wear the veil (whether full times or part time) were also heard.  We asked ShalinaLitt , member of MWNUK if she wanted to speak in the media.  We would like to thank Shalina for being brave enough to take up the challenge! She was interviewed by numerous media channels both here and abroad and included, Sky News, BBC, ITV, Independent, and so many radio stations etc. We are proud of Shalina for putting her views across so eloquently as at times some of the presenters gave her a hard time.  Shalina has enjoyed the experience and has learned a lot from it.  Hopefully we will now see her commenting on many other issues.

Pure Hearts
New Project Launch

MWNUK member and community activist Saeeda Sultana has for a number of years being working in the community to raise aspirations of Muslim girls, act as an agony aunt and provide advice for every day problems.  On 28th September , she formally launched her own local organisation, PURE HEARTS .  It was attended by more than 60 Birmingham women and girls .  MWNUK also attended the event and supported Saidah and provided role model exhibitions. Pure Hearts will now be holding regular activities for young Muslim girls to raise awareness of issues and raise their aspirations.  If you want to find out more about this project, contact:

Eiman Survey

 EIMAN Empowers, Inspires and Motivates Muslim Women through Advocacy and Nurturing. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.  In 2011 EIMAN identified disparity in the UK. EIMAN is seeking to find out what disparities exist for Muslim Women . They have compiled a survey that you can contribute to. The outcome of the survey will be showcased and used to influence and shape the needs of Muslim Women in UK on a National Level with our Government and on International Level with United Nations .They have compiled a survey that you can contribute tohere.


Documentary on
Muslim Women's Dress

 Brazilian producer and director, Betty Martins has made a documentary called, "I wasn\'t always dressed like this" which follows the research on the Veil\'s Resurgence from Professor Leila Ahmed.  The film features 3 Muslim women from different background living in the UK about their journeys of the discovery of the veil (hijab or niqab). The documentary not only shows the stories of those women, but to present an alternative, in the methodological level, of the way mainstream western media represents them.  The trailer can be viewedhere.  If you are interested in organizing a screening in your area, then please get in touch with

Envision Mentors

 Envision works with young persons including in schools and develop their skills by setting them challenges, getting them to develop campaigns and community activities . Envision is looking for Volunteer Mentors for 2-3 hours a week in Birmingham, London and Bristol- to provide support, advice and encouragement to Envision school teams as the create and deliver community projects. To find out more,

Muslim World TV Network

 Muslim World Network TV based is a new Wembley based TV channel which is broadcast on Sky channel 857 . They are looking for Muslim female role models for their \'Sister my Sister\' programme. They are looking for role models from different fields e.g. legal, medical or sports etc who would like to come on the programme. The programmes seeks to portray Muslim women as positive role models to other Muslim women and the wider community. The programme is broadcast on Thursdays and Saturdays from 6 pm to 7 pm .  If you are interested or would like to recommend anyone, then contact: +44 (0)208 795 0300 /

Burkha Avengers Fights for Girls Education

A new Muslim female animated superhero has been created for Pakistani TV .  A teacher at a girls school  has an alter ego, is a burka-wearing superheroine who uses martial arts to fight crime. MWNUK was asked to comment on Sky News. We welcomed the idea and explained why this can be a powerful tool for change. The interview can be viewedhere.


 CEDAW is the international human rights treaty that focuses specifically on equality between women and men in all areas of life. The UN CEDAW Committee examined the UK in July 2013 in Geneva on their performance. Their concluding observations can be foundhere. It is important to read this and see if the UK upholds these recommendations over the next four years.

Latest Musawah Newsletter

MWNUK is represented on the global decision making committee of Musawah (, the global Muslim women\'s movement .  Their latest newsletter (June 2013) can be viewedhere.


Muslim Institute Series
on Child Abuse & Neglect

 Muslim Institute is hosting a series of three events to explore safeguarding children .  The events offer a multi-professional and multidisciplinary forum for practitioners, policy makers, researchers, activists and members of the communities - to share views and experiences through presentations and workshops.

The series (in London) will cover:
 Safeguarding Children  engaging with the Muslim communities on the 28th September 2013

 Cultural Practices and Religious belief : the impact of beliefs and practices on safeguarding children on 9th November 2013

 Looked After Children : adoption and fostering and the Muslim communities on 18 January 2014

Further details can be found at:

Mental Health with
Dr. Iram Sattar

 Inclusive Mosque Initiative is holding an event on mental health where board member of MWNUK, Dr Iram Sattar will be talking about types of mental health issues, symptoms, stigma, treatment, seeking help, and mental health v jinn possession.  Registration is requested with a suggested donation of 5 contact

Date: Thursday, 26th October 2013
Time: 7pm 9pm
Venue: Godly Play Room, Basement, St Johns Church, 73 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8TY

 In This Newsletter 

Message from MWNUK Chair


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