| Ramadan Mubarak! |
That time of the year has arrived where we have more empathy with those in need and give more generously to charity whether this is the obligatory zakat or the voluntary sadaqah payment. Although British Muslims traditionally donate to causes abroad, we would like to encourage you to also give locally and think about the different types of giving and helping your communities through social action . For example, you could give to food banks , which provide emergency food to people experiencing crisis in the UK because they cannot afford to buy food for their families. To find the nearest foodbank and what to put in your food pack, visithere
Also don't forget your local Muslim women's groups , who often run projects with little or no money. And of course Muslim Women's Network UK (MWNUK) would welcome donations too and even donating as little as £10 will help us. You can donate to ushere
We have already received our first Ramadhan donation from Businessman Mohammed Nadeem who owns Nadeem Plaza in Luton. I would like to thank him for his generosity and his support for women\'s empowerment.
If you are giving internationally, then one war that we should all be joining is the War Against Hunger' launched by Islamic Relief UK . To find out more on how to donate,click here
As we all renew our commitment to be more compassionate, I hope we can also increase our understanding of one another regardless of our backgrounds and our differences. As our slogan says, lets connect through our differences\' .
Shaista Gohir MBE
|We would like thank Mohammed Nadeem of Nadeem Properties and Nadeem Plaza in Luton for supporting us with a donation of £500 during Ramadan 2013 . It is fantastic that a Muslim businessman has recognised the importance of women\'s empowerment and is supporting women\'s rights. We are currently trying to fund raise for a National helpline aimed at Muslim women and girls - so we plan to put this donation towards that.|
|MWNUK strongly condemned the attack that took place in Woolwich where a soldier lost his life . A media notice was sent out and MWNUK commented on the Radio 4 Today Programme and Sky News , which can be viewedhere. However, opportunists will manipulate this incident (as we have been witnessing) to fuel tensions and incite religious hatred towards Muslims, the majority of who are law-abiding citizens and who are equally appalled and horrified about what took place. We have received a number of complaints from women across the UK about hostility, harassment and discrimination. Please continue to let us know so we can log these incidents.|
On the 29th May 2013, MWNUK held a workshop aimed at young activists . Issues covered included awareness raising presentations and videos on domestic violence , sexual violence and forced marriage . The session also included advice on how to campaign and share information. The training was funded by vInspired Cashpoint .
On 30th May 2013 , representatives from the US Embassy visited the MWNUK offices to discuss U.S. foreign policy . Local Muslim women were invited to attend the meeting and asked questions and robustly challenged specific policy issues of concern. The issues raised by participants included the drone attacks in Pakistan , the role of US in conflicts around the world and sale of weapon s to states with questionable human rights records.
|On 9th June 2013, Vice-Chair Nazmin Akthar participated in the Race for Life in Darlington as part of "Team MWN-UK" and raised a total of £195.00 on behalf of Cancer research . To donate pleaseclick here|
|Lawyer and Vice Chair of MWNUK, Nazmin Akthar , responded to the government consultation on cuts to the £2bn legal aid budget . The short consultation period reduced the capacity of many organisations like ours to seek views from members. However, we raised concerns that the proposals are going to exclude those most at need taking legal aid away from perhaps the most vulnerable of individuals who may need it the most. We warned that instead of assisting such victims, the proposals may hinder them further into silence. We also raised concerns that discrimination cases are being removed from the scope of legal aid for prisoners, which is surprising considering the numbers of prisoners from a BME background and with learning difficulties / disabilities. The minimum residency requirement for accessing legal aid was also highlighted as a concern as it may impact forced marriage cases , especially when victims are taken abroad for a long period of time. We also said that victims of domestic violence may become especially reluctant to report a crime or even seek protection where their immigration status is unsettled. To read our full response and concerns raised, the report can be downloadedhere|
|On 18th June 2013, Shaista Gohir , Chair of MWNUK was invited by the Al Mahdi Institute in Birmingham to participate in a panel to discuss what factors were contributing to extremism , the current situation and how to tackle the problem. Other panelists included: Chris Ewer, Mohammad Naseem Sheikh Arif Abdul hussain, Haifaa Jawad, Councillor Brett O\'Reilly and Jahan Mahmood.The video of the discussion can be viewedhere|
On 27th June 2013, Shahin Ashraf
- National Network Co-coordinator of MWN-UK, was invited to attend an ESRC funded research conference on collaborative partnering between Universities
and Muslim institutions
, which was built on previous research about Muslim faith leader training in Britain. The conference highlighted Islamic studies in pluralist British contexts
, women's education
and the Arabic language
. The research findings indicated that it is possible to bridge gaps
and forge a more cohesive society
for Muslims and others. In 21st century Britain there is so much to celebrate and also many as yet unanswered questions: one of the most important questions is the potential divisiveness of issues around faith, religion and the way we live with those who have different beliefs from our own.These issues need to be addressed at many different levels and in many different ways.To learn more about the project please clickhere
|As part of its anthology project , which aims to provide members of the Muslim and/or BME community with a platform to showcase their talent whilst at the same time raising awareness of important issues, Muslim Women\'s Network UK hosted "Hear I Am ~ An Evening of Poetic Narratives" on 22nd June at D\'Gaf in London .|
The night consisted of a range of performances from both established and new spoken-word artists and poets, including Saleha Begum , Mizan The Poet and Sacha Wise as well as a wonderful and motivational talk from Rania Khan , Councillor of Tower Hamlets. The dinner event also included an art auction and live calligraphy courtesy of Alwan Arts as well as henna and origami together with the screening of the film from our One Billion Rising mosques postcard campaign .
To view photos of the evening please clickhere
The vision was to hold an event that not only brought to light the immense talent in the community but to also highlight the importance of the arts and literature in portraying a message -- and the talented artists and performers did just that.
A huge thank you to all who made this night a success. Proceeds from the event will go towards the creation and distribution of 500 copies of the anthology and over the next six months we will continue to fundraise to reach our overall target; Please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring the project and as a quick reminder, deadline for submissions to the anthology is 31st August 2013 . To submit an entry pleaseclick here
MWNUK supported the \'Women Living Under Muslim Laws\'
on 26th June 2013
. The aim of the tweet-a-thon is to raise awareness about the practice of stoning
and also to get people to sign the petition
to the UN to ban stoning. You can still join in. The petition can be foundhere
|On 2nd July 2013 , the Joint Committee on Human Rights hosted a summer seminar to consider possible choices for an inquiry topic. Nazmin Akthar , Vice Chair or MWNUK attended the session and presented on the issues concerning marriage and divorce to inform their deliberations. Issues she raised included problems that arise because Muslim marriages conducted in Britain are not legally recognized and the negatives consequences on women who do not have civil ceremonies.|
|As you may be aware, MWNUK has been conducting a pilot study over the last few months into the sexual exploitation of Asian girls . The project and report are now complete and the findings will be made public in September . In the meantime, we have planned a series of closed meetings with government officials, police, crown prosecution service and community groups where we will be presenting a summary of our key findings. Sue Berelowitz , Deputy Children's Commissioner and Baroness Warsi have already been updated about the project. Once the report is made available publicly, a copy will be available to download from our website.|
|On 12th July Malala celebrated her 16th birthday but also went to the United Nations to deliver a petition containing more than 3 million signatures which she handed to the UN General Secretary Ban ki Moon asking that all children are educated. Malala\'s amazing and inspirational speech can be viewedhere|
Shaista Gohir, Chair of MWNUK did a Sky News interview on the same day and commented on Malala Day and the importance of her campaign. To view interview clickhere
|In May, Rana Nazir , founder of the British Kashmiri Women Council attended a meeting in the European Parliament in Brussels to raise awareness of human rights abuses taking place in Kashmir such as rapes and violence . She urged politicians to resolve the crisis and challenge the Indian government on the ongoing abuses and hold them accountable. Rana's discussion with Nikki Sinclaire MEP on this issue can be viewedhere|
|One MWNUK member, TamsilaTauqir is one of the founders of the Inclusive Mosque Initiative (IMI). She is the UK Coordinator of the project, which is helping create a an alternative space where people can pray and meet regardless of gender, religious sect, sexuality or disability. The IMI allows men and women to pray side-by-side , welcomes gay people and allows women to lead prayer. To find out more visit IMIwebsite. Shaista Gohir, Chair of MWNUK was interviewed about this initiative on BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour on 13th June 2013 and you can listen to the interviewhere|
|The Umbrella Effect is a new charity focusing on Obesity in the UK.It is a compassion led, psycho-educational program that will be accessible to all. The Umbrella Effect aims to revolutionize the way society itself sees weight issues/obesity and hope to tackle the obesity epidemic sweeping the UK. To find out more please clickhere|
|As you may already know, MWNUK is represented on the global decision making committee of Musawah (www.musawah.org),the global Muslim women's movement. Their latest global newsletter (March 2013) can be viewedhere|
|MWNUK was invited to the launch of Islamic Relief UK's campaign, War on Hunger on 4th July 2013 . Guest speakers included amongst others, the Labour Party Leader, Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP and Rt Hon The Lord Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury . MWNUK National Network Coordinator met with Rowan Williams and told him about some of our work. To find out more about how you can join the campaign, visit:www.islamic-relief.org.uk|
| Mosaic inspires young people from deprived communities to realize their talents and potential.Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2007, Mosaic's mentoring programmes create opportunities for young people growing up in our most deprived communities. Anyone interested becoming a mentor please should register on line at:www.mosaicnetwork.co.uk|
| Wadjda is the first feature film made by female Saudi filmmaker, Haifaa Al Mansour. This film is shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and is the story of a young girl living in a suburb of Riyadh determined to raise enough money to buy a bike in a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl\'s virtue. Even more impressive, In a country where cinemas are banned and women cannot drive or vote, writer- director Haifaa Al Mansour has broken many barriers with her new film.The movie is screening at the MAC in Birmingham between Friday 2nd August through to Thursday 8th August . View trailerhere|
|This short 4 min video is worth watching where Chief Prosecutor, Nazir Afza l says he has dealt with more historical sexual abuse cases in the last one year than in all of his career because victims have more confidence to come forward. He adds that we should ALL be playing a role in not turning a blind eye to abuse and encourage reporting.To watch the video please clickhere|
| Stalking became an offence in England and Wales last year. An advocacy group for stalking victims in England and Wales - the first of its kind - to find out more clickhere|