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  Home > Newsletter > MWNUK May 2013 Newsletter
MWNUK May 2013 Newsletter
Date: 22/5/2013

May 2013

Message from MWNUK Chair

I would like to thank Fariha Thomas , who has been a long standing Board Member at MWNUK , for her contribution to our work.  She had been a Board Director since 2008 , when we first registered ourselves as an independent community interest company.  Prior to that, she had been one of the earlier members when MWNUK was only an informal group.  In October, Fariha stepped down as a Board member and helped provide maternity cover for the Executive Director post up until March 2013.  She has decided not be rejoin the board but will of course remain a MWNUK member and someone we can always turn to for advice.   We wish Fariha well in her role as Councillor at Glasgow City Council .
I would also like to thank one of our members, Fawziyah Javed , for helping us out temporarily with administrative duties over the last few months.  You may have noticed from MWNUK emails, that we also have a new member of staff, Shahin Ashraf .  She will be providing cover for the remainder of the maternity period as our National Network Coordinator . Shahin is a Muslim Chaplain , at the University of Birmingham, a counselor and has considerable experience working with individuals on rape and sexual violence. So welcome Shahin!
 Shaista Gohir MBE


Roundtable Meeting
 With Maria Miller
Women & Equality Minister
(March 2013)

Several women's organisations, including MWNUK were invited to attend a meeting with Maria Miller MP ,Secretary of State for Women and Equalities.  Some of other organisations attending included: Women's Resource Centre, Women's Aid, Imkaan, UN Women (UK), Forward, NAWO . The outcomes of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) event held at the United Nations (4-15 March) were discussed along with how these could be promoted domestically and internationally.  The main outcome included ensuring that the CSW agreements need to be simplified and cascaded to civil society organisation, so they can start holding their governments accountable. Summary of the agreed CSW (57th session) conclusions, which address violence against women and girls, can be foundhere.

Meeting Labour
Shadow Cabinet Members
(March 2013)

The Labour Party held a People's Policy Forum in Birmingham on 23rd March 2013 .  This forum provided an opportunity to ask some of the Shadow cabinet members questions.  Shaista Gohir (Chair of MWNUK) attended the event and took Abida Sultana , a pupil from Bordesley Green Girls School with her. Abida met both Ed Miliband MP and Yvette Cooper MP (Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Women and Equality) and asked them questions related to youth.  View more photoshere.

Gender and Equality Book Launch
(April 2013)

 Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law book explores how male authority is sustained through law and court practice in different contexts, the consequences for women. The book launch took place at SOAS University and MWNUK were there to support fellow Musawah Advocate Ziba Mir Hosseini , who is the lead editor of the book.  This work is contributing towards Musawah's efforts to build and share knowledge.  The book can be purchased online through Amazon. View photos from the book launchhere.

Musawah Meeting in Cairo
(April 2013)

As a newly appointed member of Musawah's International Advisory group ,  Shaista Gohir (Chair of MWNUK), attended a planning meeting in Cairo (18-21 April 2013) .  The planning session included moving the secretariat office from Kuala Lumpur to Cairo, fund raising, communications and building and disseminating knowledge.  To find out more about the global Muslim Women's Movement , Musawah, please go to: View photos from the meetinghere.

Collection of Short Stories & Poems
(April 2013)

In memory of the late Cassandra Balchin (former Chair of MWNUK), Muslim Women's Network UK are pleased to announce that we will be creating an a collection of short stories due for publication in 2014 .  The aim is to provide a voice to Muslim women and the wider community in a creative way, assist in tackling the very real and pertinent issues that affects us all, and provide a platform to recognise the talent of those within Muslim and/or BME communities and give individuals an opportunity to harness their skills and take them further. Entry is open to all and deadline for submissions is 31st August 2013 at 11pm. To find out more, please visit this linkhere.


Muslim Female Pupils
Campaign on Domestic Violence

Some of our youngest members, who are pupils at Bordesley Green Girls School in Birmingham, have been working with Envision ( who are engaging young people in social action .  With the help of Envision and advice from MWNUK, the pupils chose to campaign on domestic violence in their school. They raised awareness of domestic violence issues through a short interactive play and quiz .

MWNUK Member Nadia
shares her story about
her battle with Anorexia

 I'll only give you five weeks to live, you need to start eating. 

England will be marking May as a National Mental Health Awareness month from 23rd-30th May .  This month takes action against eating disorders .  "I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in the summer of 2010. When with dull eyes and tired mind, I looked at my psychiatrist, or perhaps I was staring into empty space, at that moment nothing existed, there was emptiness all around me, I'll only give you five weeks to live, you need to start eating.  View full storyhere.

Conversation Cafes for
Women in Bradford

The first Conversation was launched on 30th April , with 32 women from the Muslim & Christian Faith communities coming together. They explored the relationship between religion, style and fashion. The next Conversation Café will take place on 6th June from 7-8:30pm , at the Carlisle Business Centre, 60 Carlisle Road, Manningham, Bradford.  The topic will be: whether or not the media is personally influencing us and how this may impact on our lives and beliefs.  Currently there is a lack of Muslim women attending.  So come on Muslim women join the conversation!  Further Conversation Cafe\'s planned for the coming year; so if you are interested, then contact Elizabeth Fewkes on 07913 291110.

Young Writers Competition

One MWNUK member based in Birmingham, Shalina Litt , who is a presenter for Unity FM (93.5) Radio, is running a  Young Writers Competition \'aimed to encourage young writers to write stories about remembering Allah and good morals. Shalina says: Our generation of young children are exposed to witchcraft and books that promote disobedience to parents - Harry Potter, Horrid Henry, Tracey Beaker the list goes on.  I want to encourage young writers to contribute their positive ideas for stories.Schools, groups and parents are encouraged to get their children involved.  The winner receives a cool Kindle.  Requirements are simple, under 16 and no longer than 5 A4 pages. Email your entries to: to get involved.  Video for this competition can be viewedhere.

FREE Support for over 50s
with Home Adjustment

 Birmingham City Council has a project that is supporting people over 50 in their homes by offering: a handy man service; minor adaptations to the home like banister rails, bathroom grips, non slip mats; and advice on medication i.e. through pharmacies collection and monitoring. There is also a fire safety check of the home and help with changing light bulbs etc and pathways can be cleared broken slabs can be changed that can cause falls.  This is a year project so please make the most of it!  To find out more visithere.  Or contact RobinaIqbal on:

Magic, Jinns & Evil Eye Conference

MWNUK Vice Chair, Nazmin Akhthar , he conference at the Al Ansar Islamic Education Centre , highlighted the realities of magic, Jinns and the evil eye' with supporting Islamic scriptures as well as cures.  Emphasis was placed on the importance of self-empowerment and not to cause financial detriment to by seeking out alleged powerful phirs etc. The conclusion was to  take a balanced approach. Speakers stressed that sometimes it might not be magic or Jinns but underlying mental health issues and therefore it is important to seek medical opinion at the same time.

Health Beliefs and Practices
amongst Pakistani Women

MWNUK member Nadia Dossa is doing a Phd study on the health beliefs and practices of Pakistani women living in the UK from a generational perspective.  Do you have a mother or daughter over the age of 16 years? If you are a grandmother and or daughter willing to spare a couple of hours for this study, then please contact Nadia Dossa on 07930444454, /

How misconceptions about
Islam affect
Muslim women in Britain

MWNUK member Lauren Hayhurst is conducting a PhD in Creative Writing, exploring how misconceptions about Islam affect Muslim women in Britain, and whether impacts have been exacerbated since 9/11.  Lauren is keen to hear from interested members willing to share experiences and opinions on such topics as; hate crime towards Muslims, assumptions and stereotypes about Muslim women, and religious vs. cultural interpretations of honor, modesty and family values.  There are multiple ways to get involved, from filling in a questionnaire, to holding an email / telephone conversation or arranging a meet up, whatever time you can spare, any and all information you can provide, no matter how brief, will be invaluable and hugely appreciated.

If you are interested, or if you have any family members or friends (over age 16 years) that may be interested, please contact Lauren

Ramadan Food Parcel Appeal

 The Al Fajr Trust (founded by and managed by Nayyar Janjua) provides financial assistance to needy families in a deprived area of Rawalpindi, Pakistan and provides free education to over 300 children from poor families .  Every year they provide food parcels to those most in need during Ramadan . Please donate towards food parcels.  One food parcel costs 20 and feeds a family of four and consists of flour (20kg), Rice (10kg), Dates (2kg), Sugar (3kg), Tea 1/4lb, Ghee (3kg), Lentils (3 types), Sharbat Drink, Soap for washing.  Al Fajr operates on a 100% donation policy so all your donations go to the poor and needy.  Any expenses are covered personally. To donate,  visit their email:

Female Photographer

A Midland based female photographer specialising in weddings, engagements, parties and photo shoots. No occasion too small. She is willing to travel nationally to capture your memories in a unique style. Her  fly on the wall  style makes you forget she is even there to capture your images to produce a contemporary and natural approach. For further and information and pricing please contact Ishrat Photography on 07974787333.


Coalition Launch
Against Street Grooming

In the aftermath of the terrible events reported in recent child abuse trials, leading Muslim, child protection, victim support and civil rights organisations are launching a groundbreaking, cross-community response to the problem of on-street grooming by gangs'.The Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation' (CAASE), led by the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB), and anti-hate civil rights movement  HOPE not Hate (HNH) was launched in Bradford on 10th May

CEDAW Shadow
Report Launch

The UK CEDAW Working Group and Women's Resource Centre's launched the UK CEDAW Shadow Report on 13th May 2013 .  This CEDAW shadow report shows where the UK Government needs to improve law, policies and practice to ensure women can fully enjoy their human rights.  The shadow report will be taken to the UN CEDAW Committee outlining where the UK is not meeting the standards and international obligations required. The UK examination by the UN CEDAW Committee is scheduled for July 2013 .  MWNUK, along with many other organisations have participated in the consultations that have shaped the final report.  To Shadow Report can be viewedhere.

\'Amplifying Youth Voices\'
Tackling Violence
Against Women and Girls

This FREE workshop aims to bring together young activists aged 18- 25 years old to build their capacity to challenge taboos and advocate on tackling violence against women and girls within the community.  Issues that will be covered include: domestic violence, sexual violence (including child abuse and sexual exploitation) and forced marriage.  The workshop will: provide information about the issues and support available; highlight further resources; raise awareness of signs; increase understanding of the barriers; and build skills and ability to raise awareness of the issues (campaigning ideas).  The participants can then use their skills and knowledge and develop leadership skills by carrying out their own campaigns  whether in the family, community, work place, university, college etc.  Training is being provided by Muslim Women's Network UK and funded by vInspired Cashpoint . He event will take place on Wednesday,May 29th, 2013 .

Race for Life

 Team MWN-UK will be participating in Race for Life this year with Vice-Chair Nazmin Akthar and other volunteers running  on 9th June in Darlington . Please sponsor us by texting MWNR99 and [amount you wish to donate] to 70070 . You can also be a part of the MWN-UK group but run in your own city; Contact us for the code if you wish to do so!

 In This Newsletter 

Message from MWNUK Chair


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