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  Home > Newsletter > MWNUK December 2013 Newsletter
MWNUK December 2013 Newsletter
Date: 30/12/2013

December 2013

Message from MWNUK Chair

I have some important news to share with you MWNUK is finally a  registered charity ! We received the good news just before Christmas. I want to thank our  Vice Chair Nazmin Akthar for all the hard work she put in to make this happen.  I would also like to welcome back our Executive Director,  Faeeza Vaid , from maternity leave.  She started back with us in early December.  Thank you to our National Network Co-ordinator,  Shahin Ashraf , for covering maternity leave. She will be continuing in her role for the time being.

I look forward to building a stronger Muslim Women's Network UK in 2014 with the board, staff, volunteers and partners.  We will continue promoting out \'Unheard Voices\' report on exploitation, revise our priorities, do more on mental health, launch our anthology of poems, do more on the issue of marriage and divorce and launch new initiatives and campaigns.  Happy New Year to you all! 

Shaista Gohir MBE
 MWNUK Chair 


Charity Status and Donations

Now that MWNUK is a registered charity,  number 1155092 , it means that donations will be worth more! We will now be able to claim back gift aid. As we have already highlighted, \' we are trying to fund raise funds to set up a  'National Muslim Women's Helpline' .  If you wish to donate to us, then you can do so here.

Media Ownership & Plurality
(Oct 2013)

A measurement / monitoring framework is being 'considered by government' on  media ownership and plurality.  The government therefore launched a  consultation  on Media Ownership and Plurality the deadline for views was  22nd October 2013 . MWNUK responded to the consultation and raised a range of concerns that included: the lack of balanced reporting by some media about women (especially victims of sexual abuse), women generally, ethnic minorities especially Muslim women.  Our full response can be downloaded here.

Mental Health Workshop
(Oct 2013)

In October 2013, our board member,  Dr Iram Sattar , held a  mental health workshop  in London for the  Inclusive Mosque Initiative .  The event was a success and feedback included gaining knowledge about the different types of mental health issues, the symptoms, stigma, treatment, and how to seek help.  The session also touched upon 'jinn' possession.  She now plans to hold further workshops in the 2014 dates to be confirmed.  Please contact us if you are interested in finding out more or hosting one.

Veils in the Court Room
(Nov 2013)

On  3rd November 2013 , the Guardian featured an article about  Ken Clarke's comments  on the wearing of the face veil in the court room . MWNUK was also quoted in the article Vice Chair,  Nazmin Akthar  stated that it was better to make an assessment on a case by case basis rather than having an outright ban. To read the full article please click here.

Report on FGM launched
(Nov 2013)

On  4th November 2013 , the front page of the Guardian featured the recommendations from a coalition of health professionals who want to see aggressive steps to eradicate the practice of  FGM in the UK.  MWNUK was also quoted and Chair,  Shaista Gohir , emphasized the importance of an individual\'s safety over the respect for religious and racial sensibilities. Read full article here.

100 Brightest Bangladeshis
(Nov 2013)

On 6 November 2013 , an awards ceremony was held in the House of Commons to recognise the  Brightest 100 British Bangladeshi's  in the UK. The event was hosted by  Rushnara Ali  MP and the aim was to highlight the achievements of the most talented young people from the Bangladeshi community.  We are pleased that Vice Chair,  Nazmin Akthar  was also included in this top 100 list and asked to speak on the importance of participation and engagement and the need for role models to aid progression and empowerment.

Domestic & Sexual
Violence Inquiry

(Nov 2013)

The  All Party Parliamentary Group  on  Domestic and Sexual Violence  held an Inquiry into  Justice for Women Survivors of Violence .  MWNUK was invited to give evidence.  Our Vice Chair  Nazmin Akthar  represented us in the oral evidence session on  27 November 2013 . Thank you to MWNUK members who contributed views for the inquiry particularly BME women's experiences of the criminal justice system.

The Asian Silence on
Violence Against Women

(Nov 2013)

On  28th November 2013 , a special debate was hosted at the  BBC  in Birmingham by presenter  Ritula Shah who spoke to key thinkers and activists about events in South Asia, such as the  rape case in Delhi  and the shooting of  Malala , and whether they are influencing gender issues in South Asian communities in the UK. The debate also asks if there is a silence when it comes to  domestic violence , if women are colluding in the silence, and if there is a British Asian feminism. Main panelists included Chair of MWNUK,  Shaista Gohir ,  Rahila Gupta  (Southall Black Sisters) and academic  Dr Aisha Gill  with contributions from an audience of about 30 activists.  Shaista raised concerns about Asian women being murdered in domestic violence incidents in Britain who do not get the same attention as victims from abroad. You can listen to the debate here.

Forced Marriage Event
with Samar Minallah

(Dec 2013)

MWNUK hosted  Samar Minallah , an award winning  documentary maker  and  human rights activist  from  Pakistan .  We played her latest documentary on  forced marriages , Poles Apart: Chains do not keep Marriages Together,' which focused on individuals who eventually managed to get out and forced marriages amongst the Diaspora communities.  The event was attended by more than 35 people and included a QA session and lively debate on how to change community attitudes on this issue. Photos from the meeting can be found here.

Visit from US
Government Officials

We organised a meeting at our offices where representatives from various organisations / activists were able to engage and debate with  US government officials  who included: Jamie Martin (Deputy Cultural Attache), Katie Donohoe (from U.S. Agency for International Development focusing on educational programmes) and IrfanSaeed (Senior Policy Advisor, at the Department of Homeland Security). The discussion included: strategies to get more children into  education in Pakistan  and raising concerns of unfair and  unjustified profiling of Muslims  and preventing their entry to the US.Photos from the meeting can be found here.

Birmingham Against
FGM Strategy Group

(Dec 2013)

This is a new group that has been formed to tackle  female genital mutilation  in Birmingham.  MWNUK is a member of this group along with a range of other  local stakeholders  that include: West Midlands Police, Children's and Adult Safeguarding, representatives from health authorities such as pediatrician and midwives, Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid etc.  MWNUK will be helping West Midlands Police shape a survey and carry out  local research  on this issue as well as  helping organize a local conference .

Speaking at Schools
(Dec 2013)

Chair,  Shaista Gohir  was invited to speak at an awards evening at  Moseley Secondary School  in Birmingham.  They also displayed our  Big Sister Role Model Exhibitions  at their school for 2 weeks.  She also spoke at  Handsworth Wood Girls  Academy on  forced marriages  and  exploitation .

Child Abuse Debate
Islam Channel

(Dec 2013)

 Shahin Ashraf , National Network Co-ordinator participated in a debate on  Islam Channel  exploring the issue of  child safeguarding .  It is great that Asian and Muslim channels are finally starting to tackle taboo issues.  However, such discussions are yet to really acknowledge the true extent of the problem.

CSW Alliance Meeting
(Dec 2013)

In December, women representing a diverse range of women's groups met  in London to discuss the  58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women  that will take place at  United Nations  Headquarters in New York from  10 to 21 March 2014 .  MWNUK Board member,  Robina Iqbal  attended the meeting on our behalf. Next years themes were discussed that included access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women's equal access to full employment.

Unheard Voices:
Report Impact Update

(Oct-Dec 2013)

Since the launch of our ground breaking report, which has now been downloaded more than  2100 times  and can also be downloaded here.

We been invited to speak at events and government meetings to raise awareness of the findings, which have included:

   10th Oct 2013 Government Sexual Violence Against Children and Vulnerable People Strategic Stakeholder Group (London)
   19th Oct 2013 Campaign to End Rape (London)
   26th Oct 2013 - National Black Crown Prosecution Association (London)
   31st Oct 2013 Asian Fire Service Association international conference (Manchester)
   28th Nov 2013 Tackling Grooming and Exploitation Women's Event (Birmingham)
   17th Dec 2013 - Tackling Grooming and Exploitation Men's Event (Birmingham)

 Unheard Voices  is also being quoted in  reports  and  training  and some of these include:
   Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation has quoted Unheard Voices in their e learning module aimed at parents and practitioners
   Barnardos (Scotland) will be using report in meetings
   The National Working Group whose membership includes the Dept of Health, the NHS, the Royal Colleges, ACPO and other statutory representatives and specialist sexual exploitation  organisations e.g. Barnardos, NSPCC etc. will be quoting Unheard Voices in their report for the Health National Working Group on Child Sexual Exploitation.
   British Association of Social Workers (BASS) will use parts of Unheard Voices in their training


Special Needs Madrasa

MWNUK member  Shalina Litt  has launched a  Madrasa  for children with  special needs'  in Birmingham.  It is called the  Special Madrasa'.  Instead of children being expected to fit into a Madrasa, where they may get bullied, she has designed one to meet the needs of the special needs children (e.g. those with autism and other learning difficulties).  The madrasa has smaller groups,  shorter sessions and learning aids to help the children. To find out more contact Shalina on:

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. EIMAN is seeking to find out what  disparities exist for Muslim Women . They have compiled a survey that you can contribute to here.


Feminist Movement
Building Dictionary

For activists, words that once inspired and framed  social change  have been so depoliticized as to be confusing.  Just Associates  reclaim the discourse and  redefine the words  that enable women to  build movements .  This dictionary will be very useful for academics, students and activists. You can download it here.


 Musawah  have been back in the news.  A news article,  Rise of the Islamic Feminists'  summarized their achievements since their  launch in 2009 and the importance of this global Muslim women's movement.  MWNUK has been involved from the outset of this movement.  Musawah ( is  reclaiming the Quran  and fighting for women's rights from within Islam and produce  educational materials  and  training .  The full article can be found here.


Female Genital Mutilation

The  Royal College of Midwives  published a report in November 2013, Tackling FGM in the UK. '  It calls for a comprehensive multi-agency action plan to ensure that girls are protected by the existing United Kingdom legal framework.The full report can be found here.

major government inquiry  has also been launched into FGM.  The  Home Affairs Select Committee  will examine the current legal framework and look at why there has not been a prosecution since the FGM became illegal 28 years ago. You can find out more about making written submissions here.

Anyone who is worried about a child being or has been a victim of FGM can contact the  NSPCC  free FGM  national helpline  on  0800 028 3550  for information and support.

Government Action Plan
on Women and Economy

The  Women's Business Council  was set up in  2012  to advise Government on how  women's contribution to growth  can be optimised.  They produced a  report in June 2013,  advising the government on a culture change on  careers advise  such as high quality work experience and  job shadowing , which can be found here.

In November 2013, the Government published its action plan about how it plans to take forward their recommendations, which will include Improved guidance on careers which will include raising aspirations and challenging stereotypes.  The action plan can be found here.


Project Manager
(30,000 - 35,000)

This job may be of interest to you. Please share with your contacts. Fixed 1 year contract (renewable)  Project Manage r who will be responsible for the start-up, ongoing management, continuing development, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, daily supervision of activities and reporting requirements under a new project that we are aiming to start soon. This person will also help us develop a project portfolio for the  Muslim Charities Forum . The position is based in London, with travel throughout England.The full job description can be found here.

Deadline: Friday 3rd Jan 2014
Interviews: 8th and 9th Jan 2014

 In This Newsletter 

Message from MWNUK Chair


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