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  Home > Newsletter > MWNUK May 2014 Newsletter
MWNUK May 2014 Newsletter
Date: 31/5/2014

May 2014

Dear Network Member,

We hope you enjoy reading MWNUK\'s May 2014 Newsletter:


MWNUK Annual
General Meeting

MWNUK hosted our 2014 AGM in  Birmingham  on  Friday 9 May.  The theme of the AGM was :  Muslim Women and Mental Health  and the event sought to catalyse awareness and action on this topic.

The event was fully booked attracting a diverse audience of MWNUK members, potential partners and other supporters. Apart from AGM business, a  panel of speakers  presented various aspects of Mental Health related issues, and a short  workshop  raised practical questions of what we can do to  impact change  .

For  photos  from the day visit our gallery. For a copy of our  Annual Report  please email

Mental Health
Inquiry Submission

As part of our commitment to changing attitudes to mental health, Muslim Women's Network UK submitted  Written Evidence  to the Home Affairs Committee's Inquiry into  Policing & Mental Health  . We highlighted concerns regarding stereotypical notions of Muslim and BME individuals, including of being terrorists and extremists as well as other racial stereotypes, having lead to both physical and emotional mistreatment of sufferers. We also mentioned key issues relevant to Muslim and BME communities such as beliefs in spirit possession resulting in a delay in diagnosis as well as issues of stigma and abuse. Read here.

Mental Health Workshop

On the  17 May  MWNUK Board Director Dr.Iram Sattar presented a  workshop  facilitated by the Inclusive MosqueInitiative on the subject of  Mental Health and Jinn Possession  . Iram has highlighted the real need for us all to be better aware of mental health matters so as to be able to spot the signs (for ourselves and others) and  seek help early  .

Visit to European Commission

The  Muslim Charities Forum  took a delegation of British Muslims representing a range of charities to find out more about how the  European Commission  operates.  MWNUK Chair Shaista Gohir was a part of the delegation.  During the trip to Brussels on the 19th and 20th May 2014,  she found out more about the work of other delegation members as well as how civil society organisations can influence European decision making.

Nexus Young
Philanthropists Summit

MWNUK Chair, Shaista Gohir, was invited to present on the work of Muslim Women's Network UK and Musawah (the global women's movement) at the Nexus Summit.  The summit brought together young philanthropists from Europe who are interested in using their wealth to tackle social issues.

CSW Meeting

Board Director Robina Iqbal & National Network Coordinator Shahin Ashraf attended a  UN Commission for the Status of Women  (CSW) meeting in Birmingham entitled "  What does Beijing 20+ mean to me?  ". Discussions included looking at strengthening the enabling environment for gender equality and the empowerment of women as well as realising womens' and girls' full enjoyment of all human rights.

Somaliland Independence
Day Celebrations

A section of the Somali community in Birmingham came together on the 24th May to mark the self declared  Independence Day of Somaliland  .   MWNUK Chair, Shaista Gohir and National Network Coordinator, Shahin Ashraf attended the event. The evening included speeches from local Birmingham Councillors, Politicians from Somaliland, and both male and female members of the Birmingham Somaliland community.

MWNUK in the Media

  • Vice-Chair Nazmin Akthar was interviewed by  Radio France International  regarding the 382  Saudi women  who have filed lawsuits against their parents for refusing to let them get married. She highlighted the interesting point that the grounds of the lawsuits are derived from principles in the Quran forbidding guardians from acting in such a manner and how it was encouraging to see women becoming better aware of their human rights and paving the way to change. Asked if she thought the lawsuits would go in the favour of the women, she said courts will need to provide sound reasons for their judgments given the grounds are in fact Shariah based with no room for cultural motivations.Here.
  • General Secretary Mussurut Zia was on BBC Radio Lancashire drive time on 29 May discussing the  concept of honour  following the stoning to death of woman outside courts in Lahore. A truly horrific case which shows just how much work needs to be done in our fight against violence against women and girls. Here.

Call for
Consultation Participation

The Crown Prosecution Service has produced  Draft Guidelines for the Prosecution of Domestic Violence Cases  , and are currently consulting/ requesting feedback on it  here  :

These guidelines are  important  because they will provide assistance to decision makers and professionals during  prosecutions of domestic violence  .

It is also important that the  needs of Muslim women  are considered in these guidelines. Muslim Women's Network UK will therefore be responding to this consultation. Although we will be able to draw from the case studies we have gathered from the enquiries we receive, we also want your views on gaps in the document concerning Muslim women and how these can be addressed.

The deadline for the consultation is  9th July 2014  ,  however we would like to receive your responses by  Friday 13th June 2014  to allow us sufficient time to draft a thorough response.

You can comment on any aspect of the document. However, we particularly welcome comments on the following  5  questions:

¢ Is the understanding and context of domestic violence right and well-informed?
¢ Have the right potential lines of enquiry for evidence gathering been identified?
¢ Where complainants are not willing to support a prosecution? How could the CPS approach 'evidence-led' prosecutions (prosecutions continued without the victim)?
¢ Have all safety and support issues affecting victims been highlighted?
¢ Have the CPS got good understanding of sensitivities experienced by victims from different groups? If not, how can this be improved?
"I choose to have my voice heard"


Featured Member: Apna Haq

  Apna Haq  serving the area of Rotherham, South Yorkshire has been established for  20 years  now. It provides  support  and  advocacy  for women from different minority backgrounds who are or have faced issues of violence which includes  domestic violence, forced marriage  and  honour based violence  . 90% of its service users are from Muslim backgrounds. Alongside this it raises awareness with organisations and professionals as well as community groups to the issues faced by these women at a  local  ,  regional,   national  and  international  level.

Some current projects include:

  1. Child Abuse Awareness Raising with the Lucy Faithful foundation  
- delivering awareness raising sessions targeting women from the BME communities on child abuse prevalence and how to put  protective factors  into place.

(Chief Executive  Zlakha Ahmed  and  Nosheen Farouq  Chair interview with  BBC Asian Radio Sheffield  on awareness raising on child abuse issues.)
  2. Muslim girls and sexual abuse  
Apna Haq has been raising issues of  sexual abuse and exploitation  at a local level and in city-wide strategic groups to highlight the invisibility and silencing of Muslim girls\' experiences.

  3. Spiritual healing and related potential of spiritual healing abuse  
Working with related organisations to raise awareness of  mental health issues  and the potential  abuse  in spiritual healing, with the long term aim to enable policies and procedures to be put into place, giving people with a spiritual concern regulated services and safety.

  4. Disability and Violence  
Due to links of  disability  and  domestic violence  being high, Apna Haq have worked closely with their local Asian women's disabled group to raise their awareness around domestic violence and the support that is available.

For more information on the kinds of cases Apna Haq supports please visit their website.

  Website  :
  Telephone  :01709 519212 or 01709 519211

Featured Project: Ammalife

  Ammalife “ Saving Lives of Mothers  is a UK Registered  Charity  committed to saving the lives of mothers at risk during pregnancy and childbirth in poor countries. The work is overseen by trustees including medical specialists from hospitals in Birmingham. Every 2 minutes a mother dies of pregnancy and childbirth linked complications. That's 800 mothers every day. However, most of these deaths are avoidable.  If you want to support their work and donate, then please visit



  Musawah  ('equality' in Arabic) is a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family.  Musawah works on three inter-related areas in order to build a strong movement of women and men;  knowledge building  ,  outreach  , and  international advocacy  . If you are interested in getting involved, Musawah's  Advocate Toolkit  suggests some ways of thinking about Muslim family laws and practices.


Challenging Stereotypes of Muslim Women

  • The Dutch Muslim women's organization Al Nisa works to challenge misconceptions about Muslim women. Funded by the Open Society Foundation they have created a campaigning videoto challenge these stereotypes.
  • Amina MWRC based in Scotland responded to the stereotypes held by many young people of Muslim women being œTerrorist, œForeign, œOppressed and œUneducated by creating the I Speak for Myself' campaign. See it's video here.
  • Muslim Women in History' is a new facebook page dedicated to providing interesting examples of Muslim women in diverse roles throughout history.

Forced Marriage Documentary

  Samar Minallah  , an award winning  documentary maker  and  human rights activist  from  Pakistan  has made her latest documentary on  forced marriages  available online.  'Poles Apart: Chains do not keep Marriages Together  ,' focusses on the journeys of individuals in Diaspora communities who eventually manage to get out of forced marriages.

Activist Toolkit

Launched in 2007, AWID offers analysis that unmasks and demystifies religious fundamentalisms, and shares  strategies  that women's rights activists use to challenge them. See AWID initiative 'Resisting and Challenging Religious Fundamentalisms'.

Blog: What is Girl Power?

Child blogger  Aaliyah Gohir  asked a number of high profile individuals, women's rights activists and family members on what they thought  'Girl Power'  meant to them.

She received comments from Prime Minister David Cameron, Ziauddin Yousafzai, Asifa Bhutto Zardari and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.  To find out who else provided views, what Aaliyah made of their comments and what she thinks 'Girl Power' means to her, read her full blog  here.  Her article was published in the national  Asian newspaper Eastern Eye.  


Indonesian Female Comic Takes on UK Fundamentalists

An Indonesian hijab-wearing Muslim woman uses stand-up comedy as a platform to challenge many issues; including the role of women and fundamentalists. Read here.

FGM Safeguarding Checks
at UK Airports

Anti-female genital mutilation campaign at UK airport seeks to intercept families flying out their girls for \'cutting\'. Read here.

UN Women Launch Campaign

UN Women launched a major campaign in the lead-up to the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the historic Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Read here.


Muslim Women\'s
Activisms Conference

This is the annual conference of the  Centre for Society, Religion and Belief  (SRB) at the  University of Derby  . This conference will examine the social, religious and historical contexts of Muslim women's social and political activism; the impacts of their agency; challenges and strategies for the future and forms that their activism may take. The conference will include a number of papers presented by speakers from many different countries, disciplines and professional backgrounds and will include both academics and community practitioners, including MWNUK.
  Date:  Thursday 26 June 2014
  Venue:  Enterprise Centre, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB
  Time:  All day event

To learn more about the conference and to register for your place, please visit the conference  web pages  .

Preventing Violence Against Vulnerable People Conference

Hosted  by Small Heath Community Forum  

The aim of the conference is to address how West Midland partners can work together to tackle trafficking, online grooming, domestic abuse etc.

  Date:  Thursday 12 June 2014
  Venue:  Khidmat Centre
2A Heather Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, B10 9TA

  Contact:  Razia Hadait (Centre Manager) on 0121 773 8619 for any further queries.

MWNUK\'s commitment to furthering the plights of Muslim women in the UK is met with the ongoing challenge of funding our initiatives. We really need your financial support in bringing about justice for Muslim women in the UK. As a registered charity,  number 1155092)  you can donate here.You can donate via text. To  donate £5  text the following code  NISA04 £5  to  70070  

  In This Newsletter  

MWNUK Annual General Meeting
Mental Health Inquiry Submission
Mental Health Workshop
Visit to European Commission
Nexus Young Philanthropists Summit
CSW Meeting
Somaliland Independence Day Celebrations
MWNUK in the Media
Call for Consultation Participation

Featured Member: Apna Haq
Featured Project: Ammalife


Challenging Stereotypes of Muslim Women
Forced Marriage Documentary
Activist Toolkit
Blog: What is Girl Power?

Indonesian Female Comic Takes on UK Fundamentalists
FGM Safeguarding Checks at UK Airports
UN Women Launch Campaign

Muslim Women\'s Activisms Conference
Preventing Violence Against Vulnerable People Conference

To donate £5  text  the following code  NISA04 £5  to  70070  

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Registered Charity No. 1155092

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