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  Home > Newsletter > MWNUK June 2014 Newsletter
MWNUK June 2014 Newsletter
Date: 30/6/2014

June 2014

Dear Network Member,

We hope you enjoy reading MWNUK\'s latest Newsletter:


Ramadan Message

  Ramadan Mubarak from the MWNUK Team!  

We pray:
1. That Ramadan brings respect, goodwill, peace, and compassion and towards the entire humanity.
2.  That Ramadan truly guides us to believe that God is Almighty, and all human beings are equal and entitled to justice.
3. And that all those suffering domestic violence, forced marriage, FGM, mental health issues and all other struggles find ease.


As a month of great generosity, we also implore you to donate to MWNUK to further our work in addressing the needs of Muslim women in the UK.As a registered charity, number 1155092)  you can donate here. Or you can donate via text. To donate £5  text the following code NISA04 £5  to 70070.  

Moved Office

On the 2ndJune 2014 MWNUK moved into our new office:

  The Warehouse
54-57 Allison Street
B5 5TH

After 6 years at our old home, the MWNUK team would officially like to thank  Irfan Gohir  for his generosity in providing us the luxurious space for rent 4 times below the market rate each month! Without his support, MWNUK would have struggled to establish ourselves as a national charity.  Thank You Irfan!  

Nazmin Akthar!

We would like to congratulate  MWNUK Vice Chair   Nazmin Akthar  on her marriage to  Rahil Sheikh  on the 21stJune 2014. We wish them a wonderful marriage and a happy life ahead!

Mediation and
Arbitration Conference

A seminar organised by  Dr Samia Bano  was held at  SOAS  on the 10thJune 2014 to explore issues of gender equality and justice in family law disputes.  International speakers drew upon critical feminist and Muslim feminist literature, empirical research and legal practice to and presented on the ways in which such dispute resolution mechanisms are conceived and understood by women as primary users.  MWNUK Vice Chair Nazmin Akthar was also a panelist and she shared the types of enquiries we receive at Muslim Women's Network UK highlighting their experiences with  Shariah Councils  .

  Faith Leaders Panel at
Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit

The  UK Foreign Secretary  , William Hague, and the Special Envoy of the  UN High Commissioner for Refugees  ,  Angelina Jolie  , hosted the  End Sexual Violence in Conflict' Summit  in London between 10-13 June 2014. On 11thJune a panel was held on the  role of faith leaders in preventing and responding to sexual violence in conflict  .  MWNUK Coordinator and  Chaplain Shahin Ashraf  was a panelist and contributed on how faith leaders can get involved more.  She was approached by Angelina Jolie who commended her on her presentation.

  Forced Marriage Press Statement
and Sky News Interview

On the 16thJune 2014, MWNUK  welcomed  new laws  criminalising   Forced Marriage  which came into effect.  Faeeza Vaid  , Executive Director of Muslim Women's Network UK commented in our  Press Statement:  

úThe  impact  of being forced into marriage can be devastating for its victims. In agreement with Universal Human Rights, I believe that Forced marriages are unacceptable and  illegal in Islam  . And so the introduction of these criminal laws is not about scapegoating parents, individuals or communities, they are about standing firm for  justice  .

We need to continue  raising awareness  of this issue; to communities, to public service frontline workers, to policy influencers etc. These laws will only be effective if we put  resources  behind facilitating raising awareness and working together in a culturally appropriate and common sense manner. And we need to encourage victims  not  to suffer in silence. It is my personal hope that this law will act as a  deterrent  to those who think this abhorrent crime is acceptable.Ě

Faeeza also contributed to a  Sky News  Interview here.

  Child Sexual Exploitation
Awareness Raising

MWNUK Chair Shaista Gohir attended an international  conference  in Bradford on the 17thJune 2014,  Making Diverity Interventions Count.'  She presented a summary of the report  Unheard Voices: Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women  .Ratna Lacham (Director of Just West Yorkshire) also presented on the Bradford context and CSE and Alyas Karmani (Director of Street UK) presented on male attitudes on CSE / violence against women.

  Religious Leaders
Unite Against FGM

On 18thJune 2014, the  Home Office  organised a meeting to discuss the role of  faith leaders  and institutions in tackling FGM which was hosted by a number of Minsters including  Norman Baker, Minister for Crime Prevention  .  MWNUK Coordinator and Chaplain Shahin Ashraf attended the event.  Religious and community leaders have also signed a historic declaration condemning female genital mutilation. MWNUK is also a signatory and this was highlighted in a  Guardian article  :

Muslim Women\'s
Activism Conference

On the 26thJune 2014, MWNUK presented a panel called   Muslim Women Challenging Beliefs  ' at Derby University's Muslim Women's Activism Conference'. Presentations were made by  Dr. Laura Zahra McDonald  (in absentia) on A case for theological framing as a precursor to grassroots change',  Shaista Gohir  highlighted  Anti-Women Hadith,  and Faeeza Vaid presented  MWNUK  and the global movement  Musawah  as examples of activists using holistic frameworks of gender just Islamic law, Human Rights and Islamic Feminism.

  Why Are Muslim Women Not  

  Complaining About Public Services?  

(Manchester Focus Group Attendees)
The Parliamentary Health Service  Ombudsmen  commissioned MWNUK to find out  why  very low numbers of Muslim women complain about public services, bodies and departments.  Three focus groups were held in  Birmingham, Manchester  and  London  .  We explored the  barriers  which included: not being aware of the complaint process, fear of not being taken seriously and challenging authority, language barriers, feeling it will not make a difference, lack of confidence, accepting the bad service due to culture (e.g. acceptance and suffering in silence), the process taking too long etc.  One of the participants in Manchester  Saira Mirza  interviewed another two participants on the  Awaaz Community Radio Station  about their views.  You can hear the discussion  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 important that the needs to 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 and gaps in the document concerning Muslim women and how these can be addressed. The consultation is 9th July 2014, and we would like to receive your responses by  Friday 4thJuly 2014.  

You can comment on any aspect of the document.  However, we particularly welcome comments on:
  • 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?
  Please email  

MWNUK Supports Hajj
Awareness Campaign

On the 21st June 2014, MWNUK supported the launch of  Shabana Mahmood MP\'s  hajj awareness campaign. Shabana is keenly advocating to ensure that all those intending to travel for  Hajj  are protected. She has produced an information resource on how to book a hajj package and avoiding fraudulent travel agents; understanding the Saudi visa application process, and the importance of getting vaccinated against meningitis. Read more  here  .

  MWNUK Join
Campaign for Clean Air

MWNUK have joined  Friends of the Earth's Let\'s Get Moving' campaign,  which aims to tackle poor air quality in Birmingham through greater investment in walking and cycling.  Air pollution  is at  severe  , and sometimes  illegal  , levels in Birmingham; contributing to around 520 deaths in Birmingham every year.

The campaign targets Birmingham City Council (BCC) to address air pollution by investing in infrastructure that supports cyclists and pedestrians by committing  £10 per year per person  for the next ten years. For more information see  


Forced Marriage
-One Survivor\'s Story

One  MWNUK member  shared her story of how she was top in her class and wanted to pursue higher education, but her family did not let her and forced her into a marriage.  They felt it was more important for her to learn domestic chores than to obtain high grades at school. You can read  her full story  here:




  Musawah  advocate  Nani Zulminarni  receives award at Lotus Leadership Awards Gala Hosted by First U.S. Ambassador for Global Women's Issues for giving  Indonesia\'  s women heads of households a fighting chance. Read more here.


Documentary: Bastards

Bastards is a documentary that tells the story of how an iliterate woman took on tradition, her own family and the Moroccan legal system for the sake of her illegitimate child. It\'s an uplifting positive film about a woman using the reformed laws in Morocco to get justice.  The film should be of interest to lawyers as well as women\'s and children\'s rights campaigners.  It will be released in the UK on 11th July 2014. To watch a short preview and about screenings click here:


FGM Law Expanded

The Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) legislation has been strengthened after small number of cases could not be prosecuted because they did not involve permanent residents.  The ban can now be enforced against foreign nationals deemed to be "habitually resident" in the UK.  Read More here.

Police \'Failing\'
Over Discrimination

A report has found significant failings in the way three English police forces (West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire) deal with allegations of discrimination by the public. Complaints, mostly of racial discrimination, were poorly handled and officers did not believe those making the complaints. Read more here.

Drop in Rape

The conviction rate for rape dropped in the last 12 months after five years of steady improvements. Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, wants to put measures into place to improve conviction rate.  Read More here.


Living Islam Festival

The Living Islam Festival is a national festival that will be held at Lincolnshire Showground. The festival will draw many Muslim intellectuals and scholars, dignitaries, officials and businesses to it. Over 5,000+ ticket holders will attend the Living Islam Festival for a spiritual holiday experience, travelling from over 40 towns and cities from the UK and other parts of Europe. This year the festival will coincide for the first time with the occasion of Eid and will be held 31stJuly to 3rdAugust 2014.

You can find out more and buy tickets here:

  FREE Israel ď Palestine Politics Course for Students  

Applications are now open for the One Voice Europe Youth Leadership Residential Programme that will take place on 8-10thSept 2014 in London. The criteria is to be 18-25 years old on 8thSept 2014.

Every year, OneVoice ( holds a residential programme for university students in London, which includes those who have just completed their A-levels and are about to go to university for the first time. The course involves talks and workshops from politicians, religious leaders, university lecturers and ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, and covers topics around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict such as: the role of religion, the role of the USA, EU & UN, history & narratives of the conflict, economics and the conflict, potential solutions for the conflict, public speaking and debating skills.

The programme is free, although voluntary contributions are welcome from those who can afford to fund some, or all, of the cost of their place on the course. Please contact Sharon Alsoodani ( for an application form, or if you would like any further information. Application deadline is 23rdJuly 2014.

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 Ramadaan Message
MWNUK Have Moved Office
Congratulations Nazmin Akthar
Mediation and Arbitration Conference
Faith Leaders Panel at Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit
Forced Marriage Press Statement and Sky News Interview
Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Raising
Religious Leaders Unite Against FGM
Muslim Women\'s Activism Conference
Why Are Muslim Women Not Complaining About Public Services?
Call for Consultation Participation
MWNUK Support Hajj Awareness Campaign
MWNUK Join Campaign for Clean Air

Forced Marriage- One Survivor\'s Story


Documentary: Bastards

Drop in rape convictions
Police \'failing\' over discrimination
FGM Law Expanded

Living Islam Festival
Free Israel-Palestine Politics Course for Students

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

Contact Us

The Warehouse
54-57 Allison Street
B5 5TH

T: 0121 236 9000

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Muslim Women's Network UK
The Warehouse
54-57 Allison Street
B5 5TH

Registered Charity No. 1155092

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Tel: 0121 236 9000
Mobile: 07415 206936

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