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News 2008
News ->National Muslim Women's Advisory Group Launched

(31 January 2008)

Fareen AlamThe National Muslim Women's Advisory group (NMWAG) was formally launched today by the Prime Minister. NMWAG will be led by 19 Muslim women representing a wide spectrum of communities, professions and traditions. They will discuss issues and concerns that affect Muslim women, for example education, employment, access for women to mosques and their management committees and cultural barriers including issues around forced marriages.

NMWAG comprises of a group of women who are in positions of leadership or are working with communities. They will meet several times a year and are an independent informal group advising on issues to empower Muslim women and increase their participation in civic, economic and social life. NMWAG has been set up by Communities and Local Government as part of its work to prevent violent extremism.

The Government believes that we need to do more to help the voices of moderation in our communities be heard and listened to. This group will also help to encourage more women to engage with individuals at risk of being targeted by violent extremists.

The Prime Minister said: "Muslim women have a huge role to play in helping us build a stronger, better society. That is why I am delighted today to mark the official launch of the National Muslim Women's Advisory Group. From a range of different communities and traditions, and with careers including business, journalism, academia and public service, the group represents an extraordinary richness of experience and understanding.

The group is made up of women who have first-hand knowledge of what is happening in our communities. They will report on the progress of existing projects, and they will suggest imaginative new ways to give Muslim women a real voice and the opportunity to play a bigger role in their community.

The specific remit of the group will be to:

* act as ambassadors for Muslim women at grass roots and represent their views and concerns to Government;

* provide leadership to communities and act as positive role models for Muslim women in society;

* empower Muslim women to engage more with the media on a wide range of issues and help dispel myths around the role of Muslim women in society;

* meet in the form of a round table to discuss issues and concerns that are affecting Muslim women eg. Access for women in Mosques.

* map out what work is currently taking place across the country to empower Muslim women and then draw up specific action plan for each region and work out where the gaps are.


A list of the women on the advisory group:

Siddika Ahmed, Oldham
Siddika is a Director of PeaceMaker a voluntary organisation in Oldham, and she has led on work promoting cohesion since the 2001 disturbances.

Fareena Alam, London
Fareena is the editor of the magazine Q-News, popular with Britain's Muslim communities. It provides analysis of current affairs, culture, ideas and spirituality.

Farkhanda Chaudhry, Glasgow
Farkhanda has worked in the voluntary sector for more than 20 years - in youth and community work, poverty and deprivation, and race equality development. She is a board and management committee member of a number of agencies such as the Muslim Women's Resource Centre in Glasgow and the Scottish Interfaith Council.

Rukaiya Jeraj, London
Rukaiya works for Muslim Youth Helpline and manages Muslim This is Britain's first guidance and support channel for Muslim youth.

Tasneem Mahmood, Leicester
Tasneem graduated in Political Science and Social policy and carried out research into second generation British Muslims. She is actively involved in the Muslim Youthwork Foundation - an organisation that creates a positive space for young people to have their voices heard.

Adeeba Malik, Bradford
Adeeba is Deputy Chief Executive of Bradford-based charity QED (Quest for Economic Development) UK which aims to improve the economic, social and educational position of South Asian communities. She is also Chair of the Ethnic Minority Business Forum and was awarded an MBE in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours list for her services to ethnic minority communities.

Sabin Malik, London
Sabin is the principal community cohesion officer for the London Borough of Hounslow with substantial community and local authority experience leading local and national Government initiatives focused on community cohesion, community development and extremism. She is currently leading on a major study on far right extremism and religious fundamentalism.

Sabira Murtaza Lakha, London
Sabira has a Masters in Law from the University of Warwick where she specialised in comparing the English and Sharia legal systems. Sabira is a volunteer with community groups in London and a keen promoter of civil and political participation for both faith based and ethnic communities.

Batool Al Toma, Leicester
Batool Al-Toma is a research and education officer at the Islamic Foundation and has devised and facilitated a number of training seminars, conferences, and educational forums both on and offline. As coordinator of the New Muslims Project she has established a variety of services related to the overall support, education and continuing development of converts to Islam in the UK.

Parvin Ali, Leicester
Parvin is the founder director of Forum for Advocacy, Training and Information in a Multicultural Area (FATIMA), which is a regional women's network that supports the economic empowerment of all women, especially those from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds.

Shaista Gohir, Birmingham
Shaista is involved in a number of Birmingham based and national initiatives that aim to increase Muslim women's participation in mainstream and community decision-making processes. She is Director of Muslim Voice UK (MVUK), the UK's first Muslim opinion online polling organisation which she established in 2005.

Shahien Taj, Cardiff
Shahien is founder and director of All Wales Saheli Association, a specialist user-led agency that works to advance the needs, concerns and aspirations of Asian and Muslim children and families. She is also Executive Director of the Henna Foundation, which provides advice for Asian women.

Reedah El-Saie, London
Reedah is a qualified barrister and set up ArRum, the UK's first club promoting Islamic art and culture based in Clerkenwell, London. She has planned events celebrating cultural diversity including debates, workshops, art exhibitions, film screenings, theatre, music, poetry and lectures dealing with current socio-political, economic and interfaith issues.

Zulekha Dala, Nelson, Lancashire
Zulekha works for Lancashire County Council and has pioneered programmes around cohesion and developing models of social enterprise for ethnic communities. In addition she was one of the founding members of 'Sahara' a women's organisation in West Lancashire in the 1980's, which led the way on issues such as domestic violence.

Rokshanna Fiaz, London
Rokhsana is the founding director of the Change Institute which specialises in public policy around race, faith, corporate affairs. She is leading work with the European Commission around extremism and de-radicalisation and has also been an ambassador for Muslim-Jewish dialogue and tackling discrimination.

Samina Kauser, North West
Samina has led on engagement with young people since the 2001 disturbances working closely with Asian gangs and breaking down barriers for young women.

Shahda Khan, Middlesbrough
Shahda is a Social Policy graduate who has worked at both Sunderland and Teesside Universities. She now works in partnership with key agencies within the private, community, voluntary and faith sector both locally and regionally to promote the social inclusion of hard to reach communities.

Naheed Arshad-Mather MBE, Yorkshire and Humber
Naheed is self-employed working in Higher Education sector both at under-graduate and postgraduate levels. She is a member of Voice 4 Change England with expertise in the field of education, housing, criminal justice system and the third sector.

Andleen Razaq, London
Andleen is a secondary school teacher and a trustee of City Circle, an organisation promoting the development of a distinct British Muslim identity. It seeks to promote community cohesion and integration by building alliances between Muslim and non-Muslim communities and by developing the skills and resources of Muslim professionals into practical projects at a community level.

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