Topics that dominate the representation of Muslims in the British media today are “women” and “extremism”. As Qantara reports, though, Sara Khan, Director of Inspire, and award-winning British Muslim consultancy, claims that “Muslim women feel that these topics are inadequately addressed by Muslims themselves”. Therefore, two British organizations have decided to take action against the ways in which extremists are causing conflict by claiming to speak and act in the name of God.
Sara Khan argues that the word “Jihad” urgently needs to be reclaimed from extremists, as it is “a core principle in Islamic teaching that encourages Muslims to strive and struggle for a just cause”. In partnership with the Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council, Inspire launched the Jihad Against Violence campaign this summer to empower Muslim women “to reclaim the mantle of cultural, intellectual and moral legitimacy as equal citizens and contributors of society”; this can support them in creating cohesive societies and fighting extremism.
According to Qantara, Jihad Against Violence also encourages “women and men to stand up to all forms of violence, to educate and raise awareness, and to challenge those who perversely use Islam to incite or carry out aggression”. As demonstrated at a conference in London in June 2011, Inspire is generally interested in challenging dominant conservative views on gender and strives to provide a more contextualized understanding of women. They will soon be launching other projects as part of Jihad Against Violence, including the provision of detailed resources online, trainings in mosques and awareness-raising campaigns.
29 April 2011
For this article, the author has met British Muslim women who have taken on the fight against Islamic extremism. Tehmina Kazi, for example, who defended imam and lecturer Usama Hasan, who had received death threats after declaring that evolution were compatible with Islam. She is also the director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, an organisation that has always been headed by a woman, supports a young Muslim leadership programme, holds demonstrations against radical groups like Islam4UK and stands for diversity within Islam. The article cites many examples of female activism within the Muslim community and in society.
A group of Muslim women honored soldiers who died fighting for the UK by placing a wreath at the National Memorial Arboretum in England, according to the BBC. The early July ceremony occurred on the anniversary of the death of Lance Cpl. Jabron Hashmi, the first British Muslim soldier to die in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan on July 2006.
The Armed Forces Muslim Association organized the event. Members said 500 Muslims are currently serving in the British armed forces. Muslims soldiers served the UK in World War I and World War II.
LONDON – In a move to assure its Muslim community introduction of the first ID cards in Britain since the Second World War was not signaling them out, the government will reportedly exempt Muslim women from showing their faces on the controversial ID cards. On Monday, April 26, British Home Secretary, David Blunkett is to unveil plans for a national pilot of biometric testing, the technology used in ID cards, as part of a draft Bill to crack down on identity fraud, according to the Independent daily Sunday, April 25. As cards introduction, Blunkett came under severe attacks for not allowing enough debate over the ID British officials made it clear that if Muslim women do not want to reveal their faces in public, that would be respected, reported the Observer Sunday. “Instead of a photograph, there would be an exemption for certain people, who would only have to give fingerprint and iris-recognition data.