Muslim Women Rise Against Violence – Postcards Sent To Mosques On Valentine Day
Why involve Mosques?
Violence against women and girls is the most widespread form of abuse in the world. In Britain, violence is vastly under reported in Muslim communities and many women and girls continue to suffer in silence. The levels of violence are indicative of the lack of respect for women and girls. Changing attitudes is therefore the first step to reducing violence – men need to be educated that violence is unacceptable and never justifiable and women must be encouraged to not continue accepting violence.
Names of 100 Mosques contacted
There are approximately 1600 mosques in Britain – however postcards have only been sent to100 mosques across Britain. They have been selected based on their size, location and diversity with regards to ethnic background / sect. Click here to see.
Actions that Mosques can take
We also want to use this campaign to highlight those mosques that already are or are willing to take action to try and end all forms of violence against women and girls. Here are some examples of actions you could be taking:
• Speaking out against all forms of violence
• Intervening and helping victims
• Holding perpetrators accountable
• Offering a safe space for women to seek help or hold support groups
• Raising awareness by displaying posters, providing information or through talks and sermons
• Using zakat to help victims
• Educating community members to teach their sons to respect women and girls
Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) is rising to end violence as a part of the global One Billion Rising campaign. On 14th February 2013, activists across the world will be demanding an end to violence against women and girls through their own local activities and campaigns. To mark this occasion, MWNUK has launched the ‘Muslim Women Rising Against Violence – Mosque Postcard Campaign.’ They have posted cards to 100 mosques in Britain calling on them to help end violence against girls and women such as forced marriage, honour crimes, domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, rape, sexual exploitation and child abuse.
Chair of Muslim Women’s Network UK, Shaista Gohir MBE, said: “All forms of violence are vastly under reported in Muslim communities. Many victims continue to suffer in silence due to fear or shame and some men wrongly use faith to try and justify their behaviour, which acts as a further barrier to seeking help. Such views must be robustly challenged and mosques can reach out to communities, especially men in a way that women’s organisations can’t.”
The postcard that has been sent to each mosque asks them to respond by pledging an action they are willing to take or may already be taking. Some of the choices include:raising awareness by displaying information or through talks and sermons; offering a safe space for women to seek help or hold support groups; providing funding to help victims; and educating community members to teach their sons to respect women and girls. Those mosques that take action will be highlighted on MWNUK website.
Birmingham Central Mosque has already pledged support for the campaign and will make an announcement at the next Friday sermon urging male worshippers to take a postcard and also plan to organize educational talks aimed at men. Dr. Mohammad Naseem, Chair of Birmingham Central Mosque said: “It is an obligation for mosques to follow in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammed and promote the rights of women and challenge the ignorant attitudes that men hold about women and, which are due to the lack of Islamic knowledge and low educational levels within communities.”
Shaista Gohir added: Globally one in three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime and in Britain 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Such levels of violence are indicative of the lack of respect for women and girls across all cultures and faiths. Changing attitudes is therefore the first step in reducing violence – men and boys need to be educated that violence is unacceptable and never justifiable while women and girls must be encouraged not continue to accept violence.