The Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) is urging mosques to support their anti-violence campaign.
On 14 February , 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."
MWNUK is an independentnetwork of women across the UK that shares knowledge, connects the voices, and promotes the needs of diverse Muslim women. To find out more about the organisation see www.mwnuk.co.uk