She Speaks We Hear

Bringing women's voices together, unaltered, unadulterated


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Women’s Peace Tribute following London Bridge and Borough Market Attacks

She Speaks We Hear organised a Women’s Peace Tribute with Women’s March on London, following the brutal atrocity in Manchester, in which twenty-two people were killed and 116 injured in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena. We never expected to also be paying tribute to victims of two further attacks, that took place on Saturday night,  4 June 2017, on London Bridge and Borough Market. Julie Siddiqi reflects on the tribute:

On Sunday evening a few women got together to meet, to share, to listen, to connect. The same women who came together on Westminster Bridge met this time at the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park (no idea why I have never been before, it’s so nice!). It was a lovely couple of hours with old friends and some new. I was completely oblivious to the photographer most of the time but she captured some lovely moments as you can see here. I cried that evening when I tried to speak. We had originally arranged the small gathering post Manchester. Then the London attack happened and we decided to still carry on the next day. It felt raw, still does. Sometimes it is so important to meet and be with others, good people. I was grateful that evening to have that opportunity and it helped to laugh and to cry with good people around. I post it not so you can see my crying face necessarily but I hope people reading this will consider and find chances to do something similar, when you feel you need it, whatever works for you, because it really can be a great help 

By Julie Siddiqi

Julie Siddiqi is a mentor, consultant and activist with a focus on gender issues, Jewish-Muslim relations and social action. Julie was the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Britain from 2010-2014, Founder and Director of Sadaqa Day, a one day Muslim-led focus on social action, and is co-chair of Jewish and Muslims women’s network, Nisa-Nashim.

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My Faith Inspires Me To Express Myself Freely And Peacefully

by Sabrina Mahmood

Spirituality, Muslim women and expression.

Spirituality, Muslim women and expression. Image by Roszeen Afsar

It’s safe to say that there are times when we all feel like we need to say something but for whatever reason, we hold back and let the moment pass. When you add being a Muslim and woman into the equation it sometimes seems like an impossible feat to be heard. That is in no way because Islam treats women as lesser people in society, but largely due to patriarchy of the cultures we have been brought up in. It is the dichotomy between Islam and culture.
Freedom of expression for women is essential to our faith and always has been. Let’s forget some of the awful examples of our times, where we hear of oppression towards Muslim women in certain societies. If we look at the best example we have, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the example that we should all strive to be like, we are shown that women were able to ask questions, express their views and they were an integral part of society. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was greatly loved and respected by his wives who were treated with great respect and love. This clearly shows us the validity and importance of Muslim women in Islam.
I have often felt that as a Muslim woman, it is sometimes harder to speak with other Muslim women about certain issues as they do not want to hear about anything negative or any questions about their beliefs. But talking, debating and discussing are so vital in affirming what is right and wrong, and actually understanding the Islamic basis of our beliefs, rather than what society and many cultures have imposed. Isn’t it about time that we stand in solidarity and support each other?
I believe regardless of whether a person is Muslim or not, we should allow ourselves to listen to their opinions, even when we do not agree, and to be understanding and thoughtful. The basis for good character of a Muslim is truthfulness and patience, so if we inject this into our own lives with sincerity, we are able to listen to and understand the opinions of other people.

Islam teaches us not to categorise ourselves into groups:

‘Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects, you have no concern with them…’ [Quran 6:159]

Essentially, we should not divide ourselves religiously and on a deeper level, in any way whatsoever. We are all equal, we are all human and therefore should all be able to express ourselves freely, whether we are Muslim women, or not.
And in the times when we do feel that people are intolerant, we return their negativity and criticism with the positivity and love that the Prophet (pbuh) showed us. I would never have called myself a spiritual person before or even thought about what it can do to a person, but since I sought God, I have had an immense wave of peace and humanity in my life. Because the true crux of Islamic faith, is that connection with the Creator, and anyone who feels that, will never be harsh or rude or arrogant in their expression. Because that deep, binding love for Allah, it completes their opinions and expressions with morality and humility.

 

Sabrina Mahmood blogs at www.theinternaldebate.wordpress.com and you can follow her at @sabrina01m

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.

Image credits: Roszeen Afsar http://instagram.com/inkyartbyroszeen