Muslim women in SA unite

2012-09-27 00:00

A GROUP of Muslim women has formed a national organisation aimed at serving as a collective voice for South African women who follow the Islamic faith.

The South African Council for Muslim Women (SACMW) was launched at the inaugural Muslimah Today conference organised by ILM for Women, a branch of the Institute for Learning and Motivation-South Africa (ILM-SA) in Durban last weekend.

Academic and activist Lubna Nadvi — who suggested the formation of the council during a presentation she made at the conference — said close to a hundred women had expressed an interest in being involved.

“Our goal as women hailing from different ideological, racial and cultural backgrounds is to be a collective voice for South African Musim women on all relevant issues.

“We aim to strive towards inclusivity of participation by South African Muslim women from all walks of life and to provide a platform for the discussion of all matters relating to the Islamic faith as they pertain to both the local and global context.”

Fatima Asmal-Motala, the director of ILM-SA, said she was elated that the initiative had been launched during the conference. “Muslimah Today is about motivating women to play a significant role in society, and letting their voices be heard, and their contributions be recognised.

“I hope SACMW will serve as a platform whereby what we learnt at the conference from a group of amazing women can be implemented.”

She said it was important to recognise that while several women who had expressed an interest in joining ­SACMW were actively involved in studying various branches of Islamic Sciences, the organisation was not a theological one. “… it is a well-known fact that there are various ideological groupings within the Islamic community — the council is not a theological organisation and thus does not subscribe to any particular ideology and welcomes women from the various groupings to join and make input.”

Asmal-Motala described Muslimah Today as a “phenomenal success”, and said she hoped to see it taking place in other provinces in the near future.

She said several women who were not Muslim “were pleasantly surprised to interact with a group of eloquent, articulate, proactive and empowered women, both from amongst the speakers, as well as delegates”.

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