The Muslim organization IERA held the biggest womens’ conference in Europe on the weekend addressing issues like Islamophobia, feminism and western politics.
The “Seeds of Change” conference was organized by the Islamic Education and Research Academy on Sunday which gave some of the most influential Muslim women in Britain a platform.
The one-day conference attracted more than 1,600 attendees with the intention of changing the perception of Islam in the UK and confronting the misconception that Muslim women are subjugated and oppressed by Islam.
Six non-Muslim attendees converted to Islam during the conference.
Islam and feminism
Delegates heard from Director of “Seeds of Change”, Fatima Barkatulla, about Islam’s solution to feminism. She stated that it was a divinely-ordained solution that women need and that Islam provides. Ms Barkatulla invited the women of Europe, including FEMEN activists who earlier called on Muslim women to take part in a “Topless Jihad”, to look at Islam with an open mind because millions of women in Europe were finding liberation in the religion.
Broadcaster and Journalist Lauren Booth, (Tony Blair’s sister-in-law), who converted to Islam in 2010, told attendees how Islam had enriched her life and why she left feminism for Islam.
Journalist and ex-captive of the Taliban, Yvonne Ridley, urged Muslim women to respond to the rise in Islamophobia in the wake of the Woolwich attack by positively engaging with their neighbours and colleagues. She also made calls for Europe’s politicians to stop persecuting Muslim women who choose to cover themselves.
International life-coach and counsellor, Rahma Abdulatif, provided an insight into creating an Islamic family culture which is the bedrock of any successful society. The importance and value of motherhood was highlighted and its role in shaping generations was a key theme throughout the conference.
Chairman of IERA, Abdurraheem Green, said that he believes women are absolutely indispensable in changing the current perceptions of Islam in our world.
Well known academic and scholar, Dr. Muhammad Akram Nadwi, encouraged women to become scholars as they had been in the rich and vibrant peak of Islamic civilization.
Ms Barkatulla said: “It was absolutely incredible to meet so many talented Muslim women, ready to be agents of change in Europe. The message was clear: we are intelligent, hard-working women who have chosen Islam and are proud to be Muslims.
“We are tired of negative media caricatures of us, everyone speaking about us and for us – but not listening to us. We have mobilised hundred of women, each representing a whole community, to positively share the message of Islam in Europe”