Women’s rights campaigner Shaista Gohir gets OBE

Shaista Gohir

Shaista Gohir, the head of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, picked up her OBE (Order of the British Empire) from Buckingham Palace yesterday.

Gohir was awarded the honour in June when the Queen’s Birthday Honours list was published, recognising a range of people for their service to women’s and LGB&T equality.

At the time Helene Reardon-Bond OBE, Government Equalities Office Acting Director, said: “I am pleased to congratulate everyone who has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The Government Equalities Office is truly grateful for their efforts and dedication to promote and support key issues for women and LGB&T people. They have surpassed expectations in helping to fulfil our goal of extending opportunity to all.”

In March the government awarded £114,000 to the Muslim Women’s Network UK to expand their “specialist” and “culturally sensitive” service to Muslim women and girls from diverse backgrounds suffering or at risk of abuse.

On its website the MWNUK says it aims to promote the needs of diverse Muslim women. Its vision is for a “society where Muslim women can have an effective voice and the opportunity to exercise their rights to contribute equally. And “to gather evidence about the experiences of Muslim women and girls on key issues affecting them and use the information to improve their rights through advocacy and campaigning.”

MNW describes itself as an “Islamic feminist movement that uses the Quran’s spirit of equality and justice to challenge human interpretations (based on culture and tradition) that discriminate against women and girls, to achieve equal rights and opportunities for all.”

However, in recent years Muslim organisations that have taken money from the government have been shunned due to vast sections of the community being opposed to the government’s Prevent strategy which is seen by many as an ideological attack on Islam and Muslims.

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