Panel Discussion – The Role of Women in the Muslim Community
Channel: Navaid Aziz
File Size: 52.43MB
Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa sallahu wa Sallim wa barik ala nabina Muhammad didn't wanna and he was talking to
my dear brothers and sisters as salaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh
by show of hands who's here for the first time in this location if you're here for the first time, raise your hands Mashallah. So I would say the vast majority of you are here for the first time. Welcome to the new ISC downtown location hamdulillah the ISC you know, got this space earlier this year, and it's, it's been a big blessing from Allah subhana wa Tada. So now the fact that our very first holiday in this location is about the role of women in the Muslim community, in Shell, I hope will speak volumes to the coming decades to come, and the services and activities that this facility offers within the hinayana. With that said, This event has been coming for about nine months in the
making almost the original plan was to hold this event in January, when he was the father of Allah subhana wa tada due to circumstances and circumstances, it just wasn't possible. And now finally attended that we have this space, Allah subhanho wa Taala facilitated it to make this our inaugural event. Now to give you some backstory as to why this event has is being held. There is a documentary that was released within the past two years called unmasked. And this documentary talked about how millennials specifically, but fame, actually millennials in general, and females, specifically felt as if they were unmasked that they didn't have a motive to call home. And these numbers were
drastically increasing year by year. And when you look at this concept, it's a very scary concept to think that, you know, half of our community, the part that represents our mothers, our sisters, our wives, and our daughters are feeling as if they don't have a space in the masjid is a very scary thought. They called White, any Muslim community, any Muslim did not feel a part of a community, and you make it on top of that it is those that are taking care of our children, those that our wives, our sisters and our mothers. It just isn't befitting. So I wanted to have tonight's discussion to give the sisters an opportunity to share what their experiences have been like in the Muslim
community. Have they faced any challenges? What have been some of the bright spots that they have faced, right? It can't all be negative, there has to be some positive. And then we start planning for the future. What is the future for Muslim women in this community in particular, and across the globe in general look like. We know that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam used to take a specific day out of the week to educate women just one exclusive day. And that was something that the men didn't have. There was no exclusivity clause for the men. Yet whenever there was an opportunity Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam would educate them. And this shows us that the
Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam showed, you know, very special attention to the tarbiyah the upbringing and nurturing of women and fostering a healthy relationship with the Muslim women in the community. And within it, tada, that is what we're hoping to set the foundational stones for tonight by the will of Allah subhanaw taala. So what I will start off by doing is just mentioning a brief bio of our three panelists and our three presenters. So we have Sr hajia. We have Sr roula. And we have Sr. So and I'll just be really reading their bios, one by one, starting with Sr hijjah. She is a wife and blesses mother of three girls. She's an interior designer by profession, and she's the
former director of women's affairs and the Muslim association of Calgary. She is also the former a mirror of the one on my conference, the ICS conference, an IC initiative and the founder and the founder of Hayato Muslim, a local sisters organization. That is a very brief summary of the work that she has done but Mashallah she has been a very contributing member of the Calvary community in general. And I'm not sure that anytime something needs to be done in the community, you can almost always count on her to help out and be a part of it. Then we have SR route a bus route bus is an Alberta Health registered midwife, and Alberta Health recognized public health advocate through the
mosaic primary care network. She has worked with the United Nations on site in Lebanon, serving displaced Syrian refugees. This experience has led her to dedicate her focus on serving this community professionally. Today she works exclusively with the marginalized minority and refugee patient populations of the city, in part through the refugee clinic and the communities of Northeast Calgary. rula holds a Master's of Science in midwifery. her master's thesis revolved around creating practice guidelines for primary care providers on how to provide religiously sensitive character Muslim women in Canada. She has been invited to share her findings on a variety of platforms, with
crowds compromising of both community members and primary care providers. This public advocacy has in turn provokes changes in policy to help to better serve this population. extracurricular Li rula is the co founder of Camp midibus, a youth camp that runs annual camps for young boys and girls.
centered around the life experiences, character development, and religious refinement. It is an endeavor sponsored by Tim Hortons, and it aims to help foster experiences in order to empower and encourage youth on the road to self discovery. And last but not least, we have sisters so odd sisters so aren't inspired by her mother's strength and commitment to creating a legacy of empowering others. She started her journey as a community advocate at the age of 12. As a member of the mayor's Youth Council organizing citywide events. By age 21, she co founded girls night out a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing young women ages seven to 25 leadership training
through a fun and exciting environment that fosters Islamic values, love and learning. She was appointed as a board member of the Calgary Islamic chamber Institute. This role made her the youngest and only female director in the organization's history, sister so it has also been an active humanitarian leader with Islamic Relief Canada. In the last year alone, she organized 10 events for the charity raising over $280,000 by profession. So it is an experienced banker, who is known for helping educating, mentoring and supporting both her clients and staff and staff as they develop strategic plans for their future outside of our work. So it is the middle sibling of five,
she loves meeting new people enjoys the adrenaline pumping activities, she says hiking and outdoor activities and is currently learning how to bake. So our brothers and sisters, this is our panel for tonight. Now the way the panel is going to work in sha Allah will posing questions to them generally, and then questions to them specifically. And we will do that for approximately 45 minutes or so. And then after the 45 minutes are over, I want to open up the floor to our audience members in sha Allah. And the purpose of that, particularly for the sisters, I would like the sisters to share any experiences, positive or negative that they have had in the community, and what they feel
we can do to improve on those circumstances and situations. And likewise, if there's any questions that you'd like to pose to the panelists, then we can pose that to our panelists as well. So with that, having been said, the very first question that I have for all of our panelists in sha Allah is what is your experience in the Muslim community in Calgary been like? What are some of the challenges that you faced? And what can be done about those challenges in sha Allah?
Starting with challenges, I guess this is a pretty heavy subject for I think every woman in this room, we generally face challenges on a regular basis, let alone being Muslim and let alone being in a smaller size communities such as Muslim community in Calgary.
For me, and my challenges started very young age having been involved for I think, before I could start walking, my parents were both involved. So I was in the scene of community. When I became aware,
I became aware of those challenges.
Think I have to stop right here?
Okay, that's okay.
Challenges since starting at a young age and being involved with a community, it became very quickly prevalent, that there's a little bit of internal racism that goes on between women and men. And it was the idea that a woman needs to be sheltered, she needs to have her opinion validated. Somebody, and usually in the finger of a male needs to make sure that she's seen so she's not really seen on her own. And this was a challenge primarily because growing up, I was relatively shy. And being a shy girl, you don't get your opinion stated, no one listens to you. Forget being a woman forget being a Muslim on who's involved, but also just being a shy person. Sure enough, in my early teens,
I learned to be very vocal. And with that came strengthen support. I mentioned before, this was the supportive men for me.
Handle I was blessed to have both my parents supporting me, but also for my father, a fairly good fairly well known figure in the community. If I ever caught myself in a stuck point, All I knew is he was kind of behind me and whoever the man was typically a man, women don't usually cause the problem out loud, mind you, women have their own challenges within women. But with men in general, there was there had to be another man who stood by my side and said, No, what she's doing is okay, what she's doing is correct. And this is a little bit of doubt, to be very honest with you as far as challenges were concerned because I felt a little less than, but I knew I was capable. I constantly
had support from my family and the community as a whole there was multiple community members who are always very supportive of the work I was doing male and female. And so for me, I think that would be the biggest challenge that
It came with community work and being a Muslim woman in my Muslim community
was having that comfort and confidence that I could do what I thought was right. And of course, with Dr. Les pantalla, that what I am doing is the right way that he should guide me that it wasn't fair that there was the roadblock there.
Secondly, your second part of the question, shake my head, and what can be done about that particular challenge that you faced, what can be done about this particular challenge that I faced. So for me, it was the support of men. All along my father and my brothers both. And as I mentioned earlier, the brothers in our community who were very supportive of me, I think the most important thing to overcome this challenge for any woman is a supportive men. The same goes behind every great man is a great woman, or a woman, in my words, agree to a woman.
But I think it's very important for men, whether they be fathers brothers, primarily these two figures, and then of course, afterwards, husbands, even brother in laws, there's no restriction grandparents,
cousins, all of these men have a very important role to play, to make sure that these women are not being caught up in the challenge itself. Just like, Look, I thank you for sharing.
It's a little bit different than Todd's because all of my community engagement is very niche, which means that it's very, like specific. So because my profession is health and health related things, I usually
I'm trying, I wish I was, I usually get asked to speak about topics.
And because the community has asked for it in some way, or form. And so I don't necessarily have those same challenges where I have to stick up for myself. But what I do find very challenging when doing those kinds of community things is that I am often left out of like the creative process of an event. So I will pitch an idea or the community will come to me with an idea.
And I will agree. And the understanding is that I will just show up and sort of disseminate the knowledge. But I don't have much creative control. And I don't have much say about
the actual logistics of the event. And I think that that is a problem a lot of times because sometimes we don't get the turnout that we're hoping for.
Because oftentimes, it's important of men kind of creating an events for women. And they don't necessarily understand the challenges, or the different logistical things that need to be put in place for a successful event to happen for women.
And so I find that very challenging, because they go through all of the effort, like there's a ton of effort on their part, but it's often lost.
Because I'm not, or a female is not brought on to the creative process of it all, and giving sort of her insight about what she believes needs to happen for the event to be more successful.
On a separate note, I have also sought sat on an organization's board. And the challenge that I faced there, I was also asked to sit on that board. But a challenge that I faced there is that they wanted me to be on the board in order for them to show that women were being represented in the community. But then I was asked not to show up to the meetings.
So it was like they were using my name to say that there was a female on their board and they were being like inclusive. But in actuality, I was just kind of like a figurehead I never got to get my opinions, I never got to show up to the meetings. And ultimately, I resigned from that position because I felt like they were making decisions without my approval. And that didn't feel like ethically correct. So that was another challenging scenario. For me. It's kind of like they want women or they want I should speak for myself, they would like me but in a very specific capacity, and not necessarily to my fullest capacity.
And ultimately, my intention is to serve the community in whatever capacity it is that is
and my intention is for last one oh Tada. But it's just very disheartening to see sometimes effort and money going from the community's pocket moreso than my own. And for it to like kind of fall flat because there were some things that were missed along the way that it could have been fixed.
And the second part of the question was what can be done, it's just basically getting input from the sisters or getting input from the speaker or from the host because
you're trusting them and their skill set and their vision. So they might have insight that you don't see not because
of any lack of knowledge on your end, but maybe like lack of experience.
So just bringing women onto that creative end, I think would help that.
Does that look at?
Okay, this isn't working.
Okay, so my answer will close. The answer will answer both of your questions at the same time. Sure.
My experience in both leadership positions in the community and volunteer positions have been unusable, but well predicted. The first time I participated on a Muslim board, there were only two sisters alongside numerous men. These two leaders were myself and one other, were each given half a vote to make a wonderful vote, while the brothers each made a wonderful vote each. But the kindness about this story is that the brothers had just I had just met fought against this without even telling us about it. When we heard about it, we were upset, but knowing that they had fought against us, I thought this is good. This is brothers that are fighting for sisters participation, and
rights. However, I will not forget how badly I was judged for occupying the position of CO director of women's affairs, not just by the brothers, but from what I heard, were also the sisters in the community that were doing the harsh judging. It was shocking that women in the community were criticizing what I had no business occupying a role that was representing the women in the community, I guess they thought the brothers could represent this, the needs of a woman better than I can as a female.
And I thought rather than tearing each other down, we need to focus on celebrating the success of our women. In this date, we are showing one another that we as women are devalued and do not have the equal space that men have.
When I was asked to head a committee of all brothers, these brothers became my teachers, they invited me in, let me run the show, as I saw fit, and taught me what I needed to know, along the way, they didn't give up on me, this was a kindness that I would never forget. And this is what grew me and kept me involved. Also, when I had the idea to start my own women's organization, these same brothers immediately, without hesitation, gave me their full support each step of the way. Fast forward five years later, the organization has been a success from day one. This is what our community needs, for success for success. With treatment like this from brothers to our sisters, our
community will thrive almost effortlessly in if everyone in the community had my experiences, then this is when we know as a community, we're in good hands. This is when we know our community has reached positive change.
This is like a look at security much. You know, two funny things that stuck out for me and I left only because of how awkward it was, number one, asking sisters to be a part of the board. And then asking them not to show up to the meetings, but rather dial in because you know, sorry, we can't accommodate to you. And I often wonder, you know, why does that happen? And then number two, being asked to be on the committee but only being given half of a vote. And I'm not even sure where you know, that type of thinking comes from. It's not Western thinking. And it's not Islamic thinking either. So I'm not sure where that sort of thinking would come from, which is that American for
sharing those experiences. The second question I have for the panel.
I want you to imagine 10 years from now, a decade from now? Where would you like to see the role of women in the Muslim community, in particular, with the activities that are being held for them? And what can we do to start preparing for that? So imagine 10 years from now, what is the role of Muslim women in community look like? What activities are being held? And what can we do from now to prepare for that inshallah? Stuff mechanical?
stuff, mechanical? Definitely. This one, I feel like has put a really good intro into this question, with her experiences, and I'm kind of jealous, not gonna lie that your experiences with that great pleasure.
I'd like to think it's because some people suffered, and some people reap the benefits, which was really good.
10 years from now, honestly, I see your community as it is now, because it's very strong. But better, a better version of now. What does that look like for women, essentially, as the similar to what it looks like inside of our homes? How often do we hear
little things? For example, for me in banking, when I used to ask a husband a question, wait, I have to talk to the boss, right? I got to take it back to the to the wife or whoever the lady is at home. Sometimes I'll tell you it was joking. But most of the times, it was a very serious statement. And I don't think that comes to the women making all the decisions per se. But the fact that it's a union and that it takes two people to make those decisions together because that's their life and it affects them together. Similarly, I feel the same applies to our community. The men have taken a very proactive role in a very dominant role. And as important as that is, I think it's
Also important that the women are a part of this experience, because ultimately our men are making decisions for the betterment of our women and our children and our community respectively. And in any,
in any, in any case or scenario, when you have more visionaries on board, you'll likely come up with a better, firm product at the end. For me, the biggest example of this is any, for example,
our Prime Minister and who his advisors are in his cabinet is made up of, he was the very first I believe Prime Minister to make it very clear that he needed representation of both genders. And besides being both genders, I think both genders have their own experiences to share their own values to contribute in this case. And for our Calgary and our beautiful Muslim community in Calgary, I think it's just as important to take this as our role model. And even before all of that also sort of sallallahu alayhi wa sallam engaged his wife in his decision making and his wives and depending on the scenario, and what it was that needed to be discussed, there's never a point in our
history where we read into it that the woman wasn't involved. So I think with this guiding principle, our community could be at a better point with that into our 10 year vision. What kinds of activities could we do now, so we have that later.
The very first one is providing a safe space. So this tonight's event is very much a safe space. For women, it's very much a place where women feel encouraged and supported. And quite frankly, I'm very pleased with the with the turnout of men who came out to the to the seminar, because that demonstrates that we're already on our way there. The second thing would be leadership training. I know there's training for Imams and Habib's, there's a lot of things that happen for the men. And equally, so it's important for the women to also have this training, whether it's in workshop format,
leadership, hands on training format, online seminars, moms and or women leaders who are dedicated to supporting our women and having us grow individually. First, to make an impact on the community in its entirety, we have to start within, we have to start here, if I don't feel confident in my ability, how am I going to be able to positively contribute to a community that supports women, those women need to be prepared, and to be well prepared, they need the support from, of course, the men and women in their lives, but also tangible training that goes on from their
Um, so in working for a better part of the decade of this last decade, with the community, I'm always and continue to be,
like, amazed by how many professionals we have within the community, the Muslim community, how many different skill sets we have, how many educated professionals we have. And I think that those things if they were cultivated in 10, to 15 years, my vision for this community would be that it's like a hub for in house resources and referrals. So what that would look like is is.
So a community that's full of different professionals, like accountants, like doctors, like midwives, like other health care professionals, or business professionals, we creating us creating kind of like a database for the community of these professionals, and a hub for people from outside of the community to come in, if they need those professionals.
That that is what I sort of have envisioned for the community is sort of that as a hub, a lot of other religious organizations do something sort of similar, where they bring education in house. And I think that one of the unhealthiest aspects of our community is that we are ignorant about a lot of like, real life things.
And real life,
like skill sets that we need, like a lot of people don't know how to file their taxes, or how to make a resume, or like real life skills that you need. And I think that that's a shame that we can't bring those things in house for people to access.
I think that a lot of times, what the community sometimes does is it separates spirituality from my worldly life. And I think that one of the beautiful things about Islam that a lot of people miss is that it's a way of life. So by gaining worldly benefit, you can make it a form of a better if your intention is correct. And so kind of making use of the skills that we have in the community
would make this community I think, very, very strong,
specific things that I have heard women
give me feedback about that they would like to see. And I'm kind of biased for a few of them because I am, like in the health profession, but a lot of people ask for seminars about health and nutrition, about exercise about mental health, which is a big taboo subject in our community that needs to be talked about and openly discussed. peer support systems.
One on One workshops that increase your employability so different trades that you could learn domestic violence workshops, parenting classes, homeschooling groups,
how to life stuff, so like file taxes, create a resume market, or start up a business.
And just regular coffee and chat sessions, I think would really help with the health of the community.
We're like collective social creatures. And I think it's really unhealthy, how individualistic, the society kind of keeps us. So just more social aspects that bring people into the masjid, for reasons that might not outwardly seem spiritual, but can be spiritual was the correct intention?
is like, look, I think,
I think my answer is a combination of both of what they just said. So what I would want to see 10 years from now from move forward with someone, I don't think we need to look ahead at a 10 year plan, I think we need to right now plan, the moment that we get a 5050 board representation, we will see significant changes in the right direction for our community. In doing so a 10 year plan will naturally form itself effortlessly. Beyond that, we will see changes that we never saw coming or even thought can be possible for our community. All because we have set been silencing the insightful suggestions of our sisters, we would be bringing forward ideas that brothers wouldn't
have even thought of simply because of their blind spots that women can actually see. Because of the lives, we live as women, through raising children and the unique struggles that we as women experience that plays a role in developing a unique perspective that men do not have, as women are raising our children in a way that we want to see better in the community.
And knowing that these kids who we put the product of our community, raising our children to think critically and challenge the in justices in our community is an attempt to give way to a better future. They say it takes a village to raise a child. We are the village that our Muslim community is that village we all need to be part of giving our children something to look forward to. and be part of, let's give them a community that they can flourish in and that they can be proud to know it's a place they can run to for help not run away from
activities that I would like to see for women in the community.
I think women need to be provided with what they feel uncomfortable with outside of the Muslim community give us fitness centers, so people's gyms, and wellness centers, we all have these religious leaders that are meant to educate us about a religion, but we don't have female based resources that can support our sisters in a manner that promotes living a wholesome Islamic life. And someone that sisters can connect to as a woman like her brothers can easily connect to her show as men, role models such as Muslims, psychologists, Muslim dieticians and Muslim women trainers. These programs are all should all be paid positions. Why do women always have to leave our community
for a paycheck? Or to pay for services when we can be utilizing the knowledge in our Muslim community to benefit us create jobs for our sisters? Why are these always paid volunteer positions? I know this discussion has been happening for over 15 years now. Yet, we're still focusing on issues such as establishing traffic control and our profit parking lots. When are we going to focus on more larger and controversial matters that had had there been women on these boards making strategic decisions, we likely would have seen significant improvement in the community ages ago.
Thank you very much. You want to add something? What I'd like to add here is just a couple of things to touch on what Taj and both both hadn't really touched on. There's actually a mental health workshop coming up on October 27 for women, and is hosted by project me, which is an initiative done by sister Sima Khan and Luis Adams. So if you'd like more information about this workshop, it is free. And it's facilitated by a local psychiatrist, Dr. mean called me feel free to reach out to me after the event so I can give you some more detail on that. And to my point about women leadership, what I completely missed on mentioning is the program that I co founded the girls that our program
that kundala has been running for just over seven years. It's primarily about this. It's supporting women providing them a place of space, a safe space, a place of comfort role models somewhere they can have fun and let loose, but also not be you know, in places that are less less than beautiful to be and why specifically
I mentioned this and not only is this women supporting women by providing the programming, but the majority of girls get dropped off and picked up by their fathers and brothers. These are the majority of girls who come to this program. It's the men in their lives who feel that this program is important enough that they make time and bring them. And
like, to me, this actually makes me feel very emotional, because it shows me that from seven years ago, the support has been there in overwhelming amounts from the men in our community, they just need to know where to go, and how to support our women. So I believe it's our job as women and specifically to the women who are in this room today. It is your individual job and your responsibility to let the men in your lives know whether they're your fathers, your brothers, husbands, sons, cousins, whoever the men in your life are, what you need, and how you need to get it and what role they play in your lives. Because
my dear brothers, sometimes you're clueless, and you just need a little bit of guidance from us. So ladies, let them know what they need to help you get to where you are. Thank you.
Thank you very much. So I will now begin by asking individual questions in Sharla.
Something that I clearly picked up on was that there is a lack of
leadership within the females themselves. So this is a question I want to pose to sister ruler. And that is what can be done to help encourage and promote female leadership? And what should these initiatives be centered on inshallah? So that is my first question to you.
So to answer your question about female leadership, I think that a lot of it has to come from when they are really young, because sometimes it's really hard to foster confidence and leadership skills in a woman when she is already like, older. Um, and so I think that if you make a space that is okay for younger girls, and a safe space for them, to be able to exercise that side of themselves in a controlled manner, where they can receive positive feedback, that that will help them get them on their way to being strong leaders for the future, inshallah.
And then after they get, they get those basic leadership skills,
from the young age, they can sort of figure out what it is that they want to do in their life, they can figure out what Nisha is that they can feel, they can identify the gaps in the community that needs to be filled, and fill them accordingly and not be afraid to step into that leadership spotlight. Because it is a very daunting place to be sometimes.
But I think that the way that we foster that is that we we instill that confidence from a young age, but we also help create the space. And we help them feel like they are important and valuable with whatever it is that they're coming with. I am very fortunate to to have had that. Because when I stepped into my profession, there was really no other Muslim professional in that profession. And so I got all of that support. And it made a world of a difference. For me, I never really was a public speaker or in a position of leadership. Prior to this, it never was my thing from a young age.
But the community supporting me and backing me and giving me constructive criticism, and positive feedback. And encouraging me all along the way really is what helped me be able to step into a position that's more
of a leadership role. It's not my favorite place to be, but I'm able to hold my ground when I need to be there. And I think that all has to do with just the narrative that I get back from the community. So I get a lot of positive feedback from the community about the value that they find in my work. Even if there's only like a handful of people who show up to my events, and I in it not just from the people who like sit in the audience, but also from the board members who have put the time and the effort and all of the marketing, they come back afterwards. And really help drive like home the point that what I did was something valuable. And I think that that positive feedback is
what's necessary, because a lot of times you can be doing something that is really, really positive. But all you need is somebody to come down on you negatively and it like destroys your confidence and all of your momentum.
And I think peer mentorship would really help that. So I the things that we do in our camp, for example Kappa best for the girls. A lot of it is cultivating that leadership side and helping them have real life role models, who they can ask. So at the beginning of the council, tell people what we do for a living and what we do in the community and the girls over the course of the weekend, get to come and ask us different questions that they're curious about. About
those aspects of our life. And I think that that peer mentorship really helps them have real life examples to be able to work towards.
Not that I think that I'm an example, I actually get very uncomfortable with that role model, title. But I think that creating just a space for women to be able to see actual real life examples,
make sure what the difference does, like, Look, I thank you very much.
I started off with that question first, intentionally. Because when I look at the situation of female leadership, I believe a lot of pressure gets put on Islamic organizations and the moms in particular, to cater towards those needs. And one thing, ideally, that I would like to see is, you know, Muslim women developing their own programming and their own classes and their own seminars, and their own leadership workshops. So that, you know, everyone not only has a safe space, but it also, you know, is within the parameters of Islamic guidelines. This is beyond the scope of our discussion. But clearly, one of the things that has been repeating itself within the this past year
is the concept of abuse towards women. And I believe one of the ways of mitigating that abuse towards women is clearly enacting the boundaries that Islam has set. So does that look here for for sharing your perspective on female leadership? My second question is actually be going to be posed to both sisters, so our ancestor hijab, and that is, there's an evident lack of Muslim women and girls involvement in our Muslim communities. Why is this the case? And what can we do to shift this pattern? So this is for both of you inshallah.
Okay, the evident lack of Muslim woman in our community involvement in our Muslim community, what is the social norm, it is the big boys club, when you consider the vast majority of Muslim right and organized organizations in Calgary, they're either very little or no women on these boards, with the exception of one whose founder and president is a woman.
this is happening for because for too long now, our community afforded the men rights in our community that were never given to women. It is too often now that women are fighting for change making positions, but are ostracized and taught to accept a society without female representation. This leads me to my point where women in the community believe that a woman's place is only at home, and they believe that Islam promotes this. And in turn, we're raising our daughters to believe this to these women also believe that them being in these roles is I, we have accepted this culture around those four women that judge harshly against each other and veil it in a religious language,
when in reality, there's nothing wrong with Islamic, nothing on Islamic with going participating in community service.
was the second part. The second part of the question was just continue on that, what can we do to shift this pattern, we can shift this pattern by creating a supportive culture. The first step is women need to support women, we need to support from one another, then what we need to do is seek encouragement from our brothers. Starting with our religious leaders, we need our leaders to be vocal supportive, encouraging and actively work to educate the masses, about the importance of women in positions of leadership does, she'll hold such trust in our community. And with that trust, they can work to correct the centrality and set the precedent for female leadership change will not come
without the support. We need to create an atmosphere that allows women to feel that involvement is okay. And it's crucial for men to take a step back from what we're used to accept the change and start promoting gender diversity, make this a rule going from going forward from today. And remember, in your campaigns make it a promise not a political move.
Here's some advice for brothers on committees look at the example of white male privilege, and that is dominant in the North American society. And now in our Muslim society. It is the brothers that carry this privilege. And it is far overdue that men in power provide opportunities that allow for women to take charge, it is time for the men to step away. And as they say, pass the mic, pass them out to the women. This is how it will start. And this is the starting point of creating that pattern shift. As for sisters, this is an easy one women in our community we need to raise our standards of what we will accept from our community and believe that we are worthy of these positions and that
these positions need us. We need to alter our mindset and shift from that's a man's job to that's the Muslims job. When brothers present opportunities, take these opportunities, step up and make big moves and get more involved and when the opportunities are not present themselves, seek them and never be afraid to ask his sisters who had were quite literally passing the mic. So thank you, how should we started the trend is going
there isn't much that I can actually add to hazards very eloquent reply to this
The only thing that comes to mind as far as what is lacking, and
the lack comes from women being tied to a lot of responsibilities, and unable to leave those responsibilities to further benefit our community.
For this, I would give my own personal example, when girls night out started, I was 21 years old, very little commitment in my life, very little responsibility to take hold of. And I remember coming home to my mom, and my dad, and my sister and I and I are we're the ones who started the group. It was okay, hey, we're gonna start this girl's youth night like no big deal. And that evening, and I will recall this as vividly as it is, as if it was yesterday. My mom sat me down, and she said,
this is a 10 year commitment. At minimum, are you ready to make sure that no matter what happens every first Friday of every month, for the next 10 years, you are going to run the girls night program? And I thought being 21, I was like, Oh, yeah, no problem. She was thought 10 years. And while you do this commitment, you need to make sure that you've trained other women to take charge at the organization and the girls use programming. Because it's not fair that if because you got busy or you got married, or you had a child or you had a job, or whatever it was that took you away whichever responsibilities, that the girls who are benefiting from your program suddenly have no
program. That's not the way it should work. And the biggest thing here is generally men have
very limited number of responsibilities. And compared to women, the responsibilities that men hold are very strong, they're very important. However, we see a lot of commitment for men in our community as volunteers for programs because they're able to, they don't need to leave the kids with the mom. Whereas the other way around, if there's something the mother needs to be a part of, she needs to make arrangements for her children to be either with their father or a babysitter or a family member. So already, this hinders her desire to want to contribute, but she doesn't have the time, she's not able to with that flexibility. And the shift will come when there is support from
women to women. But also to my my first point earlier this evening is meant to women as well. My motto when it comes to children is it takes it takes two to make one, it takes two to raise one, it's it's a very much standard, it should be a standard. And sometimes as women, we are generally eight types, for the most part. So we want to take control of everything. We want to be able to do everything. It's not necessary. Allah smart Allah created us in pairs. And that's so that we can take care of each other men and women alike. Thank you. Does that good luck, I thank you very much. So we are going to go off script right now. And going off script. My question for you, is about
Islamic scholarship within the Muslim community. Right. One of the things that was identified was, you know, having, you know, the shield are there for the men, but we don't have anyone there for the sisters. So my question to all three of you now is, clearly there's a void and female scholarship within our community, your perspective on why you feel that is the case? And what can be done to change that Michelle? Anyone can take the lead on that. And Shawn,
I have kind of a very limited answer. Because I'm still kind of processing and gathering my thoughts.
But the first thing that came to mind is that a lot of the scholars in the community have formal education that took them years to get and and for a lot of people in this community they've they've like,
come from communities outside and come here specifically for that target niche. And we don't necessarily have women doing the same thing, because women aren't necessarily the breadwinners of their family units. But that being said, I think that there are I know of a handful of
credible Muslim female scholars in the community. And I think that a lot of it has to do with just how we can support them to be able to disseminate their knowledge, because they too are women who have families and familial obligations.
And so I think that it it comes down to they have something really precious for us in terms of knowledge and disseminating their knowledge. And so we need to sort of meet them where they're at and figure out what their barriers are for them. Giving us that knowledge if that makes sense.
No, I can we can hear you we can hear. Yeah.
I lost my train of thought.
meeting them where they are, that was your lesson to meeting them where they're at. So asking them what their barriers are in comparison to a Muslim scholar, a male Muslim scholar who is on a payroll, who that is their job.
A female scholar, in the same capacity would have other unique challenges that she would need us to help her figure out if she wanted to be, of course. Yeah. Great point.
Hi, Joe. So any comments?
Female or scholarships. So again, alluding to what Rollo was saying is the
I think women aren't feeling enticed enough to want to seek out the knowledge and go through the very step strenuous process that it takes to become alima, or a female educator or a female scholar in that sense. And also, just, there are certain restrictions placed on the woman that there aren't on the male. But also, it's the idea of, why would she want to become a female educator, where's her path going to go? Is she going to be supported? Are people going to listen to her Will she get paid for her services, etc, etc. And I think along this line,
it's the credibility is the community ready to support a female scholar and put her in places of power, where she can share her knowledge and information with her community, whether it may be the Muslim female audience, or the Muslim male audience or the non Muslim audience in general. And
generally, women are educators, we're first we're our child's first teacher. And if the woman decides and takes that role seriously, she remains her child's first teacher for the rest of his or her life until they, of course, you know, go on to bigger things and have their own family. But we're capable of being educators, we just need the tools and power at our fingertips does not come with a
one point I'd like to expand upon,
is, at the end of the day, the way organizations are meant to work is that it's not meant to be a top down, the organization shouldn't decide what the community needs, and then disseminate those projects to the community. But rather, it's supposed to work its way from the bottom to the top. And that is why charity organizations, particularly Muslim organizations, are so dependent on donations. Now that donation comes with power, you withhold donations, there's no running of organizations. So that means is that if you can structure the power dynamic in such a way, that with your donations, you're making demands, and your donations will not come unless those demands are met, then that is a
positive way of making change within the community. Now, particularly on this topic of female scholarship, you know, Mashallah, she commented on that there are credible female scholars within our community, we just aren't given the platform. And I believe sisters made the demand that, hey, we want to give these sisters a platform, then that is something that would be accommodated to be in the night, or at least, you know, I'd like to hope that that is the case. I'd also like to comment on that the very challenges that so I mentioned that there will be given a platform, will they be given support, will they be given, you know, an income to provide for themselves, the average
immigrant in Canada gets paid $30,000, I will tell you experience of my local Imam growing up, he was given $1,000 a month, that's $12,000 per year. And then he was taught, go like we're paying you. And so you don't have to declare this go on welfare so that you can support your family. And that is a typical story. Like I'm a part of the Canadian Council of moms, I hear these horror stories all the time. So I think it is naive to think that, you know, the men go through all these struggles to study for years, upon years, they come back and they continue to struggle, that females would not face a similar struggle, if not greater, I say only greater because you already know the challenges
that you already face. So I think it's very important to be grounded in reality, that if the men are facing those struggles, at least for the time being women will face much, much more struggles on that. So that's just something I wanted to comment on. Excellent. So just to repeat the sisters question. Her question was about reconciling between Islam and Western liberal values. Like, you know, there was one thing to talk about culture, but another thing to talk about Western liberalism, right, where they promote taking off the hijab and doing certain things that our faith wouldn't allow. So the question towards the panelists, how do they deal with that and what is, you know,
their advice pertaining to that inshallah? That's actually a really good question. That's funny.
Can you guys hear me? Yes, we can. So that's actually a really good question. I was thinking to myself about this concept, actually. And I think that a lot of it sometimes stems from the fact that
the people you surround yourself with are what your perception
A reality ended up being.
So a gripe or a problem that I see in the community, or that I would like to be addressed is, is just having more social support with in the masjid, for the youth, for example, or for women, because inherently human nature is that we want to belong. And if you don't have a group of people who you can belong with, because you're covered up, and you're in the Western world, and that is all of the people that you interact with,
it becomes like built in, that you're different.
And, and I feel like, fundamentally, humans just want to belong, they want a place to belong, they want to feel accepted. And
I think just just the people that you surround yourself with, is how that can be addressed.
And I think that the message would be a beautiful place for that to happen. And for support groups to be happening in the message, I think that would make a world of a difference, especially for the youth coming up in such a social media driven society. Because you're right, it's easy to go on the phone and feel accepted, when you look like everyone else that you're seeing all the time. So what I will do now on show is just share some concluding remarks based on data. And
the first thing I would like to mention is putting this event together, I had an agenda behind it. And that agenda behind it, as I shared with our panelists, when we were thinking about this event was Hamdulillah, silent, Allah has blessed me with three young daughters 10, nine, and 10 months now. And I often think about what the Muslim community is like, and I know from firsthand experience is not very welcoming and accommodating towards Muslim women. And it is a huge challenge. So I thought today would be the icebreaker, where men get to hear that women get to hear that. And collectively we work together towards a brighter future, because I always think about, it's not just
a safe space that I want for my daughters. It is a space that they can thrive in. And there's a very big difference between the two, having a safe space and community that has space that they can thrive in. And I think we should aim for the letter of humidity and space that they can thrive in. And that is why I felt that this event was so important. The second thing that I will mention here in sha Allah, is that a summary of tonight's presentation will be the topic of my Juma footbaww on
October 26, so October 26, I'm giving the first and second element in triage inshallah, and it will be a summary of today's event, along with my thoughts on the role of women and women's rights in Islam being a nice honor. So please feel free to attend that. Number three in this masala we're starting up an event, starting I inshallah on October 23, we haven't finalized all the details yet. But if you're on the IC e mailing list, or if you know our sisters here, or sister email, you will be hearing about it where it's going to be focusing on two things, number one on public speaking skills for women, and how you develop that skill set. And then number two on filk pertaining to
women inshallah. So this is going to be a six week class that inshallah I will be conducting. And again, that was meant to be like the offshoot from tonight's event. Number four, inshallah, one of the objectives and goals for this particular massala is not to have women as a part of the board of directors or the Board of Governors, but for women to have, like their own board of directors, right. And what I mean is, as talk so explicitly mentioned, she feels comfortable in saying that, that is her space, and I absolutely love that women should feel like that about their massages. And I think women should have, you know, full jurisdiction in terms of how its decorated, how it's kept,
how its maintained, how it's run, and the activities that take place, the one that necessitates is women wanting to be a part of the board and taking it seriously. And I emphasize both of those points, wanting to be a part of the board, not you feel as if it's a need, but wanting to be a part of the board and taking it seriously. So when those when that opportunity does open up inshallah, which inshallah I think it should be in the foreseeable future. Those of you that are interested in those of you that are serious about making positive change in the community for our sisters, please, you know, do join that committee didn't either either. The last thing I'll conclude with is one
thing I would like to see from the sisters and I think you guys talked about this already celebrating each other and powering each other and supporting each other. We're taking it even further organizing events for yourselves. I do boo do believe that there's not enough events for sisters just for themselves. It's great that we have that being the conference once a year. It's great that we have girls night out for a selected age group, but I think more needs to be done. And you know, sisterna was talking about very niche subjects. I think it
sisters were to organize it themselves, the financial resources that they need the space resources that they need. I've always found the IC very supportive of that and Shall I hope Sister 100 can testify to that. So whenever the sisters need, put a proposal together, put it forward to myself put forward to the IC, if we're able to ensure that the night either we will definitely do that, we do want to make that, you know, those activities available for our sisters. With that having been said, I'd like to thank everyone for coming out to particularly the brothers. I know a lot of you Mashallah just came for the sake of supporting our sisters tonight. So just up on my phone, you
didn't have a particular invested interest in terms of your sister or your wife or your daughter being here. But the fact that you showed up generally means a lot. I pray that Allah found out and makes it heavy on their skill, good deeds are sisters that are here. I mean, you guys hear it all the time. But I would like to say this, for the most part, you are the backbone of our community, on an individual level and in a general capacity that a lot of the things that you see couldn't have be done without you. So everything that you do, even if we as men did not recognize it, know that Allah subhanho wa Taala does and I pray that Allah subhanaw taala makes it heavy on your understanding
good deeds. And lastly, I'd like to thank our wonderful panelists that work very hard to be here tonight. As you can see, they all had written notes, they all had, you know, their things prepared, they put in a lot of time and effort for this. So inshallah when they do join the sisters back in for Salah, so that's some special love, you know, thank them, congratulate them, and all the sisters work together for a brighter future for the Muslim women community in Calgary. Without having been said we will conclude in some time calama become a shareholder in South Africa to remake Santa Monica. De La Hoya capital will now