Change the Script went to the Goodge St Forum held by the International Islamic Relief Organisation UK on the 7th of March 2018. The hosts of the event HE DR Mohammed Abdulkarim Al-Issa and Fauzia Saeed from the ILRO organised an evening for women from different communities in London to participate in workshops addressing themes of identity and narratives of Muslim women in Britain. It provided them with a space to share their stories and thoughts on what it is like to be a British Muslim woman today.
The forum started off with a brief introduction by Fauzia followed by a Qur’an recitation from Halima Ait Bahou, founder of Al Fadila Nasheed, a group for young girls practicing Qur’an recitation with tajweed. Humera Khan, a trustee for the National Commission on Muslim Women gave an opening statement welcoming all the guests and stated: “The beauty of this project is its independence as it is not funded by the British Government, but by the community. So, we truly have ownership of this narrative. We want to work side by side with our men too. A Sheikh once said to me we have so many problems with Muslim women and my response to him was ‘No, it’s our society that has problems and we need to work together with Muslim men and women to change that.’ I think this project will take us one step in that direction.”
In the first breakout session of the evening, the attendees broke off into a number of groups where they began to discuss topics from the workshops such as self-identify and leadership. A number of the women were contributing a number of interesting ideas. Something that was prevalent amongst many women was the notion of integrating into society as an integral way to culminate change. As Fatima Khaled, the founder of Lotus Life charity, put it so poetically “what I want is women not thinking we need to integrate because we are hated. Instead, by being an active part of our communities, this will take away the veil of ignorance.”
Everyone who attended loved taking part and the evening ended with discussions and talks to continue changing the script.