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Ensuring the Rights of Women is a Vital Step Towards Achieving a Harmonious Society

  (January 22, 2018)
Ensuring the Rights of Women is a Vital Step Towards Achieving a Harmonious Society

More than 500 women came together at the largest mosque in Western Europe, Baitul Futuh in south London, on 21 January 2018 for the Peace Symposium hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association in the UK. The theme of the vibrant evening was Freedom, Faith and Liberty: Ensuring the Rights of Women.

This event brought together women from the worlds of faith, politics and civic society to promote a deeper understanding of Islam and other faiths. Its aim was to inspire a concerted effort for lasting societal peace and in this, its 9th year the focus was on how ensuring the rights of women is a vital step towards achieving a harmonious society.

The evening also provided an opportunity for guests to learn more about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community through a series of exhibitions and tours of the Baitul Futuh mosque.

Two charity cheque presentations of £5000 each were made to the following organisations: Save the Children and Commonwealth Girls Education Fund.

The keynote speaker of the event was Dr Fariha Khan, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association UK. Other notable speakers were Dr Stephanie Berry of University of Sussex and Jackie Goymour of Women's Interfaith Network.

Farzana Yousuf the Association's National Secretary for Community Outreach welcomed the guests and gave an introduction to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, its principles and ethos.

Explaining Human Rights Dr Stephanie Berry said:
‘The right of freedom of religion or belief contains two distinct elements. The first is the internal element what goes on in your head, no one can interfere with this, the right to hold a belief the right to interpret your religion in accordance with your conscience. The second part is a little bit more controversial, the right to manifest your religion through worship, teaching, practice and observance and clearly there is no question the hijab, the burqa, the niqab all are protected by this element of freedom of religion or belief. Anything that stops a Muslim woman from wearing clothing that she believes is mandated by her religion is an interference with this right.'

Speaking on the benefits of interfaith dialogue Jackie Goymour said:
‘Only by engaging with each other are we able to dismantle those stereotypes and build understanding and trust to replace ignorance with knowledge and prejudice with friendship. WINS is an organisation composed of several women's groups in London and the South East from many religions who have come together to engage in meaningful dialogue with women from all faith communities who are committed to build a more tolerant and inclusive society.'

Presenting the Islamic perspective Dr Fariha Khan said:
‘The Holy Qur'an does not say that woman was created from the rib of man. Rather, the Qur'an testifies to the fact that men and women were created from a single soul and are of the same kind. Similarly, the Qur'an addresses both men and women together on many occasions and addresses them equally. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an that for a good deed the reward for men and women would be the same.'
She added:
‘Some people feel that as we have segregated events or the way we cover ourselves and wear hijab is perhaps limiting for us or that we are controlled by men to do so, well in actual fact it is quite the opposite. Having segregation between men and women or running our own organisation and doing our own events like the one today is empowering for our ladies.'

Among the distinguished guest were Councillor Toni Letts Mayor of Croydon and Councillor Jean Crossby Mayor of Sutton. Councillor Toni Letts Mayor of Croydon commented:
‘I think if we have the women of this mosque running the countries we would not have 164 wars, conflicts going on as we have at this moment in time. We would not see children dying of hunger, of cold, who have had to flee their homes in Syria. So I think the mosque here is very, very fortunate to have women who care, educated articulate women who are passionate not just about women and children, not just about their own communities but all of the communities around the world.'

Councillor Jean Crossby Mayor of Sutton remarked:
‘It is an absolutely wonderful afternoon and evening here today. I am so grateful that I have been invited to this amazing conference and the welcome that I have had from here, it has been very enlightening. And the speeches have been absolutely wonderful. I can't believe we have so many women in this room. I must admit women's rights and freedom are absolutely crucial to me.'

Media Contacts:
Mrs Farzana Yousuf, +447958 781681, farzana230(at)
Mrs Shermeen Butt, +447789 913 471, neemrehs(at)

Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association UK
Baitul Nusrat (Head Office)
75 Gressenhall Road, London SW18 5QH
Twitter @LajnaUK
Tel +44 20887482030

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association UK is a national Muslim Women's group established
in 1922. It is an auxiliary organisation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK which was established in Britain in 1913. The Community has approximately 30,000 members across 133 chapters. The Community built the Fazl Mosque in Southfields London in 1924 which was the first Mosque in London and also the Baitul Futuh Mosque in South London, the largest Mosque in Western Europe.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded in 1889 by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him) who claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by all major religions, including the Jews, Christians and Muslims. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is now established in 209 countries with tens of millions of members worldwide. Its motto is “Love for All, Hatred for None".

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the largest organised Muslim Community in the world and is led by a system of spiritual successorship known as Khilafat. Its current Khalifa is the fifth successor to the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him); his name is His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. His title is Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V.

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