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Women and Opportunities

AMI Education & Research Secretary and Outreach Officer, Farhana Kapasi attended ESRC funded round-table discussion on ‘Women and Opportunities’ on Tuesday 17th September 2013. This was a part of the research project conducted by Dr. Alison Scot-Bauman and Dr. Sariya Contractor under the title of “Collaborative partnerships between universities and Muslim institutions: dismantling the roadblocks”.

The second sector of the above project, was a Higher Education Academy (HEA) and Islamic Studies Network (ISN) funded project entitled:

Muslim women in British higher education (Contractor and Scott-Baumann 2011)

This research specifically explored women’s issues and suggested four ‘bridging’ modules that potentially can enable collaborative linkages and also give Muslim women employable skills.

  • – Islamic Legal Studies: a comparative approach
  • – Islamic Gender Studies: a comparative approach
  • – Islamic Pastoral Studies: a comparative approach
  • – Inter-faith Dialogue: a comparative approach

The Executive Summary of this Project suggests;

“British Muslim women have access to Islamic theology through different avenues, including attendance at Muslim institutions such as darul ulooms, jamias, and hawzas study circles and less traditional routes such as internet based resources. Research consistently demonstrates these women’s desire for peaceful conflict resolution, dialogue and cohesion between different groups in Britain. Theologically trained Muslim women, or alimahs tend to have varying degrees of religious knowledge which often remain unused in their professional and social lives, but which they believe can be used to improve understanding of Islam. A minority of these women may pursue higher education; however the majority of these Muslim women for various reasons do not take this route, despite many wishing to do so’’. (http://www.derby.ac.uk/files/project_summary2.pdf)

The discussion on the day was chaired by Dr. Fozia Bora from University of Leeds and participants incuded Prof. Alison Scott-Baumann, Dr. Sariya Cheruvellia-Contractor, Georgina Jardim and Farhana Kapasi.

The discussion revolved around making life skills available to Muslim women through themed discussions for the grassroots. The discussions could include theological reflections through the study of scriptures, inter-faith and intra-faith dialogue and peaceful conflict resolutions.

The AMI hopes to be the hub for such activities where the gap between the grassroots and the Academics can be bridged through public discussions, forums and work-shops. Farhana has suggested this intention to the main researchers and hopes to develop collaborative path ways that would have positive outcome for communities at large.