Muslim Women’s Council hosts annual Daughters of Eve Conference

Focussing on Resilience, Faith and Unity

Over 250 women from across the UK including Glasgow, Wales, Leicester, Doncaster, Halifax, Rotherham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Blackburn, Manchester and London attended the conference alongside a delegation from Germany, that took place in the heart of Yorkshire’s Bronte Country at the Mercure Bradford, Bankfield Hotel.

The conference that took place over three days (6th, 7th and 8th October), is held annually and provides an opportunity for women of all faiths to come together from across the UK and beyond, in order to debate and discuss contemporary issues of importance to women. Additionally this year, the first day of the conference was opened up to men in order to get the full spectrum of views on an important range of topics.

These included sessions with subject experts covering themes from Muslim responses to extremism, the legitimisation of Islamophobia in the mainstream and the role of faith communities in building resilience. There were ample opportunities for questions and answers during dedicated panel discussions. Other topics included much needed intra-faith dialogue on shaping religious discourse around feminine readings of the Quran, the Status of Women in Islam and Muslim Women and Religious Authority. The dialogue will feed into and inform the current discourse taking place nationally about Islam and its place in modern day Britain.

The programme consisted of high calibre internationally renowned speakers participating in panel discussions and intensive workshops. There was also a chance to relax and unwind with a glamour night featuring live musical entertainment with Shabnam Khan, as well as a bazaar. Speakers included Professor Salman Sayyid, Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, Lily Piachaud, Projects Officer at the Jo Cox Foundation, Professor Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, Salma Yaqoob, Campaigner, Public Speaker and Media Spokesperson, Rt Revd Bishop Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford, Dr Riffat Hassan, Professor Emerita at the University of Louisville, USA, Dr Shuruq Naguib, Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Lancaster, Yasmin Amin, Doctoral Student researching Humour in Islam, Carla Power, Author and Journalist, Gillian Holding, artist and writer, and Revd Jenny Ramsden, priest and interfaith worker.

The conference provided an opportunity for women to come together from across the country in order to take ownership of the discourse surrounding Muslim women alongside challenging the widely held stereotypes of Muslim women being submissive.

The Rt Revd Dr Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford said:

“I am impressed and encouraged by the level of scholarship and insight that the Daughters of Conference brings together, and also offers to Bradford and beyond.”

Gillian Holding said:

“It was a genuine privilege to have the chance to attend this conference. Being able to listen to a range of diverse exchanges and reflections on Islam in a warm and hospitable atmosphere was wonderful. I enjoyed this real opportunity to listen from within, and it was yet another important reminder of how misleading it is to see and talk of Muslims as a single homogeneous community.”

Professor Paul Rogers said:

“I found it a very stimulating and wide-ranging conference. The time allowed for discussion was especially valuable.”

Bana Gora, CEO of Muslim Women’s Council said:

“The aim of the conference was to create the space to debate current issues affecting the Muslim community with other faith communities and challenge prevailing narratives about Muslims generated by politicians and the media and critically analyse the role of Muslims in contemporary society.”
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