Archive for the ‘5. Women’ Category

A PCSO, Jayne Kemp Fell In Love With Islam

February 5, 2013

Police Community Support Officer Jayne Kemp, 28, decided to find out about the faith while helping a Muslim woman suffering domestic abuse.

jayne+kemp

A mum-of-two has told how she was inspired to convert to Islam – after helping a victim of honour-based violence as part of her job in the police.

Police Community Support Officer Jayne Kemp, 28, decided to find out about the faith while helping a Muslim woman suffering domestic abuse.

After speaking to other Muslims on Twitter, she was inspired to give up her Catholic faith to fully convert last year and now lives a completely Islamic lifestyle.

She now goes out on her  PCSO patrols in?Eccles, Salford, wearing the traditional hijab headscarf and makes time up at the end of her shift to attend Friday prayers.

Jayne, single mum to a son, nine, and daughter, seven, formerly converted in a Shahada ceremony last April and now plans to change her name to Aminah.

While her children spent Christmas Day at their dad’s so they could still celebrate, she went round to her mum’s – but had to cook her own dinner so it would be halal.

Jayne, who joined GMP in August 2009 and lives in south Manchester,  said: “It started when I had a woman approach me at work who was experiencing honour-based violence.

“Where I work in Eccles there’s a big mosque and big Muslim population, so I thought I should find out more about it.

“I’d thought Islam was all about women being forced to slave away in the kitchen – but found out it was about being generous with your time, patient and respectful of others.

“As I looked into it I saw similarities with Catholicism and also values like looking after your neighbours and valuing the elderly that older people say younger people don’t have any more.

“I wasn’t looking for any religion at the time but for every question I got answered about Islam I just had five more – I think I fell in love with it.”

I just fell in love with Islam...

I just fell in love with Islam…

Jayne made the decision to tell colleagues she had converted when she wanted to start wearing a hijab to work – and says they have all been supportive.

She is now working with the Greater Manchester Muslim Police Association to design a regulation police hijab and tunic – as one has never been needed before in the force.

Jayne said:  “I was worried about what my colleagues would think but they have been so understanding.

“People in Eccles have been great too – most don’t even mention it.

“If my children had struggled with me covering my hair I wouldn’t have done it.

“They have both asked a lot about it but I would never push Islam on them and they will be brought up Catholic.

“I just hope by speaking out I can show it is OK for a Muslim woman to work in the police force and also change negative stereotypes about Islam.”

Jayne, who grew up in Wythenshawe, said: “My family in general are supportive. As long as I’m happy, they’re happy.

“I was very open about my reading and studying Islam. My sister said the other day I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me.”

Jayne was helped to find out about Islam by Muhammad Manzoor, who runs Muslim Twitter account Local Masjid from his Whalley Range home.

He said: “I was humbled Jayne was asking me these questions as it made me find out more about Islam too.

“She has found this religion for herself and hopefully it shows Muslims can mix in society without compromising their faith.”

Source:  www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/eccles-pcso-converts-to-islam-after-1250294

A Hollywood Woman Chose Islam Because Islam Respect Women

January 7, 2013

This beautiful Hollywood woman reverted to Islam and chose Islam as her religion and way of life, because she found out that Islam respect women!

Born & Bred Aussies Who’ve Turned To Islam

May 28, 2012

Why these born and bred Aussies turned to ISLAM?  Let’s hear from them:

Why I Shed Bikini for Niqab: The New Symbol of Women’s Liberation

September 7, 2009

By Sara Bokker

I am an American woman who was born in the midst of America’s “Heartland.” I grew up, just like any other girl, being fixated with the glamour of life in “the big city.” Eventually, I moved to Florida and on to South Beach of Miami, a hotspot for those seeking the “glamorous life.” Naturally, I did what most average Western girls do. I focused on my appearance and appeal, basing my self-worth on how much attention I got from others. I worked out religiously and became a personal trainer, acquired an upscale waterfront residence, became a regular “exhibiting” beach-goer and was able to attain a “living-in-style” kind of life.

Years went by, only to realize that my scale of self-fulfillment and happiness slid down the more I progressed in my “feminine appeal.” I was a slave to fashion. I was a hostage to my looks.

As the gap continued to progressively widen between my self-fulfillment and lifestyle, I sought refuge in escapes from alcohol and parties to meditation, activism, and alternative religions, only to have the little gap widen to what seemed like a valley. I eventually realized it all was merely a pain killer rather than an effective remedy.

By now it was September 11, 2001. As I witnessed the ensuing barrage on Islam, Islamic values and culture, and the infamous declaration of the “new crusade,” I started to notice something called Islam. Up until that point, all I had associated with Islam was women covered in “tents,” wife beaters, harems, and a world of terrorism.

As a feminist libertarian, and an activist who was pursuing a better world for all, my path crossed with that of another activist who was already at the lead of indiscriminately furthering causes of reform and justice for all. I joined in the ongoing campaigns of my new mentor which included, at the time, election reform and civil rights, among others. Now my new activism was fundamentally different. Instead of “selectively” advocating justice only to some, I learned that ideals such as justice, freedom, and respect are meant to be and are essentially universal, and that own good and common good are not in conflict. For the first time, I knew what “all people are created equal” really means. But most importantly, I learned that it only takes faith to see the world as one and to see the unity in creation.

One day I came across a book that is negatively stereotyped in the West–The Holy Qur’an. I was first attracted by the style and approach of the Qur’an, and then intrigued by its outlook on existence, life, creation, and the relationship between Creator and creation. I found the Qur’an to be a very insightful address to heart and soul without the need for an interpreter or pastor.

Eventually I hit a moment of truth: my new-found self-fulfilling activism was nothing more than merely embracing a faith called Islam where I could live in peace as a “functional” Muslim.

I bought a beautiful long gown and head cover resembling the Muslim woman’s dress code and I walked down the same streets and neighborhoods where only days earlier I had walked in my shorts, bikini, or “elegant” western business attire. Although the people, the faces, and the shops were all the same, one thing was remarkably distinct–I was not–nor was the peace at being a woman I experienced for the very first time. I felt as if the chains had been broken and I was finally free. I was delighted with the new looks of wonder on people’s faces in place of the looks of a hunter watching his prey I had once sought. Suddenly a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer spent all my time consumed with shopping, makeup, getting my hair done, and working out. Finally, I was free.

Of all places, I found my Islam at the heart of what some call “the most scandalous place on earth,” which makes it all the more dear and special.

While content with Hijab I became curious about Niqab, seeing an increasing number of Muslim women in it. I asked my Muslim husband, whom I married after I reverted to Islam, whether I should wear Niqab or just settle for the Hijab I was already wearing. My husband simply advised me that he believes Hijab is mandatory in Islam while Niqab is not. At the time, my Hijab consisted of head scarf that covered all my hair except for my face, and a loose long black gown called “Abaya” that covered all my body from neck to toe.

A year-and-a-half passed, and I told my husband I wanted to wear Niqab. My reason, this time, was that I felt it would be more pleasing to Allah, the Creator, increasing my feeling of peace at being more modest. He supported my decision and took me to buy an “Isdaal,” a loose black gown that covers from head to toe, and Niqab, which covers all my head and face except for my eyes.

Soon enough, news started breaking about politicians, Vatican clergymen, libertarians, and so-called human rights and freedom activists condemning Hijab at times, and Niqab at others as being oppressive to women, an obstacle to social integration, and more recently, as an Egyptian official called it–“a sign of backwardness.”

I find it to be a blatant hypocrisy when Western governments and so-called human rights groups rush to defend woman’s rights when some governments impose a certain dress code on women, yet such “freedom fighters” look the other way when women are being deprived of their rights, work, and education just because they choose to exercise their right to wear Niqab or Hijab. Today, women in Hijab or Niqab are being increasingly barred from work and education not only under totalitarian regimes such as in Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt, but also in Western democracies such as France, Holland, and Britain.

Today I am still a feminist, but a Muslim feminist, who calls on Muslim women to assume their responsibilities in providing all the support they can for their husbands to be good Muslims. To raise their children as upright Muslims so they may be beacons of light for all humanity once again. To enjoin good–any good–and to forbid evil–any evil. To speak righteousness and to speak up against all ills. To fight for our right to wear Niqab or Hijab and to please our Creator whichever way we chose. But just as importantly to carry our experience with Niqab or Hijab to fellow women who may never have had the chance to understand what wearing Niqab or Hijab means to us and why do we, so dearly, embrace it.

 

Most of the women I know wearing Niqab are Western reverts, some of whom are not even married. Others wear Niqab without full support of either family or surroundings. What we all have in common is that it is the personal choice of each and every one of us, which none of us is willing to surrender.

Willingly or unwillingly, women are bombarded with styles of “dressing-in-little-to-nothing” virtually in every means of communication everywhere in the world. As an ex non-Muslim, I insist on women’s right to equally know about Hijab, its virtues, and the peace and happiness it brings to a woman’s life as it did to mine. Yesterday, the bikini was the symbol of my liberty, when in actuality it only liberated me from my spirituality and true value as a respectable human being.

I couldn’t be happier to shed my bikini in South Beach and the “glamorous” Western lifestyle to live in peace with my Creator and enjoy living among fellow humans as a worthy person. It is why I choose to wear Niqab, and why I will die defending my inalienable right to wear it. Today, Niqab is the new symbol of woman’s liberation.

To women who surrender to the ugly stereotype against the Islamic modesty of Hijab, I say: You don’t know what you are missing.

Sara Bokker is a former actress/model/fitness instructor and activist. Currently, Sara is Director of Communications at “The March For Justice,” a co-founder of “The Global Sisters Network,” and producer of the infamous “Shock & Awe Gallery.”

Source:  http://www.albalagh.net/women/0097.shtml

Islam Sweeps Through The West. But Why?

June 7, 2009

Part 1

Part 2

Family Member of 9/11 Converts To ISLAM

June 7, 2009

Silma Ihram, Pioneer of Muslim Education in Australia.

June 7, 2009

Silma Ihram

 

Silma Ihram (b. Anne Frances Beaumont c. 1954) is an Australian pioneer of Muslim education in the West, founder and former school Principal of the ‘Noor Al Houda Islamic College’ in Sydney, and a campaigner for racial tolerance.

She was also the Australian Democrats candidate for the seat of Auburn in the 2007 state election, and the Democrats candidate for the Division of Reid in the 2007 federal election.

Ihram is the author of two books, the producer of an educational video in Arabic, and the subject of the documentary, Silma’s School. She has been described as “Erin Brockovich in a hijab”.  (Source:  Wikipedia)

Silma converted to Islam more than 25 years ago after travelling to Indonesia and has 6 children.  She established the Muslim Women’s Shop and Centre in 1979, and pioneered Islamic schooling with Al Noori in 1983.  She was also the Principal and founder (with husband Baheej Adada) of the Noor Al Houda Islamic College.

She holds Dip of Edu, Master of Ed Admin and is Secretary General of the Aust Cncl for Isl Edu in Scls.  She is the author of two books and the producer of an educational video in Arabic. 

For the past 13 years Silma has worked to establish the Noor Al Houda Islamic College – first in Condell Park, and then in Strathfield. Noor A Houda as such ceased to exist at the end of 2006 when it merged with the Australian International Academy. The school’s battle to survive and ongoing court case was featured in the documentary “Silma’s School” which aired on ABC Compass in 2006. Silma Ihram now teaches works as a consultant in the area of education & Muslim community relations. She is studying a research degree in ‘Understanding the development of identity in adolescent Muslim Lebanese youth’.  (Source:  http://www.silmapol.blogspot.com)

Thousands Of British Elite Embrace Islam: Study

January 20, 2009

LONDON, February 26 (IslamOnline.net) – Jonathan Birt, the son of Lord Birt and Emma Clark, the granddaughter of former liberal prime minister Herbert Asquith, are only two of 14,000 mostly-elite white Britons having reverted to Islam. 

"I have received letters from people … who are looking for a religion which does not compromise too much with the modern world,” Eaton

"I have received letters from people … who are looking for a religion which does not compromise too much with the modern world,” Eaton

In the first authoritative study of the phenomenon, carried by the Sunday Times on February 22, some of the country’s top landowners, celebrities and the offspring of senior Establishment figures have embraced the Muslim faith after being disillusioned with western values.

The new study by Yahya (formerly Jonathan) Birt, son of Lord Birt, former director-general of the BBC, provides the first reliable data on the sensitive subject of the movement of Christians into Islam.

He uses a breakdown of the latest census figures to conclude that there are now 14,200 white reverts in Britain.

Mass Conversion

Speaking publicly for the first time about his faith this weekend, Birt argued that an inspirational figure, similar to the American revert Malcolm X for Afro-Caribbeans, would first have to emerge if the next stage, a mass conversion among white Britons, were to happen.

“You need great transitional figures to translate something alien (like Islam) into the vernacular,” Birt, whose doctorate at Oxford University is on young British Muslims, was quoted by the Times.

“The image of Islam projected by political Islamic movements is not very attractive,” he said.

Initially, Birt said he had no coherent reasons for reverting, but “in the longer term I think it was the overall profundity, balance and coherence and spirituality of the Muslim way of life which convinced me,” he said.

‘All Rage’

Meanwhile, it emerged this weekend that Emma Clark, the great-granddaughter of a British prime minister has reverted.

Emma, whose ancestor, the Liberal prime minister Herbert Asquith, took Britain into the first world war, said: “We’re all the rage, I hope it’s not a passing fashion.”

Clark, who helped design an Islamic garden for the Prince of Wales at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire home, is now helping create a similar garden for a mosque in Woking, Surrey, on the site of a car park, said the British newspaper.

Furthermore, fresh evidence came this weekend that Islam has received formal acceptance at the heart of the Establishment.

The Queen has approved new arrangements to allow Muslim staff at Buckingham Palace time off to attend Friday prayers at a mosque.

A member of staff in the finance department is the first to take advantage of it,  said the British paper.

‘Trophy Lists’

Others have come to Islam through love or marriage.

Kristiane Backer, a former girlfriend of the cricketer Imran Khan, said she was introduced to the religion through love but reverted after her break-up.

She has shrunk from speaking publicly about her religion before because of fears it might affect her work prospects.

“Imran sowed the seeds, but when (the relationship) finished (the faith) took on a momentum of its own,” she said.

Drawn to Sufi mysticism, Baker said that white reverts had to overcome prejudice both from those born into Islam and from non-believers.

“In the mosque women come up and say to me, ‘You have hair showing: you must cover up completely.’ I say, ‘Mind your own hair, you’re here to think about God’ ”.

Many reverts have been inspired by the writings of Charles Le Gai Eaton, a former Foreign Office diplomat, it added.

“I have received letters from people who are put off by the wishy-washy standards of contemporary Christianity and they are looking for a religion which does not compromise too much with the modern world,” said Eaton, author of Islam and the Destiny of Man.

Wary

Some prominent reverts are even more wary, said the Times.

The Earl of Yarborough, 40, who owns a 28,000-acre estate in Lincolnshire, declined to discuss anything about his faith.

“I have nothing to say to you,” said Yarborough, who has apparently taken the name Abdul Mateen.

Muslim leaders are harnessing modern campaigning methods to promote their faith. Groups have sprung up on the internet publishing “trophy lists” of white reverts.

The state-funded school in London founded by Yusuf Islam, formerly the singer Cat Stevens, has turned to Premiership footballers to provide role models, said the Times.

Sources close to the school say reverts including Nicolas Anelka, the Manchester City striker, and Omer “Freddie” Kanoute, of Tottenham Hotspur, have made visits.

The trend is being encouraged by Muslim leaders who are convinced that the conversion of prominent society figures will help protect a community stigmatized by “terrorism and fundamentalism“.

The Muslim Council of Britain has co-opted Joe Ahmed-Dobson, son of Frank Dobson, the former health secretary, to chair its regeneration committee.

“The community has been unfairly targeted and these developments encourage it in a time of difficulty,” said Zaki Badawi, chairman of the Imams and Mosques Council.

Source:  Islamonline.net

Finding Women’s Liberation in Islam: An Interview With Yvonne Ridley

April 5, 2008

By Neveen Shedid


Yvonne Ridley while being interviewed on November 22,2006 by IslamOnline.net

Yvonne Ridley, the acclaimed British writer and commentator, was in Cairo, Egypt, to attend the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) conference from November 21- 23, 2006. She graciously agreed to meet with IslamOnline.net for the following interview.

IslamOnline (IOL): How much did you know about Islam before becoming Muslim?

Yvonne Ridley: I knew very little about Islam before becoming Muslim. I only knew what the media told me.

IOL: How did you embrace Islam?

Yvonne Ridley: During my captivity by the Taliban, a religious cleric visited me. He asked me some questions about religion, and asked if I would like to convert. I was terrified that if I gave the wrong response, I’d be killed. After careful thought, I thanked the cleric for his generous offer and said it would be difficult for me to make such a life-altering decision while I was imprisoned. However, I did make a promise that if I were to be released, I would study Islam upon my return to London.

So after being released, I read an English translation of the Qur’an. When I went back home to England, I went cherry-picking in the index of the Qur’an, and read different chapters. I was amazed by the rights Islam has given to women, and that really was the thing that attracted me most to Islam.

IOL: Did you find the needed support from the Muslim community, especially after embracing Islam?

How could a party girl suddenly walk away from the Western lifestyle and embrace Islam?

Yvonne Ridley :
Yes and no. I got lots of support from the sisters; I think I was luckier than a lot of reverts. Some reverts really need very close support and almost supervision on a daily basis. Sadly, a lot of us are abandoned once we have said our Shahadah (testimony of faith.) In fact, I would like to say to the brothers and sisters out there, the first year for reverts is extremely critical in one’s development as a Muslim. Please don’t abandon us as soon as we have said our Shahadah.

IOL: What have been the greatest challenges you’ve had to face after embracing Islam?

Yvonne Ridley: Learning to be a better person. This may sound strange because I don’t think I was a bad person before embracing Islam, but I did need to learn Islamic etiquette, such as being patient and tolerant. For those who know me quite well know that this can be quite a struggle for me at times.

IOL: How did you your family and friends accept you becoming Muslim? What was their reaction?

Yvonne Ridley: Everyone was shocked. How could a party girl suddenly walk away from the Western lifestyle and embrace Islam? But after awhile, they found that I haven’t grown two heads! I am happier and healthier; I’ve lost weight. They see that whatever it is in my life, I am doing very well with it. They were in denial that it is Islam. My girlfriends would ask me if I have a man in my life, and I would say, “Why do you think that to look this good I have to have a man in my life? I mean, can’t you just accept that I have found something that gives me a lot of happiness, inner strength, and spirituality?”

IOL: With all this fuss going on about hijab, how did you cope with wearing it in England?

My advice to those politicians is to stay out of our wardrobe.

Yvonne Ridley: I didn’t put the hijab on straight away, and I’m so pleased that you’ve asked me about this. Many people have an opinion about the hijab, mainly men, who don’t have to wear it. They have no idea what challenges every Muslim woman must face the moment she puts on the hijab or the niqab and goes out her front door. She is fighting for Islam; she is on the front lines. She is open to abuse. Sadly, some sisters have been physically attacked because of the ongoing debate about hijab started by various ill-advised politicians.

My advice to those politicians is to stay out of our wardrobe. What women wear has nothing whatsoever to do with you.

What I would say to my sisters is, yes, the hijab is an obligation in Islam. I’ve looked for the shortcuts and the get-outs, but there is no get-out. The hijab is an obligation.

To those sisters who are wearing it, I salute your strength and courage and conviction of faith.

For the sisters who don’t wear it, I would tell the people around them to be patient and give them time. We are all on a spiritual journey, some of us reach levels much more quickly than others. It just takes time. We shouldn’t be critical of those sisters who don’t wear the hijab, because there are many pressures and stresses. Instead of being critical, we should be supportive and help them.

I didn’t put my hijab on immediately. It took time for me, and is part of my growth and development as a Muslim. Each day I’m developing, and if we have this conversation in twenty years time, I will still be learning and developing in sha’ Allah.

IOL: What do you think non-Muslims need to know most about Islam? What is the most important message we as Muslims should convey to non-Muslims?

Yvonne Ridley: We have to get through to the West that Muslim women are not oppressed, subjugated creatures. Yes, some women are under the rule of men, but I can take you into non-Muslim areas and show you oppressed Western women. The problem of domestic violence is not a Muslim one, it’s a global issue for women.

There are many issues that affect Western women and Muslim women. And what I would say to non-Muslim women is that there is quite a lot of substance and character underneath that veil. If you take a look, you will realize that there are some incredible, highly-politicized, internationally-aware, multi-skilled, multi-talented women under that veil. So instead of spending so much time wondering what’s underneath the veil, stop and talk to the sisters. There are a lot of Islamic feminists. And they are far more radical than their secular counterparts.

——————————————————————————–
This interview was performed by Neveen Shedid, editor of Understanding Islam page at IslamOnline.net. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cairo university and is currently working on her Diploma in Islamic studies.

Source: ISLAMONLINE

A Young Indian Woman testified Her Shahadah In Public After Satisfied With Zakir Naik’s Answer.

April 5, 2008

Brothers & sisters in ISLAM,
The truth of ISLAM is obstacled by so many things eg media, misunderstanding, false stories/histories told, negative perception or even by our own negative behaviour who did not practice the true teachings of ISLAM.

Let us spread the truth of ISLAM by any possible way. Pass them, the not-yet-muslims with the message of GOD as recorded in the Holy Quran & Hadith. We love them, really. And we want them also to enjoy this beauty of ISLAM, the perfect way of life.

I love you all. Please embrace ISLAM :).
May ALLAH, The Almighty GOD guide you all & me, ameen.


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