SRC Muslim Wom*ns Collective Report
In Semester 2, the Muslim Wom*n’s Collective have started our own blog. Every month, a topic is selected and members of the collective submit pieces related to the topic with the deadline being the end of the month. For August, the topic is ‘Hijab’. The pieces may be pictures, essays, a poem or as simple as a sentence. The topics are not specific to allow members to interpret it as they like for example someone may write about physical and social aspects of hijab whereas someone else may write about what the hijab means to them.
Meetings have been taking place to discuss events and issues, if any that the members would like to talk about. A bake sale was suggested and the Sydney Period Project was picked to raise funds for.
The bake sale will take place on Tuesday 30 th August from 10am-3pm which will include an hour of henna art from 12pm-1pm. During the meetings, film screenings were suggested where we would play a movie/talk/documentary related to the topic of the month which will hopefully be happening soon.
The Muslim Wom*n’s Collective together with AUJS organised a book swap. The book swap took place on Wednesday 17 th August between 12pm-1pm where wom*n from both groups came together to discuss their chosen books and swap with each other. The book swap was not limited to a genre.
Aya Mustafa and Zahra Makki
As interfaith officers, our aims are to ensure students practice their faiths comfortably on campus as well as promote understanding and appreciation of the many faiths and cultures present on campus. Throughout 2016, we hope to fulfil these aims.
During O Week, the Muslim Wom*n’s Collective managed to interact with many current and new students. The Muslim Wom*n’s Collective supported the Mummies Paying it Forward group, a group that supports local non for profit charity organisations, by setting up a donation drive in support of their Essential Packs appeal.
The donations collected were toiletries which were created into packs then sent to refuges to help women on arrival as they usually arrive with minimal belongings.
The collective also held a Meet and Greet to get to know the members as well as talk about ideas and thoughts that supports the collective in choosing the events that well be held in the future. An interfaith picnic was held at Victoria Park between the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) and the Muslim Wom*n’s
Collective. Students from both groups participated and got to know each other. The picnic resulted in good outcomes and friendships were formed, with hopes of another picnic together.
In semester two 2016, the Muslim Wom*n’s Collective is planning on creating a cross cultural events such as a Meet and Greet for students from different religions and cultures, picnics in a local park discussing different issues that are relevant to our everyday life, having regular meetings to help students around the university with academic and general information’s aiming to make students feel comfortable around campus meeting different people. Besides the face to face interactions there will be more social media updates and use to make all students interact regularly even if they were busy to attend an event!
Peace be upon you, or salamon alaikum as most Muslims say when we greet each other. My name is Fatema Ali, and I’m so honoured to be the founder of the Muslim Wom*ns Collective – an all inclusive and all welcoming space for Muslim wom*n of all sects and backgrounds. We welcome diversity within this community and hence our major aim is to celebrate it as much as possible – our differences empower us, and we won’t let them divide us. We aspire to unite Muslim wom*n under the banner of peace, as well as reach out to the non-Muslim community and increase the visibility of Muslim wom*n on campus.
This collective was a product of frustration at overpowering male voices, and constant pressure on Muslim wom*n to denounce their Islamic identity and be “liberated” from the oppressive force that is apparently Islam. The truth of the matter is that Islam makes us who we are and we don’t need others to speak for us or grant us freedom, no matter how well-intentioned.
O-week was home to our first official event and it was magnificent! We held a Hijab Booth, a little space where willing participants were offered free lollies and to try on a headscarf. It’s been months in planning, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome and feedback we received from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. One of the main questions we asked wom*n who tried the headscarf on was “do you feel oppressed?” The response was unanimously no, many stating that the headscarf was quite light and they felt beautiful. Hopefully, this message will be shared far beyond the avenues of our university.
Weekly meeting times will be announced soon (inshallah, God willing). If you identify as a Muslim wom*n, you can either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the private group here: tiny.cc/mwc. If you’re a non-Muslim interested in getting involved, you may also send us an email or check out our page at facebook.com/usydmwc. We’d love to hear from everyone!