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!