Wednesday, 26 September 2012

South African Council for Muslim Women

26 September 2012
Jointly issued by the Institute for Learning and Motivation - South Africa and the South African Council for Muslim Women
Muslim Women Form Council Aimed at Giving them a Collective Voice

A group of Muslim women have formed a national organisation aimed at serving as a collective voice for South African women who follow the Islamic faith.

The South African Council for Muslim Women (SACMW) was officially launched at the inaugural Muslimah* Today conference organised by ILM for Women, a branch of the Institute for Learning and Motivation – South Africa (ILM-SA) in Durban this weekend.

Academic and activist, Lubna Nadvi – who suggested the formation of the council during a presentation she made at the conference – said close to a hundred women had expressed an interest in being involved.

“Our goal as women hailing from different ideological, racial and cultural backgrounds is to be a collective voice for South African Muslim women on all relevant issues,” she said.  “We aim to strive towards inclusivity of participation by South African Muslim women from all walks of life, and to provide a platform for the discussion of all matters relating to the Islamic faith as they pertain to both the local and global context.”

Fatima Asmal-Motala, the director of ILM-SA said she was elated that initiative had been launched during the conference.

“Muslimah Today is about motivating women to play a significant role in society, and let their voices be heard, and their contributions be recognised.  I hope SACMW will serve as a platform whereby what we learnt at the conference from a group of amazing women can be implemented.”

She added that it was important to recognise that whilst several women who had expressed an interest in joining SACMW were actively involved in studying various branches of Islamic Sciences, the organisation was not a theological one.  “Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that there are various ideological groupings within the Islamic community – the Council is not a theological organisation and thus does not subscribe to any particular ideology and welcomes women from the various groupings to join and make input.”

Asmal-Motala described Muslimah Today as a ‘phenomenal success,’ and said she hoped to see it taking place in other provinces in the near future.  “Several women who are not Muslim attended and were pleasantly surprised to interact with a group of eloquent, articulate, proactive and empowered women, both from amongst the speakers, as well as the delegates.”
She added that four women had converted to the Islamic faith during the course of the conference.  “They had been interested in Islam, but listening to these phenomenal women speaking had given them further impetus and inspiration to make a final decision.”

Shubnum Khan, author of Onion Tears, speaks to women at this weekend’s Muslimah Today conference about the importance of telling their own stories

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Fatima Chohan shares her perspectives on the role of the South African Muslim women at this weekend’s Muslimah Today conference

Photograph credits:  Lashika Ravjee

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For interviews, community media organisations may contact their regional SACMW coordinators: Durban:  Lubna Nadvi (083 786 4918,
Gauteng:  Safiyyah Surtee (084 300 0019,
Pretoria: Quraysha Ismail Sooliman (083 397 6021,
Cape Town:  Fayruz Patton (
National media organisations can liaise with Fatima Asmal-Motala (083 271 4500, who will refer them to the appropriate individuals for panel discussions/interviews

1 comment:

  1. It was an absolute pleasure to have attended Muslimah Today, and most insightful. Looking forward to future events. The Muslim Women's council is way overdue. Congratulations!