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11 October 2011

“Islam has given women equal rights”

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Forum for Women Justice & Social Welfare organizes self-defence camp for marginalized Muslim girls and women. After their new-found energy, the girls vow to stay alert.

By Manzar Imam

New Delhi: A 15-day self-defence training camp was organised by Educational Forum for Women Justice & Social Welfare at Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Boys Public School, Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi. It ended on 3 October after a closing ceremony that saw participants demonstrating their defensive skills after the 15-day training in collaboration with the Department of Women and Child Development, Nanakpura, New Delhi and assisted by the Crime against Women Cell of Delhi Police.

Speaking on the closing day, Indira Mishra, chairman of the Forum described it as an effort to empower women so that they did not lag behind in any area of life. A 15-day training is not enough, she said adding that they needed more training in order to protect themselves from the daily abuses that are alarmingly increasing.

I feel glad to be among children whom I consider as my daughters, said Maulana Mohammad Asrarul Haque Qasmi, noted Muslim scholar and Member of Parliament from Kishanganj, Bihar. Qasmi, who was the chief guest, said that Islam had given women equal rights centuries before the Europe. Citing references from Islamic texts, he said that it was unfortunate that Muslims lacked in these spheres whereas Islam had given women right to equality, education and had also empowered them.

Earlier, Syeda Imam, Member of National Commission for Minorities hailed the girls and said that women could play pivotal role in society. A girl should be trained not only in how she could defend herself but also how to lay the foundation of a just and harmonious society. For this, they need moral education as well, she said. Women should also introspect themselves because they cannot consider themselves safe and dignified until they are sincere towards their own selves, she added. In her speech, Annie Raja, General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Women emphasized the need for instilling in women the trust and confidence in order for them to feel secure.

Children stage-performed some dramas

Blind children also showed their brilliance, strengthening the belief that even the otherwise differently-able could make a difference if provided proper training. Maulana Qasmi gave away certificates to participants. Indumati Pathak, Shagufta Shawnawaz, Sakina, Sara Khan, Stuti Mishara, Sam Khan, Saina, and others participated in the programme that was beautifully anchored by Nasim Bano and Sadaf. Through poems, patriotic songs, performances, and after a new-found courage and energy, the participants and members of the Forum pledged to fight against injustice and stay aware and alert.

In her concluding remarks, Indira Mishra thanked the guests and the audiences and said that she would continue to conduct such programmes.

[Manzar Imam, a Delhi-based Journalist, is Special Correspondent of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be reached at manzarkhalil@gmail.com]

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