Amina – Muslim Women’s Resource Centre
About Amina MWRC
Amina MWRC is an award-winning organisation, recognised by Muslim communities and key partners within Scotland for its pioneering and responsive approach to addressing key issues and needs of Muslim women. Having invested in this specialist area where there was previously a gap in services in Scotland, Amina is recognised as the national hub for gaining access to, and consulting with Muslim women across Scotland. The organisation has been instrumental in initiating and tailoring services to meet the particular needs of Muslim women to ensure that they are able to fully participate in society without fear of discrimination or inequality.
Founded on the principles of community development, our work is underpinned by community empowerment, participation and partnership working. Vital to creating a fairer Scotland for all, is our engagement work with Muslim women to ensure their voices are able and empowered to contribute to national policies and that mainstream agencies, government bodies and policy makers have an informed understanding of barriers preventing Muslim women from accessing services and participating in society.
Amina MWRC’s programmes
Amina offers a range of tailored support services such as our national ‘listening ear’ helpline which also offers Islamic advice through a scholar and befriending. Our Ending Violence Against Women and Girls programme engages in campaigning, training, policy work and consultancy with organisations as well as community awareness-raising. We offer self-care workshops and other work to support mental wellbeing.
Through the cumulative and vast experience of staff and volunteers, Amina also creatively raises awareness of key issues through our engaging campaigns such as ‘You Can Change This’ (raising awareness of violence against women), ‘I Speak for Myself’ (challenging negative stereotypes/misconceptions of Muslim women as well as our successful school’s work which engages directly with over 2000 young people to tackle prejudice and hate crime.
Race equality and women
Racism affects women in a slightly different way to the way in which men are affected. Likewise Islamophobia. Often, insults are tinged with sexism or sexist stereotypes as well as racism and/or Islamophobia.
Women from White Scottish backgrounds are often subject to racist comments parcelled in with Islamophobic ones.
Women who face this harassment, and barriers linked in with racism and Islamophobia, share their stories with Amina MWRC so we can raise awareness of how unacceptable this is.
We also act as a third party reporting centre for hate crime.
Some people believe that only the most flagrant racist abuse is worth reporting, but micro-aggressions – little things that erode a person’s sense of self – are also unpleasant to cope with alone.
To hear about how young women feel about this, and how they’d like to change society, listen to this programme on ‘My Big Beating Voice’ www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otbjk-bJc6E
Kimberlé Crenshaw developed her theory of intersectionality in 1989. Since then, it’s been used to develop understanding of the ways in which sexism and racism impact on women from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. As Scotland is not a very racially diverse country, especially in rural areas, women experiencing these things can become very isolated and even internalise the beliefs forced on them by others.
This is why diverse media and cultural events are so important.
To learn more about racism in the media, you can read our blog post here.
‘Chalk’ – five short plays about violence against women
Often, creative work to raise awareness about violence against women can centre the stories of white, Scottish women and doesn’t usually touch on faith either as a source of strength or as a facet of identity that can lead to an abuser engaging in spiritual abuse.
To mark International Women’s Day 2020 Zero Tolerance and Amina The Muslim Women’s Resource Centre created Chalk – five short plays about violence against women.
Chalk gives an intimate view into realities of everyday violence many women face. The stories of accepting the often-blurred lines of violence and abuse, of women’s drive to escape, erase and rewrite aspects of their lives, and of stigma which prevents women from seeking help.
Chalk lines are fleeting and link in with the way that 1 in 3 women experience violence which can happen at any point in their lives regardless of their backgrounds, social status, sexuality, faith, ethnicity or ability. This violence isn’t always physical, and it can take many different forms: psychological, sexual, spiritual, emotional or verbal. These forms of violence might not cause physical suffering but still cause huge harm to survivors.
Sharing these stories is our call for solidarity, to draw the line and take action to challenge social attitudes that make violence against women acceptable and allow it to take place.
Our scripts reflect stories shared with us by Muslim women and women from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Our cast is diverse and we believe it’s important for people to be able to see themselves reflected in creative work, no matter their culture and heritage. This will go some way to addressing the imbalance in mainstream media and culture.
Partnership work for race equality
Developing this work in partnership with Zero Tolerance has been invaluable as they have such a wide reach and can promote the work to far more audiences. Their input and feedback has also been very helpful. They have shared resources and worked with us to ensure the performances are of a high standard, in a spectacular venue.
We’ve also worked with Zero Tolerance on the #AnyWomanAnywhere campaign.
In the run up to International Women’s Day 2019, Zero Tolerance, Amina: The Muslim Women’s Resource Centre, The Church of Scotland, and Summerhall created Any Woman, Anywhere to raise awareness of the prevalence of violence against women, the different forms this violence takes, and the extent to which it can affect all kinds of women.
A film was created and then projected onto a wall on the Grassmarket in Edinburgh. The content of the projection mapping gave voice to women’s experiences of violence. The messages in it were created in partnership with members of the women’s sector, survivors, and key focus groups run by Amina: The Muslim Women’s Resource Centre and The Church of Scotland.
If you would like to find out more about Amina MWRC, please look us up online
To find out more about Zero Tolerance, look here: