An evening with Islamic scholar Dr. Naznin Hirji
With a series of monthly interfaith events, the UPF’s Interfaith Committee has been exploring spirituality from many different traditions. Our February event featured author and Islamic scholar Dr. Naznin Hirji, who talked about how to create the right conditions to experience “the sacred,” a subject at the heart of her doctorate.
“According to the polishing of one’s heart can see the hidden meaning of things,” she said, quoting the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi as saying. The sacred could be found in “the silence that speaks” and “a thread that extends from the heart to the lips.”
Hadia Saad had just returned from attending the 54th UN Congress on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York representing the Alulbayt Foundation in London. She also attended the UPF Parallel CSW event in New York. She shared about both experiences. She was left with the sense that there is still a long way to go to obtain justice for women. She reflected on the position of women in Islam stating that tensions develop when the cultural traditions confine Islamic principles. (read more)
Rita Payne, a former Editor of BBC Asia and currently the Chair of the Commonwealth Journalist’s Association, reflected on the status of women in current developments and her own experience in the media in her speech, Women and Success – Is Hard Work Enough? ‘2010, on the face of it, is not a bad year for women’, she said, for example pointing to Katherine Bigelow’s Oscar success on the eve of International Women’s Day but 'the battle for stronger representation for women is far from over.’ (more) This was a joint WFWP - UPF event.
During the International Women's Day event Kat Callo, a 17 year former Reuters correspondent, explained the tragic cause of her work as a Trustee of Project Mosaic. Her cousin, a New York City firefighter, died in 9/11 trying to save those within the World Trade Towers when the buildings collapsed. She began Project Mosaic, a UK-based educational charity that helps teach young people to be more tolerant of those coming from a different background – whether that’s a different race, ethnicity, religion, nationality or culture. She said, 'Violent extremism … plays on the theme of “the outsider” – but it combines it with fear and ignorance, to creates a poisonous cocktail for our young people. With a conversation, over a cup of tea or at a youth club or at a gathering of mothers at a refugee centre or talking with family members and friends. We are working to amplify the voice of the outsider – that person that takes a weakness and transforms it into a strength.' (read more) This was a joint Women's Federation for World Peace and Universal Peace Federation event.
'I am described as the most hated man in England’ said Keith Best, the Chair of Immigration Advisory Service UK (IASUK), referring to a BNP website as an illustration of the controversy and confusion that surrounds the immigration debate. (Press Release link here.) Yasmin Alibhai – Brown commented that the media had surrendered the debate to the anti – immigration lobby. Lord Parekh explored how to frame an effective discussion on immigration (full speech link). Video of Seja Majeed's talk.