India Crescent Society of Australia (ICSOA) based in Sydney organised a webinar on Sunday 22 November 2020 on the topic of “Status and challenges of Indian Muslim Women” attended by a worldwide audience from Indian diaspora and addressed by well known speakers from overseas and Australia:
- Ms Tanya Pilbersek, Federal Member of Parliament from Australian Labor Party who has served as a Cabinet Minister in the Rudd and Gillard Governments. She was also Deputy Leader of the Labor Party and Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
- Ms Jodi McKay, State Member of the NSW Parliament and Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of NSW.
- Shama Mohamed, Spokesperson of Indian National Congress and and a Dentist by Profession hailing from the southern Indian state of Kerala.
The webinar was planned and run by ICSOA Women subcommittee where the program was moderated by Mrs Iram Rasheed.
The program commenced with showcasing the ICSOA promo video was run by ICSOA followed by a welcome by Mr Fasihuddin Khan, ICSOA Secretary who also explained the objective and achievements of ICSOA since its formation in 2016.
President of ICSOA Mr Abbas Raza Alvi, acknowledged the custodian of land and shed light on the importance of topic and empowerment of women.
During her address, Ms Tanya Pilbersek emphasised the support for vulnerable members of our community including women, students and newly arrived.
Ms Jodi McKay praised the importance of Multiculturalism, celebration of several festivals and her participation. She offered to talk on any issue related with women and commended the initiative of ICSOA to bring forward Women members of community.
Dr Shama Mohamed’s address was very interesting, impressive, and thought provoking, supported with statistics in education, economy, jobs, employment, domestic violence, and self-employment.
She started her address by invoking the first verses revealed from Holy Quran, ‘Iqra Bisme Rabbekal Lazi, Khalaq” saying while they were all about education, then why Muslims in general and women in particular are lacking in education well below national average.
Dr Shama Mohamed said that Muslim Women in India are economically impoverished, politically marginalised, and educationally neglected and that in order to empower women, education should be promoted at every level that will instill confidence amongst them.
She strongly advised for the modernisation of Madrasa system and opening of more modern schools for Muslim. Another of her strong message was to educate Moulvis with modern educational skills, and train themfor living Islam in our modern society since after all they are the one who connects people at grass root level.
She said that Islam is a religion, which is most tolerant, accommodative, non-discriminative and free from racial prejudice.
She reiterated that Islam is beyond “Hijab and Jihad’ only. As per her observation and reading, she said that women in general lacks respect, honour, and status in family, community, and society.
Dr Shama Mohamed said that most men do not treat their counterparts equally, though in Islam “Heaven is under the feet of women”. Women can empower themselves provided they have patience, resilience, self-confidence, and awareness.
Program was concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr Lenina Chennariyil.