Category Archives: Women

@FabulousSISTERS – Hymens, Hijabs and Helmets: Muslimahs Who Cycle

Readers, I present my latest green column for SISTERS Magazine which is all about cycling as a Muslim woman.  Got a great response to my more personal columns so it’s about my experience navigating the cultural minefield that this otherwise innocent form of transport throws up. Anyway, I hope you enjoy and share. Just click on the images to have a read.

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MCM: Manchester’s Climate Vulnerable – An Interview with Atiha Chaudry

P1000904Whilst it’s easy to think that all those people ‘really vulnerable’ to climate change live in far away places, the truth is they don’t. They live in cities great and small all over the world. And there are some living right here in Manchester. Who are they? Well, there are the marginalised, the socially, economically and politically vulnerable. They are our old, our BME, our asylum seekers and refugees and whilst our climate keeps changing, we ought to figure out a way to protect them.

Last year, the Manchester BME Network got £15,000 from Defra to do exactly that. They were tasked with “mapping the needs of BME, older people and refugee and asylum communities to better understand their needs and concerns about the impact of a changing change.” The project also wanted to find the gaps and consider how these might be addressed. The project is led by Muslim Communities UK (MC-UK) with direct support from Manchester BME Network (MBMEN), Salford Refugee Forum and Creative Hands Foundation. The partners interviewed 100 people and held four focus groups.

Ahead of the final report which will be released next week, MCFly caught up with Atiha Chaudry, from MBMEN, to talk about their findings and what happens next.

Could you tell us a little about the Manchester BME network and the work it does? Continue reading

Aquila: The Pink Revolution – Overthrowing Sexual Violence

the pink revolution aquila sexual violence harassment imprint must boi holly kearl

‘Perhaps this is a Rosa Parks moment,’ says street harassment expert Holly Kearl, pondering the global outcry following the rape and subsequent death of the young student in India. ‘If it is, I am sorry it took a woman being tortured to death to cause it, but if wide-scale change is a result, then at least her death will create something positive. Perhaps it will prevent many other women from experiencing what she did.’

That’s a tiny snippet from the article I recently wrote for Aquila Magazine on sexual violence and harassment. As well as talking to activists in India who are reeling from this incident, I spoke to Nihal  Zaghloul, a campaigner who co-founded ‘The Imprint Movement’ to tackle sexual harrassment in Egypt after a horrific experience in Tahrir Squar. Holly Kearl who is author of Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women, also offers her practical advice and tips to end harassment. To read this article and seriously loads more, download the latest Aquila magazine for a measly $4.  That’s like £2 – nothing basically so no pressure or anything, but you may want to click here and download it….

SISTERS Magazine: Climate Justice and the Muslim Ummah

Click on the images below to read up my latest column for SISTERS magazine on climate justice and why it’s particularly important for Muslims to consider the future.
Green Ummah 1 SISTERS Magazine

Green Ummah 2 SISTERS magazine

Aquila Magazine: Leila Khaled – Daughter of Palestine

leila khaledLeila Khaled is probably the reason the saying “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” was invented. Okay, so I am exaggerating but not by as much as you would think. At the age of 25 Leila Khaled and a fellow combatant hijacked a plane to highlight the plight of the Palestinians who had been forgotten in the refugee camps of Jordan and Lebanon since the formation of Israel in 1948. It was 1969 and a year later, after some plastic surgery to make she wouldn’t be recognised, she would hijack another plane. Some hailed her as a hero, others as a terrorist. I interviewed Sarah Irving, author of recently published ‘Leila Khaled – Icon of Palestinian Liberation’ to talk about the hijackings, assassination attempts, marriage and life in a political organisation.

Read the full article and lots more by purchasing the January edition of Aquila Style here.

Mapping Palestine’s Environmental Civil Society – The Good, the Bad and the Uncooperative

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A study mapping the environmental actors in Palestine shows a desperate lack of co-operation between organisations and donors keen to play it safe with ‘practical projects’

The lovely people at Heinrich Böll Stiftung had done something that I have been procrastinating about for almost lifetime (well, not quite a lifetime but a good couple of years at least). They have mapped out the important actors and organisations on the environmental scene in Palestine. Exciting, right!? They have painstakingly gone through all those websites, NGOs and institutes with an environmental focus to bring us a clear image of the state of the environmental movement in Palestine. They found that out of 2,245 NGOs registered in the oPt only 104 were environmentally-focused and of these, just 56 were actually still active. More juicy details after the jump.

The Facts on Green Palestine

- 104 registered environmental civil society organisation in the West Bank and Gaza

56 civil society organisations are actually still active

- Over 70% of environmental civil society organisations feel that their relationship with other organisations is competitive rather than co-operative

Limited funding and efforts to raise their grassroots presence are two main reasons for the competitiveness between organisations

8 key organisations in Palestine based on their size, the variety of programmes implemented and geographic range:

Most organisations complained that international donors attempted to remain neutral by focusing in practical action and lacked the political will to enforce real changes by addressing Palestinians’ rights to natural resources. As such many organisations felt their projects were simply ‘coping mechanisms’. Even so, the relationship between NGOs and funders was generally described as co-operative if highly dependent.

: For the full article and to find out the top 9 key green organisations in Palestine go to GreenProphet.com

: Palestine (Photo credit: Squirmelia)

Interview with Masdar’s Director of Sustainability – Nawal Al-Hosany

portrait of UAE national woman

In 2010, after eight days of hiking in freezing temperatures Nawal Al-Hosany reached the Uhuru Peak of Kilimanjaro Mountain. She explains that she underwent the challenging climb to highlight the impact of climate change which is melting the mountain’s snow and to encourage greater action in the Middle East. Al-Hosany who joined Masdar in 2008 as the sustainability associate director is now its director of sustainability. She also director of the influential Zayed Future Energy Prize. I caught up with her to talk about Masdar and how you incentivise renewables in a rich, oil-producing country.

Here’s a snippet of the interview which you can read in full at GreenProphet.com.

GreenProphet: A recent report titled “Prospects for Energy Technology Advancements in the Energy Sector,” written by yourself and IRENA highlights the opportunities available to MENA if they embrace renewables. Why is now such a good time to adopt renewable technologies?

Nawal Al-Hosany: The MENA region, and especially the Gulf States, has an opportunity to leverage its expertise in energy and move into new sectors, including wind and solar power. The future energy mix will include renewables, and we should embrace this transition. In addition, the region also has an abundant solar resource – an energy we should tap into to address energy security and our rising demands. Although the region’s renewable resources have been underexploited, technology advances and increased deployment are now making certain forms of clean energy economically viable across the region.

Who are some of the women working in the environmental sector that inspire you?

The lack of women working in the environmental sector, and the opportunity to do more, is what ultimately inspires and motivates me. We only have a handful of women across the globe that are participating in the discussion on renewable energy, sustainability and addressing climate change. These are global issues that impact us all, irrespective of the roles we play or that have been defined [for us] by society.