The Muslim Community Center of Greater Rockford had their 6th Annual Women in Islam Event on Saturday March 5, 2011. 100 women from various faith communities gathered at MCC Saturday night to listen to presentations on the role of women in Islam.
Aisha Shaheen, the event organizer, stated that this program allows the community to learn more about women in Islam, to clear up misconceptions about Muslim women, and build ties between women of different backgrounds. The event also was planned in honor of the National Women’s History Month.
Communications Coordinator Amina Sharif was a featured speaker during the program. Sharif’s presentation touched on how Muslim women are portrayed in the media and the different stereotypes commonly shown.
Sharif engaged her audience in an exercise in which she showed a short Fox News story on Muslim women in America and had the audience analyze the stereotypes presented. Some pointed out how Muslim women were depicted as oppressed or submissive to their husbands and unable to assimilate into American culture.
Sharif had countered each point by explaining how Muslim women on average have higher education levels and employment rates than the national average for women in America. She also pointed out that Muslim households on average have more income equality between men and women, an indicator of gender equality.
Aisha Shaheen said that “everyone was excited to hear what Amina had to say. She awakened peoples’ inherent awareness of justice and fairness.” Once Amina pointed out a bias in the news report the audience opened their eyes more to what she had to say, added Shaheen.
“The event was very successful,” said Shaheen, “the audience was very happy with how the event turned out.” Shaheen said that the focus for next year’s event will be to attract more women from colleges and high schools.