Women in Burnley


As I was on my way to Burnley, I thought about the women in various parts of the country getting together, sharing experiences, stories and a meal, some of which I have the privilege to know and work with.

Now that I’m writing this piece, I’m also reflecting on Bonnie’s speech, which she read at the launch of the Women of Faith Directory in Leicester. The questions of the need of women getting together comes to my mind, as well as other questions that women are asked on why the segregation?

Bea Foster shared a story of a man coming to her, while she was at a supermarket, and asking her in an unpleasant way why there was no men included in the trip she was organising to visit the Holy Land. And without giving her the time to answer, he left. But she followed him to speak to him and clarify the matter, but he did not want to know.

There are men and women doubting and questioning women only spaces.

I have written about this before, quoting myself: “Women agreed that in addition to mixed groups for inter faith and meetings, space for women-only activities is needed and has its benefits, as there are different topics and interactions taking place in each, which brings different experiences and knowledge.”

Having spent time with the women group in Burnley, I can see the great interaction, laughter and good time they share being together. In addition to this, this friendship is what I believe brings communities together when there is fear, misconception and ignorance about the other,  such as demonstrations organised radical groups EDL and others.

In recognition of this valuable work done women of faith, we have earlier in the year given awards to women for their outstanding contribution to inter faith.

As Bea Foster, Samina Ali and Kath Bill were in the Holy Land while we were celebrating women’s achievement, we decided to present them with the awards at the Face to Faith monthly meeting, for their outstanding work in the field of inter faith, on behalf of the Christian Muslim Forum and Near Neighbours.

Coincidentally on the day, the topic discussed was the Honour System (OBE, MBE etc) and there was great discussion about the need for more women being nominated as statistics show that women have received less Honours than men in the past year.

Once more, it was very inspiring to spend time with the women in Burnley and I’d like to thank Farah Naeem who organised the event and answered my phone calls.


From Burnley's Newsheet:

As mentioned in the Special celebration Week News Sheet Zahre Imame from the Christian Muslim Forum, presented Bea and Samina with a Special Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to Inter Faith Work in Burnley. Kath Bill’s was a Lifetime Award for her outstanding contribution to Inter Faith Work in Burnley.

The ‘trophies’ are rather splendid. If you get the opportunity ask to see them.


Zahra Imame


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