Women and Power: The role we play in bringing about positive social change


Women & Power: The Role We Play in Bringing about Social Change

In October 2012, Salaam Shalom welcomed to Bristol two speakers from the Middle East, Malaka Samara from Palestine and Leeba Gilad from Israel. Both speakers represented OneVoice, an international grassroots movement that aims to ‘amplify the voice of Israeli and Palestinian moderates’ in support of a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict. This event was held in partnership with Bristol Muslim Women’s Network, Bristol Multi Faith Forum and One Voice Movement

Leeba shared her experiences of the projects and campaigns she has been involved in, since joining OneVoice in October 2011. She spoke in particular about an art intervention held in August 2012 Tel Aviv, where hundreds of people congregated around an enormous ice wall, symbolizing the “freeze” in peace talks. The ice wall contained posters with information on dozens of under-funded social programs in Israel. Leeba also shared her belief that women in particular are desperate to see a peaceful end to the conflict, for the sake of their children.

Malaka then spoke from a more personal perspective, sharing her experience of choosing to campaign with OneVoice while coming from a very orthodox Muslim family. Malaka believes she has an important role as a Palestinian, to help bring a peaceful end to the conflict. Malaka then led a short meditation, which helped prepare the group for constructive discussions.

The first discussions themed around the role of women in activism; some interesting comments included, the recognition that gender roles and behaviours are not clearly defined as we are all individuals, yet there is still a great deal of expectation on both sexes to fulfil certain roles. It was acknowledged that women are still under-represented in positions of power, yet it was also recognised that women are often highly influential without being in the limelight.


Following this, were discussions about solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, where some members of the group challenged a two-state solution and others wanted to know how OneVoice impacted on a political level. Sharon Alsoodani- Director of OneVoice spoke about their work on a strategic level in consultation with members of government and also talked about their Youth leadership programme where young Palestinians and Israelis are given training in conflict resolution to make a difference in their communities.

As the evening drew to a close, discussions went on amongst the group. Feedback was very positive, thank you to all that attended and participated for making this such a stimulating event.

If you missed this event but would like to be kept updated for future events, please email info@salaamshalom.org.uk to request being added to Salaam Shalom’s mailing list.


‘The Champion of Equality’ by Amra Bone

The Champion of Equality was a talk given by Amra Bone, held at The University of Bristol, 16th February 2011 as part of ‘Discover Islam’ Week.

Podcast 24: Muslim Women as Peacemakers

This is the second in the ‘Women in Islam’ series hosted by Majida Khan.

This podcast brings to light three stories of Muslim women, who keep their faith and femininity fully intact while carrying out dynamic peacemaking initiatives on numerous levels – international, national, community and even at home.

Meet Saida…a young French woman who determinately defends her faith as well as her civil rights when confronted with discrimination for her hijab.

Meet Tameem..an Iraqi academic in peacemaking as well as a witness to each of the recent wars in Iraq….learn from how she remained committed to peacemaking…even in the most dire circumstances…

Meet Anjum…a British Muslim and interfaith dialogue pioneer….how she chose to proactively deal with preventing violent extremism as well as its resultant discrimination..

Join presenter Majida Islam Khan on the 2nd of this series, as she get’s inspired from these real stories as well as learning from scholarly commentators on the unique role of women as peacemakers!

Music Credits:

‘Make a Prayer’ and ‘We will Never Submit’ – from the album ‘My Ummah’ by Sami Yusuf.

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Through dialogue & education sessions, broadcast media & the creative arts, Salaam Shalom aims to assist young people & people of all ages to develop awareness of their own culture & identity, alongside understanding the culture & identity of others; doing so primarily between Muslim & Jewish communities, but also between them & communities that they are a part of.

We aim to further understanding between communities so that we can help counter & prevent the development of prejudice & intolerance, which can lead to discrimination & hate-crime.

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