Report for the period 2008 to 2009 

MWNNA’s goals and objectives are to:

  1. improve Muslim women’s capacity to represent their interests in Australia, particularly in relation to gender disadvantage and discrimination;
  2. enhance understanding of governance issues including accountability and transparency;
  3. improve networks and alliances between MWNNA , Muslim women and other women’s organisations;
  4. participate in interfaith dialogue.
  5. promote a positive image of Muslim Women in Australia.

A publication written by the President, Hajja  Sr Aziza Abdel-Halim, A.M. – “Did You Know?”  which addresses the issues of rigid interpretations concerning the position of women in Islam, and Muslims’ interactions with non-Muslims has   been printed and distributed widely in Australia and overseas with the assistance of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. This book achieves two main purposes: – while the Muslims are highlighted the fact that some rigid interpretations may have cultural bearings, non-Muslims are given the correct information so that misconceptions and stereotyping is dispelled. The launch of the book on 31 July 2008 in Auburn by the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Laurie Ferguson, generated a lot of interest from the media and the general public. This book can be downloaded from our website at:

This was followed by several functions at state & local libraries, women’s groups, where sister Aziza talked abut Islamic issues and distributed her book “Did You Know”.

With our various activities in relation to bridge building and interfaith dialogue initiatives in conjunction with the National Action Plan initiatives of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and Office for Women, we are continuing to forge amicable, sustained relationships with other women’s organisations such as Australian Women’s Coalition, Baha’i faith groups, Bosnian Women’s Cultural Association, Catholic Women’s League, Columban Missionary College, Girl Guides Australia, Hindu Women’s Association, National Council of Women, National Council of Jewish Women, Oxley College, Pan Pacific and South East Asian Women’s Association, Quakers,  North Sydney Library Association, Soroptimist International, Uniting Church, various Universities, Vedanta Society of Sydney, VIEW and Rotary Clubs Australia, Zonta Club of Sydney, amongst others.  Two anecdotes below sums up the effectiveness of our efforts:

  1. When sister Zubeda attended the funeral of the past National Council of Women (NSW) president, late Mrs. Bev Pavey’s daughter in her eulogy, said: “The highlight of my mother’s career had been a visit to Auburn Gallipoli Mosque organized by Muslim Women’s National Network.”
  2. Sister Zubeda was invited to address a group of 50 women from Catholic Women’s League in Bowral.  One of the participants told me that before she heard my talk, she did not want to have anything to do with a religion that exalts “suicide bombers” as martyrs. But now she changed her opinion and knows that Islam is a religion of peace and does not condone acts of violence against society or any form of destruction.

We have also continued to assist researches into Islamic issues from NSW, VIC and QLD.

Further, the annual (and/or biennial) Sydney Regional Forum sponsored by RISEAP Women’s Movement has been effective in our collaborations with Muslim Women’s organizations in Australia and twenty three other countries in our South East Asia and Pacific Region.

MWNNA is also recognized by the government as being the peak Muslim women’s advocate. In this regard we assisted in the organization of and participation in the
Australian Conference of Imams in Sydney. Currently we are involved in formulating courses in Islamic Studies with the Centre of Islamic Excellence headed by Professor Abdullah Saeed at the University of Melbourne. Also, we are working closely with the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission. We also hosted and received delegations from the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

Under the auspices of Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the MWNNA in conjunction with Islamic Women’s Welfare
Council of Victoria successfully delivered advanced Leadership training and Organisational Development workshops in every state of Australia and the Northern
Territory. A total of one hundred and twenty three women attended nine workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Tasmania.

Participants expressed a high level of satisfaction with the key components of the program and the extent to which the program has supported them in achieving the objectives. The most frequently mentioned objective as having been met included:

  • Increased understanding of what constitutes an enlightened Muslim leader and what qualities are needed in leaders.
  • Increased self-awareness and self confidence
  • Strategies to meet women’s individual professional and personal  needs related to organizational and leadership skills
  • Action plans that will enable them to move their organisations forward
  • Extended networking opportunities

We are pleased to report that a continuation of the above project is currently being undertaken which will aim to build Muslim women’s capacity to take greater leadership responsibilities, better communication and consultation activities. This is in alignment with the 2007-08 Women’s Leadership Development Program Grants by the Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs which aims to provide support to national women’s non-government organisations to develop projects that strengthen their effectiveness and increase their capacity to contribute to the development of public policy.


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