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Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet, Bristol Women's Voice

Inspire were pleased to support Bristol City council to apply for funds and host a conference for Muslim women in the city- the “Bristol Big Sisters’ Conference”. As well as support consultation groups to ensure representation of women from across the city,  Kalsoom Bashir Co-director of Inspire facilitated a workshop on “Barriers to Employment” and was part of a question time panel on Islamophobia and radicalisation.

The conference was attended by over 100 women and addressed the key themes of discrimination, extremism, education and employment. Inspire facilitated the barriers to employment workshop and also chaired a multi agency panel on Islamophobia and the Prevent agenda.

 

Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet, Bristol Women's Voice
Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet, Bristol Women’s Voice
Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet, Bristol Women's Voice
Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet, Bristol Women’s Voice
Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet, Bristol Women's Voice
Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet, Bristol Women’s Voice
Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet, Bristol Women's Voice
Photo by Lucie Laborde Briulet, Bristol Women’s Voice

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Kalsoom is an organiser of the Bristol Big Sister's event taking place on Sunday 16th October 2016 at The Park Community Centre.

Kalsoom Bashir is the community co-chair of Building the Bridge, a partnership approach to increasing community cohesion and resilience, and reducing the risk of radicalisation; an organiser of the Big Sister’s conference in Bristol and a director of Inspire, a non-governmental advocacy organisation working to counter extremism and gender inequality.

Here are Kalsoom’s top-five Bristol favourites:

The Downs

“I live close to the Downs and being able to head out for a walk towards the Sea Walls and marvelling at the view every time I see it makes me feel like the luckiest person ever. I love seeing the joggers, children playing and learning to ride their bikes, dog walkers and kite flyers. It’s fantastic. The trees look amazing in the autumn.”

The parks

Clifton slider – worn smooth by generations of Bristol bottoms

“Having had four children, the parks were a lifesaver no matter what the weather. St Andrew’s Park with the paddling pool, Redland Green with the sandpit, Eastville Park and the ducks, Cotham Park’s play area, the sliding rocks in Clifton, Leigh Woods, Ashton Court and of course Bristol Zoo.”

The harbourside

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“On a nice day – and even on not such a nice day – there is nothing like walking down to the harbourside enjoying the view and marvelling at the ss Great Britain. The Watershed is a great place to sit and meet friends and I will always have lunch at Falafel King.”

St Mark’s Road 

“Food is important and this is the best place to go when I need to stock up on herbs, spices and ingredients for home cooking. As well as Pakistani food, I love Turkish, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine so this is the place to shop, and I am always guaranteed a warm welcome in Sweet Mart.”

Redland Library 

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“I love reading and am not able to walk past my local library without just a quick browse to see if anything on the shelves catches my eye. I love the fact that it’s well used by people of all ages and is always full. Long may it remain so.”

 

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On Wednesday 12th July 2016, Kalsoom Bashir, Inspire’s Co-Director had the honour of hosting the South West launch of the new film “Left Behind” by Prevent Tragedies.  The National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters campaigns team’s latest film features four police Prevent Contact Officers talking about the impact on families when a loved one travels to Syria or another conflict zone. They describe the distress and heartache families go through and appeal to viewers to seek help if they are concerned about someone they know and love.

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In attendance at the event were women and representatives from a number of communities in the region, providing valuable feedback and and committing to provide ongoing support to the initiative.

The short (6 minute) film,  hosted on the Prevent Tragedies website www.preventtragedies.co.uk, has also been produced in subtitled format in Turkish, Somali, Urdu, Punjabi, Sylheti, Kurdish, Bengali and Arabic. An English subtitled version has been developed for deaf and hard of hearing communities.

 

 

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Inspire logo counter extremism

On Wednesday 27 April a group of Year 10 and Year 12 students took part in a workshop that was designed to tackle issues relating to self-confidence and healthy relationships for Muslim girls. Poet and activist Shagufta Iqbal, and author and co-director of the women’s NGO ‘Inspire’ Kalsoom Bashir were invited to lead the afternoon’s activities.

The students were given a safe and honest space to raise questions and tackle misconceptions about their roles and expectations as women in society. The Year 12 students acted in the capacity of mentors and the afternoon culminated in the writing and performing of poetry to express the dialogue of the day.

Shortly after the event, Shagufta tweeted “Had an incredible afternoon with the lively and awesomely talented young women…(at Cotham learning community)…can’t wait to read their poems!”

The students’ poems will be published in the next full newsletter available here: http://www.nbp16c.org.uk/

 

Source: http://www.nbp16c.org.uk/News/We-Will-Inspire/

 

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Sara wins in the Social and Humanitarian category

Inspire is thrilled to announce that our Co-Director Sara Khan won the Social and Humanitarian category at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2016 that took place last night at the Hilton, Park Lane, London.

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Social & Humanitarian Award Winner 2016- Sara Khan- Inspire

The other nominees within the category who also deserve a nod for their service and commitment to the cause of empowering and inspiring women to fight and overcome abuse, inequality and injustice are:
Santosh Bhanot, Founder & Chair, The Circle: Asian Circle
Manjit Gill, Founder & CEO, Binti
Winnie M Li, Co-Founder, Clear Lines Festival

Sara and Inspire are deeply honoured to have our work recognised in this way by Asian Women- Congratulations Sara!

 

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Inspire’s Co-Director Sara Khan with her trophy at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2016

 

 

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Kalsoom Bashir- Co-Director of Inspire, addressed the audience at this year’s Anne Spencer Memorial Lecture organised by the University of Bristol’s MultiFaith Chaplaincy on Wednesday 27th of April 2016.

Kalsoom’s address followed a talk by  Sami Awad, a Palestinian Christian and peaceworker on the importance of Muslim-Jewish relations in the UK and Rabbi Monique Mayer.

The text of Kalsoom’s closing statement follows:

If there is to be peace in the world, 
There must be peace in the nations. 
If there is to be peace in the nations, 
There must be peace in the cities. 
If there is to be peace in the cities, 
There must be peace between neighbours. 
If there is to be peace between neighbours, 
There must be peace in the home. 
If there is to be peace in the home, 
There must be peace in the heart. 

Peace radiates outwards and in order for it to take root we all bear a responsibility to impact within our sphere of influence.

Increasing parts of the world are becoming battlegrounds and although distant, these war zones and areas of conflict are brought into our homes and play upon our emotions testing the tolerance that has been traditionally at the forefront of our communities in the UK.

Our Jewish neighbours  fear they are being held to account for events far beyond their control. Similarly, Muslim communities feel under threat from those who blame them for the actions of others.

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the summer of 2014 brought protest marches and a peace vigil to our City amid tensions between different communities across the country.

Many felt it was right to protest but also felt unease at things they were hearing and felt the climate was ripe for misunderstanding. I felt that it was not acceptable that there were those that felt fearful of people like me- Muslims because of the protests and that I I could not allow that fear to take hold and fester.

I accepted the invitation to be a facilitator at the two sided dialogue events not because I was an expert on the Israeli Palestinian issue-far from it in fact. But because I felt a personal obligation to do what I could to bring neighbors together to help humanize one another and in doing so challenge the dehumanization of the other,

In facilitating dialogue, we were clear it was not facilitating debate, This was to be conversation in which the participants’ primary goal was to pursue mutual understanding rather than agreement or immediate solutions.

We hoped it would give an opportunity to learn about the perspectives of others. And that participants reflect on their own views.

I can’t say with rose coloured spectacles that it was easy or without challenge. Members of Bristols Muslim communities were low in attendance but were represented. It was a start.

We made it clear that we were not there to solve   ‘the problem’ but hopes concerns, fears and frustrations were shared, listened to and heard. It was a sold foundation upon which we could move forward and I am pleased that the work of the Multi faith forum and salam shalom in the city continues.

Why I took part despite my reservations can be summed up in a story from Islamic tradition that I would like to share with you

Prophet Ibrahim and the small bird or Ababeel as it is called in the quran. 

When Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) was thrown into fire for refusing to worship idols, a small bird was taking a drop of water and dashing towards the fire. A crow asked the bird what would he do with this drop of water. The fire was massive and a mere drop of water won’t help in any way. The bird replied that on the day of judgement, God  would  question him of what he had done to extinguish the fire in which the Prophet Abraham was thrown. He said, “I am sure God will not ask me whether I managed to put out the fire or not, but God  will ask what I did to stop the fire”. The fact was that the fire wouldn’t get any colder but at least his drop of water, his responsibility, and his contributions were there. I wanted to be counted amongst those that tried. 

 

 

 

 

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As we approach International Women’s Day (8 March), the National Army Museum is hosting a public discussion about the representation of women and gender in recruitment propaganda. Appearing on the panel will be Kalsoom Bashir from Inspire alongside Professor Jo Cox and Claire Langhamer

Exploring the imagery in propaganda posters of the First World War up to present day (including terrorist organisations like Daesh), we will ask how and why gender has been used to encourage men to fight, and for women to send their men off to war.

The panel of experts will have ten minutes each to discuss these questions from the perspective of their own research and experiences before opening the floor to questions from the audience.

For further information and bookings, please visit:

http://www.nam.ac.uk/microsites/ww1/events/women-britain-say-go-use-gender-recruitment-propaganda/#.Vs2Kh32LTnD

 

 

 

 

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Inspire and Sara Khan recently spoke in Birmingham at the “Our Families, Our Future” conference.

Acting as keynote speakers, Inspire spoke on how parents can help safeguard children from extremism and were well received by an audience of over 170 women.

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Sara Khan was asked by the European Parliament’s Committee of Culture and Education to give evidence on the prevention of radicalisation on the 15th October 2015. The only Muslim and the only female on the panel,the purpose of the hearing was to debate issues relating to the prevention of radicalisation and the possible approaches to prevent the various forms of radicalisation in the European society.

You can read more what Sara and the other panellists debated here:

SOCIAL MEDIA

EVENTS