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Fierce Courage: Muslim Women's Transformative Activism with Samina Ali, Jane Sloane, & Ghazala Anwar

April  25, 2013
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


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Samina Ali. Photo credit Thayer Gowdy. Jane SloaneAnshu Chatterjee

Fierce Courage: Muslim Women's Transformative Activism with Samina Ali, Jane Sloane, & Ghazala Anwar

Inspired by the courage of young Pakistani activist Malala Yousufzai to speak up in the face of violence, the title for this panel is "Fierce Courage: Muslim Women's Transformative Activism."

From the midst of "sensational" and "shocking" violence that captures the attention of the US and the world, on the one hand, and the often disregarded and under-reported daily violence suffered by girls and women, we hope to give voice and provide a space for a conversation about Muslim women's agency and activism. We would like to highlight how Muslim women are defining and characterizing their struggles and their achievements, and how they envision a mutually supportive trans-border engagement with the non-Muslim factions and allies in the "West." The panel will be facilitated by Dr. Anshu N. Chatterjee.

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Samina Ali is currently the curator at the International Museum of Women for their upcoming global exhibition, Muslima: Muslim Women's Art and Voices. Samina has been involved with prominent Muslim organizations in the US to help change the national dialogue about Islam, especially the perception of Muslim women. She is co-founder of the Muslim American feminist organization Daughters of Hajar, which organized the first woman-led prayer in New York. A trailblazer and visionary, Samina has built a career as both a successful novelist and a widely popular speaker. She is the first Indian Muslim woman fiction writer to be published in America with her award-winning debut novel Madras on Rainy Days. The novel has been translated and released around the world. France awarded it the Prix Premier Roman Etranger Award , Best Novel in Translation. Poets & Writers Magazine named MADRAS as one of the Top 5 Best Debut Novels of the Year. It was also a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award in Fiction.

Dr. Ghazala Anwar is Associate Professor of Quranic Studies at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA. Dr. Anwar's research and teaching interests include Islamic jurisprudence and Sufism, as well as the exploration of issues of healing, gender and sexuality in Islam. She also participates frequently in national and international colloquia on interfaith dialogue and other current issues relating to Islam. Dr. Anwar pioneered the movement of LGBTIQ Muslims. Her religious interpretations link the suffering and oppression of LGBTIQ Muslims to that of Muslim women and non-Muslim minorities in Islamic countries. Her research and perspectives sparked protests, and eventually led to her dismissal from the post of deputy dean of the Asuluddin Faculty (women's campus) in the International Islamic University in Pakistan.

Dr. Anwar has taught at the School of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, in New Zealand, and a number of universities in the United States, including Temple University, where she completed her PhD in Religion in 1993. She is also a member of the American Academy of Religion (AAR)'s steering committee on Lesbian Feminist Issues and Religion.

Jane Sloane is Vice President of Programs at Global Fund for Women. She was previously Vice President of Development with Women's World Banking in New York and prior to this was Executive Director of International Women's Development Agency, supporting women's rights organizations across the Asia Pacific region. Jane has held executive positions with social sector organizations including World Vision, Marie Stopes International, Austrade, World Vision and the Social Entrepreneurs Network where she was the founding CEO. Jane holds a Master's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney and a BA (Hons History) from the University of Adelaide. She is a recipient of a Global Ambassadors Award from the Advance Foundation, a Woman of Distinction Award from the Asia Pacific Women's Business Council, a Churchill Fellowship, an Endeavour Fellowship from the Australian Government, a Human Rights Medal from the Vietnam Women's Union, a Future Summit scholarship from the Australian Davos Connection and a Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Fellowship. She serves on the Board of the International Women's Funding Network and is a Patron of Marie Stopes International. Her blog is

Dr. Anshu N. Chatterjee teaches political developments in South Asia at the Naval Postgraduate School. She finished her PhD. from University of California, Berkeley in 2003. Her current research examines civil society groups in relation to identity politics and state relations in disturbed areas in South Asia. Her past research includes globalization and civil society, specifically political parties and the media. Her other work experiences includes working in India as a journalist.

This event is co-sponsored by the Women's Spirituality Department.

California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103