Inspire founder and co-director Sara Khan has today been named on the BBC Woman’s Hour 2015 Power List: Influencers. The list identifies ten women who have had a huge impact on women’s lives in 2015; those who have influenced the way we live our lives and the way we see ourselves and the world around us.
Sara said “I am humbled at being recognised as worthy of such a prestigious title. Having set up Inspire in 2009 to challenge extremism and to champion women’s rights, I do this work because I passionately believe there is a great need for it especially as we witness the threat of Islamist inspired extremism both here and abroad. Whether working with local authorities, schools, the police, with parents or young people, it is a cause I am committed to regardless of recognition or award.
However it is heart warming to know that people do recognise the hard work and positive influence of Inspire. I am grateful to the judges for even considering me as someone worthy of such recognition.”
In the wake of the uproar caused by the news of three teenage girls from East London travelling to Syria to join ISIS, Inspire’s Co-Director Kalsoom Bashir appeared on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on 1 March 2015.
She spoke about the lure of the extremist narrative and the danger it poses particularly to young, impressionable women seeking guidance and direction. Kalsoom also highlighted Inspire’s work with grassroots organisations and in particular the latest campaign #MakingAStand, which seeks to equip women across the country with a strong counter narrative.
On Sunday’s The Big Questions on BBC, Inspire Co-Director Kalsoom Bashir participated in a discussion about the challenge of radicalisation, the successful prevention of extremism, and the role of schools in working with young people.
The programme saw broad agreement among participants on the need to challenge violent extremism, and considered the role of teachers in identifying students’ potential of being pulled into extremism.
Drawing on her experience of having worked with women’s groups on a grassroots level across the country and as a teacher for 15 years, Kalsoom emphasised the importance of teachers paying close attention to ‘tell-tale signs’ of troubling behaviour in teenagers. ‘Teachers are very well positioned to spot those push and pull factors among young people, particularly in those vulnerable years… Schools have always been at the forefront of safeguarding.’
Six months have gone by since Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls from their villages in northern Nigeria, six long months of waiting for a sign of life and hoping for their release. Yet, just last week, the terrifying news reached us of a renewed kidnapping of dozens of girls by the militant terror organisation.
Amidst the horror; three brave girls, taken from their beds by militants at night, courageously escaped Boko Haram’s brutal clutches and reunited with their families. The BBC is now retelling their incredible story as a cartoon, dedicating a short animation to them as part of their 100 Women series.
Since 2009, Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 500 girls and women in Nigeria, a horrifying toll. Human Rights Watch published a new report this week, detailing the mental and physical violence endured by the abducted. Read more here.
We urge all women to join us in #MakingAStand and condemning this barbarism which treats women as spoils of war to be traded.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, founder of Inspire Sara Khan explains why as many as 60 young British Muslim girls to date have left the UK in support of ISIS as either a “jihadi bride” or even to take up arms.
Inspire’s #MakingAStand campaign, launched last week, is a direct response to the radicalisers who are poisoning the minds of these young girls, further evidenced by the recent disappearance of 15 year old Yusra Hussien from Brighton, suspected to be travelling to Syria. For more information on the campaign, see www.wewillinspire.com/making-a-stand/ and tweet your support using the hashtag #makingastand.
As the controversy around Universities UK’s guidelines on gender segregated seating continued to dominate the news, Sara Khan spoke out against the reasoning and consequences of gender segregation on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
On 4th November 2013, MCB’s Farooq Murad was asked a series of questions on extremism and women’s rights. Sara Khan was featured in the film before the main interview raising questions about whether MCB has done enough to tackle widespread gender inequality within Muslim communities, institutions and mosques.