A great need to unite the Muslim sisters, led to the formation of the United Muslim Women of Canada, in October of 1995. The UMWC, a subsidiary of the Islamic Humanitarian Service, is comprised of active and dedicated sisters - serving in various chapters that have been established throughout Canada.
Prior to the establishing of the UMWC, sisters were somewhat confined to the 'Ladies' Committees' of the local Jamaats or Institutions. These Jamaats, and therefore the women therein, lacked the opportunity to become actively involved in the mainstream societal matters. There was no mandate to speak up against tyranny or injustice, nor to promote solidarity among the female adherents to the noble Ahlul Bait (AS) nationally or internationally, the UMWC was established. The Sisters setting up the UMWC, envisaged a body that would be dynamic in nature which would appeal to other sisters all over Canada.
Whenever an issue affecting women surfaces, the UMWC prepares an appropriate response, in light of the teachings of the daughter of the Prophet of Islam, Fatimah az-Zahra (AS), the perfect example for all women..
The void of sisters nationwide would resound much louder, than on an individual level from here and there. Therefore, the UMWC has teen working closely, and shall continue to do so with the 'Ladies'
Committees' and 'Muslim Organizations' in each area, and shall coordinate all activities to ensure that there is no duplication or wastage of efforts.
The Mission Statement of the United Muslim Women of Canada
The Mission Statement of the UMWC identifies the mandate of the sisters who are involved in this organization. The most important responsibility at the present time is to prepare for the return of Imam-e-Zamana (AS).
The remaining articles of the Mission Statement are directly related to this goal, and include such items as: encouraging and promoting education among the sisters by organizing lectures and workshops on Islamic and Women's issues; promoting links between women throughout Canada, by joining and promoting organizations whose mandate concurs with those of the UMWC; helping to eliminate poverty by coordinating relief fund raisers for Muslims in the community and the Muslim Umrnah in general; monitoring the Media for anti-Islamic propaganda; and ensuring that the rights of Muslims in general, and women in particular, are upheld.
To serve the religious, political, social and economic needs of Muslim sisters throughout Canada, with the help of Allah S.W.T.
1. To promote education among the membership, and the sisters in general.
2. To actively participate In other women's groups and support common objectives.
3. To coordinate charitable relief activities.
4. Monitor the media and help dispel misconceptions and stereotypes.
5. Issue information circulars and / or articles.
6. Speak out against human rights violations.
7. Prepare for the return of Imam - e - Zamana al-Mahdi ('a).
Some Activities Undertaken
Among the activities undertaken or proposed by some chapters are : fund raising dinners, food bank collections, clothing and blanket collections for the needy, sporting events, writing petitions to the Prime Minister and the United Nations on important issues such as the massacre in Qana, Lebanon, in 1996, displays about Hajj, seminars on "challenges faced by Muslim Women in the West", "The Significance of Marriage", "Finding Strength and Dignity through Faith", "Father/Daughter relationships as exemplified by Lady Sakina and her respected father Imam Husain ('a)", booklets explaining the month of Ramadhan (question and answer format for elementary school aged children), "Living with Hijab" a panel discussion on the challenged and successes when living within the Islamic dress code, Family Harmony, support to Muslim women prisoners, Big Sisters group and many others.
There is never a dull moment when serving as a volunteer with the United Muslim Women of Canada.
Each Chapter elects or selects its own committee with individuals responsible for specific tasks in that chapter. One sister, as the chair, manages the Chapter, ensuring that the goals of the United Muslim Women of Canada are implemented and reported to the Central Committee. Other positions in the local board consist of the Secretary, Treasurer, Public Relations Officer and an Advertising Representative.
Within each local chapter, there may be committees or sub-committees responsible for specific tasks. These committees are headed by members of the local chapter and one under the direct supervision of the Chapter Chair, or another board member as appointed by the Chapter Chair.
In conclusion, it is vital for Muslim sisters to become aware of, and regain the dignity bestowed upon them by the Almighty Allah, which has been lost due to cultural domination, and colonization. The United Muslim Women of Canada stands at the forefront of this awakening.
By the grace of the Almighty Creator, and with the help of Imam-e-Zamana (may he return soon), it is hoped that the United Muslim Women of Canada shall be a beacon for all Muslim Sisters in the western world to emulate in securing their own rights, appreciating their responsibilities, all under the umbrella of the Divine Shariah of Islam.
To Join the United Muslim Women of Canada...
Muslim sisters wishing to join the United Muslim Women of Canada are invited to locate a chapter in their vicinity. If there isn't one in your vicinity, feel free to contact the Central Committee so as to discuss the formation of one.