Commitment to Moral and Religious Principles Among British Muslim Women

Friday, 20 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Masoumeh VELAYATI, Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education, United Kingdom
The autonomy and freedom of women – in the sense of what they want to do or to value– is related to “the capability approach”, introduced by Amartya Sen in 1980s, as a conceptual framework to measure well-being in all aspects of life. Taking this approach, Muslim women’s involvement in grassroots organisations should be given a greater value.

Muslim women in the UK are considered to have a less autonomous status than their counterparts in terms of ‘standard outcome assessment’ based on visibility in the labour market, as well as their ‘material means to well-being’. This is often viewed as the indication of gender inequality in Muslim communities.

However, there is a growing commitment among Muslim women to involve in social and cultural activities and help community as a social obligation and a Positive commitment to their faith. My interviews with Muslim women, particularly young well educated, reflect their syncretic identities and inclination to integrate into the British society. They are more capable of claiming various simultaneous identities and more open to engage in inter-cultural discussions. They often self-identify themselves as British Muslims, embrace cultural diversity and balance their faith with the demands of modern life and British values.

They often use the language of rights, especially rights to observe and express their religious values. They enter into a dialogue and communication with wider society, which pave the way for a understanding about Islam and Muslims and their acceptance and integration in British society.

Women in my research were mostly involved in community value-oriented activities, either as their main activity, or in combination with their formal employment. Therefore, at personal level they get self-satisfaction and fulfilment, and at social level, they contribute to the multicultural aspects of British society, social cohesion and cohesive communities through cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.