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By Rahma Anis

8th of March marks ‘International Women’s Day;’ a global day to recognise women’s achievements. The day has a focus on celebrating the achievements of women, highlighting oppression and violence against them and campaigning for justice.

At this juncture, the plight of many thousands of women around the world is brought to the fore; their strugglesignored, and their voices muted. I would like to dedicate this post to women in war zones, the pregnant women suffering genocide, the widowed women in detention camps, women fleeing civil war and persecution and all those denied their basic rights.

Growing up as a Muslim female and learning about Islam, I have found inspiration in the narratives of women from our tradition. Our ‘Mothers in faith’ inspire us with iman, strength, humility and trust in Allah.

Hajer (RA) alone in a deserted landscape, ran between two hills in the scorching heat seeking water for her baby. It is this plight that we emulate as a global community during a pillar of our pilgrimage; the sa’i. Did she know during these desperatemoments that her efforts would be crystallised as a rite of worship of utmost significance.

Maryam AS is the only woman to be mentioned in the Qur’an, by name. She is so significant that a Surah is named after her. Imagine her fear when approached by an angel in the form of a man, citing that she would bear a son. Imagine her desperation, returning to her people cradling a child whilst they look on accusingly? Her trust in Allah was unwavering. Allah places the highest honour upon her

“Oh Maryam, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.”

Surah Al-Imran (3:42)

Whilst feminists remain silent on the desperate situation in Gaza, I salute the journalists, healthcare and humanitarian workers as well as ordinary citizens of Gaza; male and female.

Let me mention a few heroines:

The Palestinian mother (whose name was never mentioned), covered by journalists whilst cradling her dead baby in her arms. She was filmed crying and declaring that she had endured 580 injections for the fertility treatment that enabled that very pregnancy. May she be reunited with her child in Gardens of Bliss. Where were the voices of concern and condemnation?

Out of the many journalists, I would like to highlight Bisan Owda. She has heroically covered life in Gaza, through the haze of war and propaganda….showing us with clarity, the resilience and strength of the Palestinian people. She has fled for sanctuary multiple times and conveyed to us the trauma of life as a refugee in war-torn Gaza. May she be rewarded for her witnessing to the truth and may she live to see freedom and justice.

Finally, I’d like to mention Lama Abu Jamous, Gaza’s 9 year old story-teller. At an age when she should be playing carefreewith friends, she has been catapulted into documenting and recording the intense bombardment of her neighbours and communities. Her wish is to see an end to war and to enjoy a peaceful future. She is a journalist; remarkable for her age and maturity. May she see the peace we all wish for her and her fellow Palestinians.

These are just some of the women who inspire me. These are the women who truly deserve a platform this year, but these are also some of the women who I know will be forgotten by the world.