Al Noori Muslim School Eid Festival Essay

Al Noori Muslim School is a K-12 school located in South Western Sydney. Al Noori Muslim School’s mission is to provide a high quality education in a supportive environment that inspires students to achieve their full potential. The school environment promotes and nurtures a sense of self-worth, discipline and understanding of the rights of fellow human beings. The school values are derived from the Islamic principles, which directly correlate with the “Values for Australian Schooling”: care and compassion, doing your best, fair go, freedom, honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, respect, responsibility, understanding, tolerance and inclusion.

Al Noori Muslim School’s focus is to deliver NSW Educational Standards Authority syllabus requirements at the highest possible standard of teaching and learning. It aims at providing students with highly rewarding and productive learning programs that incorporate a variety of stimulating events and initiatives.

Al Noori School also maintains a selective admission policy. Prospective students sit an entrance/aptitude test. However, Al Noori Muslim School prides itself on a rich extra curricula program that supports the needs and interests of its students beyond the classroom.

Two-day International Interdisciplinary Conference on Women Universities as Agent of Change started at the International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) on Friday 26th November,  2010.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira was the chief guest on the occasion. Prof. Fateh Muhammad Malik Rector IIUI presided over the opening ceremony while Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui, President IIUI and Mrs. Parveen Qadir Agha Vice President IIUI also addressed. Faculty members, administrative officers, staff members of the university and a large number of students were also present on the occasion. Some scholars from abroad are also participating in the conference.

Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira in his address said the role of enlightened and educated women is critical to the development of any society. He added that Women universities do not merely impart education to women; it also empowers them. Mr. Kaira said that Empowering a woman means strengthening her family, her community and her society. Other salient features of his speech included: –

  • when a woman is given the opportunity to both learn and work in an open environment, free of artificial inhibitions, then a woman realises her full potential to become a valuable and respectable resource for the society.
     
  • As a harbinger of positive change, the Islamic University indeed has produced women graduates who are contributing to our society in multiple domains.
     
  • The female scholars produced by IIU are bold, confident, and religiously astute having a pragmatic vision.
     
  • IIU has produced religious scholars, economists, lawyers, engineers, linguists and experts in literary studies.
     
  • This institution, therefore, stands as a proud symbol of women’s universities as agents of change.
     
  • The present democratic government has a strong focus on women’s participation in the political, social and economic activities of our society, which can enrich the fabric of our society.
     
  • In the political arena, women have proved their competence and worth.
     
  • Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, was the first Muslim woman Prime Minister in the world.
     
  • Dr. Fahmeeda Mirza is the first speaker of the National Assembly of a Muslim country.
     
  • The Peoples’ Government has played a constructive role in bridging the gender gap, which enhances a balanced functioning of society.
     
  • No doubt, a foremost tool for women’s empowerment is education and we are making constant efforts to empower the women of Pakistan through education, awareness and job opportunities.
     
  • This international conference has provided us with an opportunity to have a candid discussion and debate on the major issues of women and education, and what needs to be done to harness the potential of both.
     
  • I congratulate the Female Campus of the International Islamic University for organizing such an important event and welcome all the speakers, from aboard as well as from within Pakistan, for making an effort to bring change through their valuable ideas.
     

Concluded Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira

Prof. Fateh Muhammad Malik Rector IIUI in his presidential remarks said that Islam is torch bearer of women rights. The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) gave special attention and distinction to women by acknowledging their role. Fateh Muhammad Malik added that the Holy Prophet was supported firstly by Hazrat Khadija (R.A.) and then by Hazrat Fatima (R.A) in may ways. Fateh Muhammad Malik said that Hazrat Fatima (R.A) was symbolized by Allama Iqbal in his poetry as a role model for women of the world. Prof. Malik said that the International Islamic University is marching towards achieving the goal of women empowerment in accordance with Islamic teachings. 

Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui President IIUI in his welcome address said this conference is being held as a part of Silver Jubilee celebrations so as to honour and show to our community the success of this university which is growing in terms of female enrollment. The female students come from all parts of the world, representing 45 countries, particularly China and Central Asia. The IIUI thus brings together various ideas and experiences pertaining to the pragmatic utilization of women potential and their pivotal role in development of humanity as whole. He said that during the past 25 years the university has produced around 7,000 female graduates. In our recent convocation, the female students obtained most of the Gold Medals of the Faculties.

He further said that the inception of a separate female Campus in IIU was rooted in a vision to provide women with avenues for development, advancement and empowerment. With the independent and academic research and administrative setup, providing the space for the professional and intellectual development of the women, IIU caters the traditionalist mind sets of vast population. This all-girls environment to receive higher education is becoming popular especially in such subjects as Management Sciences, Computer Sciences and Engineering.

Mrs. Parveen Qadir Agha Vice President IIUI in her address gave details of the conference. She said that empowerment of women was main factor behind holding this conference.

Eminent scholars from other  universities of Pakistan, UK, USA and Malaysia presented key note addresses on the first day of the conference. Details of the topics discussed are as under: –

Prof. Dr. Anees AhmadVice-Chancellor of Riphah International University, Vice-Chairman Institute of Policy Studies and meritorious Professor of Islamic and Comparative Religions. Abstract: Islam and Empowerment of Women Between Tradition and Change: Empowerment of women has been linked with economic development in the developing as well as the so called developed world. The UN has also shown its concern on empowerment of women through its various working groups. However the issue needs to be studied in its wider context. The social price of economic involvement of women too needs to be properly examined and evaluated. This paper will try to look into conceptual foundations of women empowerment and its implications for a holistic social development. Effort will be made to look into Islamic sources and understand relevance of Islamic teachings with the topic in contemporary social and economic context.

Dr. Nor Faridah Abdul Manaf Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Abstract: Women’s Universities in the Muslim World: History, Challenges and Prospects :Women’s access to education in Islam is a God-given right which is often abused by powerful religious establishments in a number of Muslim societies. As the world becomes smaller through globalization and digitalization, it becomes more critical of ways women, especially Muslim women, are treated not only in the Muslim world but also, around the world. However, this paper aims to examine the development of selected women’s universities in the Muslim world. It will look at the history, challenges and prospects of these selected women’s universities and the main objective is to gauge how much achievement and impact have these universities made on their female graduates and what kind of contributions Muslim women have provided to their countries. The paper also explores challenges faced by these women’s universities and discusses prospects and opportunities for empowering female population in Muslim countries.

Dr. Maria JaschokDirector of International Gender Studies Centre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom Abstract: Sources of Authority of Female Leadership in Islam female ahong and qingzhen nüsi (women’s mosques) in China: The main factors which have contributed to the enduring longevity of female ahong-led women’s own mosques in predominantly, but not exclusively so, Hui Muslim communities in central China, lie in the historical needs of a besieged Chinese Muslim diaspora for women’s active participation in a collective project of Islamic revival and Muslim survival. Developments over time led from learned women’s ad hoc roles as religious instructors of girls and women, guided by fathers and husbands, to the institutionalization of female leadership in the early 20th century in both teaching and ritual guidance. From the first beginnings, the active role of women was controversial and, as on-going internal dissension in the Chinese Muslim Sunni community over the concept of bid’a demonstrates, women’s public visibility in organized Islam remains divisive. The presentation asks how women-led Islamic institutions could last into the current century. It is argued that female ahong as the most evolved expression of women’s role in organized Islam in China exist because their role is embedded in the physical presence of women’s own spaces as vital conditions of the exercise of female authority. This continued legitimacy of Muslim women’s own traditions of worship, education and congregation is in turn indebted to both a growing assertion of a Chinese Muslim identity within the umma as well as to support by the Communist Party/State, conferring authority by legal and administrative means. The unique features of this case study suggest the imperative for context-specific scholarship to document innovative local adaptations of universal ideals.

Prof. Dr. Yasmin Nilofer Farooqi Professor, Department of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Abstract: Psychological Problems of Pakistani Women: This paper addresses psychological problems of Pakistani Women and the role of diverse agencies of socialization in creating gender inequality and discrimination. It further discusses the ideological, cultural, and sociopolitical resistance to the process of unfolding of human rights mission for Pakistani females. The author further suggests psychological interventions to prevent gender discrimination and violence against women of all age groups in order to empower them in developing countries like Pakistan.

Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Akhtar & Tahira Kalsoom (Ph.D Scholar), Principal Alfauz International College for Girls Jauharabad. Abstract: Endorsing Critical thinking in Muslim women through Critical Pedagogy of Language Education: The study examines effects of critical pedagogy on the development of critical thinking through teaching English essay writing. The research also provides guideline to English Language Teachers to endorse critical thinking in language learning and to teach language for reasoning. Quantitative and Qualitative data were collected from English language students to test the hypothesis (by incorporating critical thinking through English Essay Writing promotes reasoning skills among the students). Descriptive Statistics, Paired Sample t-test and graphic representation were executed for the analysis of data. A marked difference (41.26 Mean Score) was measured in the performance of English language teachers in the result of critical thinking instructions into the composition of English Essay Writing. A significant difference was measured between Post-test I and II among the students. The results signify that by incorporating critical thinking in teaching English Essay Writing promotes reasoning skills among the subjects. The research suggests replacing the old cycle of transmission pedagogy with critical thinking pedagogy in language education a vehicle through which the students gradually discover themselves in the process of language leaning, and develop the cognizance of appropriate language to reason.

Khush Funer Murtaza, Professional Development Centre North, Aga Khan University, Abstract: Women’s empowerment through higher education: Theory and action: The growing social awareness across the globe has brought a number of issues to the fore among which gender equality and empowerment of women are very significant. Discrimination against women in the form of male-female differentiation constitutes the core of the gender-biased system. Education is the biggest liberating force and the rise in the levels of education which nourishes progressive outlook has affected a sea change in the attitudes and thinking pattern of the people. However, political empowerment of women has to be preceded by economic empowerment which is made possible through skills imparted by higher level education. The scheme of higher education through the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Gilgit- Baltistan has transferred real economic power in the hands of women and has considerably reduced their dependence on men. The higher level learning is helping them to learn skills and play an effective role in society. This paper attempts to illustrate the current status of women in Higher Education in Gilgit-Baltistan. It also relates the success stories on the impact of Higher Education programs through the experiences of AKDN. Further it highlights the lessons learnt and challenges faced in the process, and concludes with a suggestion for a possible and preferable way forward.

Tahira 0Naudhani, Assistant Professor,  Department of Social Work , University of Baluchistan, Quetta. Abstract: Reasons of illiteracy among the rural women of Balochistan (A case study of district Musakhail:

This study explores the reasons of illiteracy among the Balochistani women specifically those residing in the rural areas of Balochistan province. It contains useful information about the educational and the social status of illiterate Balochistani women in a rural society. The researcher has examined thoroughly the socio-economic factors and also the religious context causing the illiteracy among rural women. Data was gathered by sampling technique, questionnaires and focus group interviews from the District of Musakhel. It was concluded that education is a valuable asset for the nation at the present time and an illiterate society cannot achieve successfully the peak of the socio – economical development. Only education and especially female literacy can serve as an important avenue for the improvement of societal conditions and status of the general masses.

Dr. Sarwet Rasul is a PhD in Linguistics. Abstract: Empowerment of Pakistani Women Parliamentarians: Perceptions and Reality: Women’s access to higher education is considered a tool of their empowerment in the intellectual, organizational, social, economic, administrative and familial spheres. Ideally speaking empowerment is an active multidimensional process which should enable women to realize their full identity and powers in all spheres of life including greater autonomy in decision making, greater ability to plan their lives, and greater control over the circumstances that influence their lives. However, these theoretical assumptions related to empowerment are questioned when it comes to the beliefs, customs and practices prevalent in real life. In this context the present paper explores how far Pakistani Women Parliamentarians are empowered in their professional and personal lives. Since politics is a domain of power, it is generally perceived that women politicians enjoy a great autonomy in different spheres of their lives. The gap, if any, between perceptions and realities related to the lives of 8 to10 women Parliamentarians is explored through the use of interviews as a tool of inquiry. It is expected that the paper will provide fruitful insights into the issues of gender and empowerment within the personal and professional spheres of women parliamentarians.

Dr. Munazza Yaqoob the Incharge of the Department of English, Female Campus, International Islamic University Islamabad. Abstract: Education for social change: An evaluation of feminist pedagogy: Drawing upon Marxian critique of ideological educational practices, which serve the interests of dominant groups, feminist pedagogical models are grounded in the vision of social change. Feminist pedagogy is potentially emancipatory as it recognizes the potential of education for social change. So it is regarded as critical pedagogy which can be understood within the framework of critical theory. Its aims are to train women to recognize and evaluate their power and position in the existing social structures, and develop critical thinking skills to perceive contradictions, injustices and oppressions in society. It attempts to give new definitions of power and knowledge. Various teaching strategies through which feminist pedagogy works to achieve its aims include telling personal stories, listening to and understanding other’s narratives, bringing personal experiences in classrooms and connecting them with contents, interdependence, dialogues and discussions, multiple interpretations of issues , and critical reflection on the information presented by teachers. This paper attempts to evaluate aims, objectives, and teaching strategies of feminist pedagogy in order to find out whether and how it can be regarded as a revised educational model with transformative potential to empower the marginalized and bring social change.

Saiyma Aslam lecturer, Department of English, International Islamic University Islamabad. Abstract: The Role of Women Universities in Development of the Self: This paper examines the role Pakistani women universities play/can play in development of the Self by critically analyzing multiple jeopardy Pakistani women are subjected to, developing multiple consciousnesses of the oppressive situations and enabling multiple mediations to effectively counter resistances. The age of globalization especially necessitates investigation of new influences and pressures that require multiple mediations by women around the globe. The potential women universities hold in development of an independent, creative, and critical stance needed for development of the Self needs to be explored. Certain issues to be addressed in this regard are: What potential women universities hold for destabilizing patriarchal constructs and expanding the opportunities for women scholars and professionals? How far women universities prepare/facilitate women to transcend traditional gender constructs? What role Pakistani women universities play in countering the increased social pressures women experience in the age of  globalization? To what extent women universities can initiate and consolidate an indigenous feminist awakening that takes in view the entirety of socio-economic and political changes in Pakistan? How best to synchronize female empowerment with a positive social change? The paper suggests the need for Pakistani women universities to continually evaluate multiple pressures women daily face to enable women actively tackle existing as well as emergent challenges.

Nasreen Akhtar & Sameera Ahmad MPhil in Psychology: Abstract: Perception of Professionals towards Women Employment in Pakistan: The present study investigated the gender differences in the perception of  professionals towards women employment in Pakistan. Qualitative approach  was adopted to explore the phenomenon in depth. For this purpose, two focus groups consisting of professional men (n=8) and professional women (n=6)  were formed including participants belonging to education, health and banking industry. Focus group protocol consisting of 10 broad questions based on literature reviews was planned. Interpretative henomenological analysis (IPA) was used to analyze the data. Results indicated that there was consensus on the point that the first job of a woman is to take care of their families. However both men and women professionals agreed that women employment is a source of empowerment as it raises their confidence, develops the feelings of independence, grooms their talent and helps in meeting financial constraints. The study also found that both the groups also had certain reservations regarding women employment due to factors differing according to gender of the participants. It was concluded that both the groups had an agreement on the point that the trend of women employment is becoming positive and will be more positive in future. The study has important implications for educationists, employment agencies, government and non government agencies working on women issues.

Rabia Iftikhar & Abida Sarwar is currently pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology from Government College University, Lahore.  Abstract: Marital Coping Among Single and Dual Career Couples: The present study examined the relationship between marital coping among single and dual career couples. The sample consisted of  single career and dual career couples. For the assessment of marital coping, Marital Coping Inventory of Bowman (1990) consisting of five subscales (conflict, introspective self blame, positive approach, self interest, and avoidance) was used. It was hypothesized that dual career couples will have better marital coping as compared to single career couples. The results showed a significant difference in the marital coping among single and dual career couples. It was found that married men have better marital coping as compared to married women. Moreover, the findings indicated that middle class couples have better marital coping as compared to lower and upper class. Similarly, there was a significant difference between couples living in nuclear and joint family system. The results also showed a significant difference in the marital adjustment of couples with different educational qualifications.

Malik Naseer Hussain & Dr. Ayaz Afsar Dr. Ayaz Afsar is working as an Asst. Professor in the Department of English, Male Campus, International Islamic University Islamabad. His areas of research include Applied Linguistics, Phonetics, Narratology and Postcolonial literature. He has several international publications to his credit and is also supervising several PhD and MS scholars. Malik Naseer Hussain is pursuing his PhD Linguistics from International Islamic University Islamabad. He is working as a Lecturer/HOD (English) Fazaia College Chaklala, Rawalpindi. He has participated in different conferences and has published two articles in “KAWISH”, a yearly educational magazine of Fazaia College Chaklala. Abstract: Gender Representation in English Language Textbooks at HSSC Levelin Pakistan: This study of gender representation aims at analyzing the four English language textbooks of HSSC classes approved by Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Islamabad, and all the educational boards of the Punjab. The starting point of the study is that gender equality and equity are among the major concerns of the world today. But the current practices in education sector in Pakistan do not speak for it. The study is conducted in two parts by employing a feminist perspective. The first part uses the qualitative approach of Kabira & Masinjila (1997) framework of gender analysis. This model looks at the textbooks by raising a series of questions that expose the gender responsiveness of a text. The questions are concerned with five categories viz. actions of characters, locus of their activities, focalization of characters, their power relations and the use of language. The second part uses the quantitative approach by counting all characters, and ultimately determining the ratio of characters/references of both genders in the textbooks. The results of this study show that the representation on gender basis is unequal. The study recommends that textbooks should be reviewed and gendered balanced texts should be included in the English language syllabi of HSSC classes.

Sofia Hussain and Amal Sayyid, Lecturer and Amal Sayyid is a Research Associate in the Department of English, Female Campus, International Islamic University Islamabad. Abstract: Current Trends in Gender Studies in Pakistan versus Representation of Women in Pakistani Fiction in English: A Comparative Study: This paper attempts to investigate the recent researches conducted by various departments of Gender Studies in Pakistan in order to explore the major issues concerning gender roles in our society. It further aims at evaluating the depiction of gender roles in contemporary Pakistani fiction in English to determine if our fiction presents a realistic picture of the cultural fabric of our society or is it otherwise. Since literature is a significant tool to comprehend the social and cultural foundation of a society, so the present paper aims to analyze contemporary fiction in English in order to see if it is an authentic presentation of the indigenous gender roles keeping in mind the sociocultural perspective of our society. The study will be limited to Gender Studies departments of QAU, AOIU and FJWU. Data will be collected from these departments to scrutinize the trends in the recent researches conducted during the past 15 years. Fictional works of Kamila Shamsie, Mohsin Hamid, Bina Shah, Uzma Aslam Khan etc will be analyzed in depth to explore whether representation of women by these authors corresponds to the issues highlighted in recent gender studies researches in the above mentioned departments.

Sonia Irum, Uzma Abid and Khola Majeed are working as Research Associates in the Department of English, Female Campus, International Islamic University Islamabad. Abstract: Beauty and the Beast: Fixation of identity in Woman at Point Zero byNawal El Saadawi and Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho: This paper attempts to explain how gender constructs the differential authority men and women have over the  socioeconomic determinants of their lives. The paper endeavors to explore the myth of hiding a woman in a golden cage of isolation where her voice is not recognized around the world just for the fact that she is Other, Weak and in worst cases Inanimate. Literary works produced by a Muslim writer i.e. Woman at Point Zero (1979) by Nawal ElSaadawi and the non Muslim world i.e. Eleven Minutes (2003) by Paulo Coelho will be selected in which representation of woman will be scrutinized. The fragmentation of identity of the female, the myth of evil breeding from female, female as a desired calamity and a painted ill will be analyzed in the works produced by these writers. Gender development theory in the field of Psychology will be taken as support to highlight how family and peers are influential in fixing the identity of a female not as an individual but as an object of the male gaze. This automatically sets another binary opposition as beauty and the beast respectively where the latter is always on a quest to cage the former.

Muhammad Naeem Akhtar (Deputy Director-TEVTA) Abstract: Factors Affecting Women Participation In Higher Education In Pakistan:  Pakistan is a developing country having a population of approximately 160 million. Almost half of the population comprises of females. It is very unfortunate that a majority of the female population is neither going for formal education nor intends to get higher education. The literacy rate in our country is much lower amongst the female vis-à-vis male population. Gender imbalance is quite visible in the institutes of Higher Education in the country. This paper addresses numerous factors which affect women participation in higher education in Pakistan. These include social, political and economic factors. After compilation of data and consolidation of information, Time series analysis was carried out by the researchers. Subsequent to thorough and threadbare research the variables like the average age of marriage of females, structural transformation, cultural barriers, employment trends, poverty head count ratio, road density and age dependency ratio have been identified as major factors affecting women participation in higher education in Pakistan. This study concluded that the female population should feel encouraged to come forward and share in the progress and development of the country by getting higher education and this would only be happened if attitudinal changes in the society be promoted.


Mr. Qamrar-uz-Zaman Kaira, Federal Minister for Information addressing a 02 days International Interdisciplinary Conference on "Women Universities as Agents of Change" at the International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI), Prof. Fateh Muhammad Malik, Rector IIUI and Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui, President IIUI also seen in the picture


Mr. Qamrar-uz-Zaman Kaira, Federal Minister for Information, Prof. Fateh Muhammad Malik, Rector, International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui, President IIUI, Dr. Anees Ahmed, Vice Chancellor, Riphah University, Mrs. Parveen Qadir Agha, Vice President IIUI and other renowned speakers from abroad addressing 02 days International Interdisciplinary Conference on "Women Universities as Agents of Change" at the Islamic University (IIUI).

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