LONDON: International Imam Hussain Council (IIHC) organized the 6th Annual Syeda Fatima (RA) Conference at the House of Lords. The stellar event was attended by a large number of parliamentarians, interfaith leaders, diplomatic envoys and people from senior academic positions.
Rubab Mehdi Rizvi, Chairperson IIHC called it a unique event to celebrate a central female figure honoured and revered by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Lord Avebury, Vice-chair of All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group said that Syeda Fatima (RA) is a role model whose talent, brilliance resounds down the ages. “Anyone who thinks women are not honoured and respected in Islam should look at her life.” Lord Ahmad said that praising the role of Syeda Fatima (RA) for being the role model for Muslims and others is highly important.
Senior Rabbi Mark Winer said that in Muslim tradition, daughter of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was particularly important because she was not only daughter to Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), but also wife to Hazrat Ali (RA) and mother to Hassan (RA) and Hussain (RA), as well as two daughters, Zainab and Umm Kulthum. “She is said to have inherited the wisdom and will-power of her father, was devoted to her husband, gave to the poor, and taught her children in the way of righteousness and piety. In fact, just as Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was an example for all men, Fatima (RA) was an example for all women.”
Barrister Lynne Townley QC said it was Lady Fatima’s (RA) relationship with her father as a small girl that opened the eyes of politicians and important people to the value of the female. “You do not have to be powerful, older, or influential to make a difference. In Fatima’s (RA) case the respect and love that a daughter and father had for each other changed the world.”
Lord Qurban Hussain said that women aren’t just homemakers but change makers. Mary (Hazrat Maryam RA), mother of Jesus was remarkably pious, and so was Fatima (RA). Where Mary gave a prophet to the world, the Prophet (PBUH) gave us Hazrat Fatima (RA): where Mary was a mother, Hazrat Fatima (RA) was a daughter: both vessels of purity, piety, both role models not just for women, but also for men.”
Bharti Tailor, Chair of Hindu Forum Europe said that knowledge of the Hazrat Fatima (RA) also indicated that she was not treated any lesser for she too had the knowledge to act as adviser to others.
Reverend Canon Dr Shannon Ledbetter called for interfaith communities to continue cooperating constructively to find common ground in the creation of just societies through capacity building of religious and civic leaders for inspiring responsible male and female leadership. She acknowledged the role of Hazrat Fatima (RA) in creating space for women in intellectual and spiritual sphere. Others who spoke included Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Mayor Nadeem Ali, Mehri Niknam MBE , Emma Jane, Shaykh Muhammad Amin, Yousif al Khoei, Kaneez Farwa Hisbani, Catriona Laing, Zahra Afzal, Heather Yousaf, Anjum Anwar and Dr MA Lais.