United Muslim Women Association

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Public Awareness Campaign

Launch of Linking Hearts: Supporting Families Together

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The United Muslim Women Association (MWA) was excited to launch Linking Hearts: Canterbury Bankstown Multicultural Family Homelessness Support Service at Haldon House Function Centre in Sydney's South West on Tuesday 24th March 2015.


Linking Hearts, a new service supporting individuals and families in need, was launched by NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Gabrielle Upton, and NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello.


Linking Hearts is a new innovative program that builds on strong interagency relationships to provide holistic and culturally sensitive support options for those at greatest risk of homelessness.  Linking Hearts is a program funded under the NSW Department of Family and Community Services Going Home Staying Home reforms.


Ms Upton said the Linking Hearts program will provide support for individuals and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are at risk of homelessness.


“I welcome this new program aimed at helping to ensure the most vulnerable in society, including new migrants and refugees, are able to access the services they need regardless culturally and linguistic background,” Ms Upton said. “In particular I pay tribute to the Muslim Women’s Association, led by Maha Abdo OAM, for its dedication to supporting migrant families, especially women and children, across Sydney at risk of homelessness and domestic violence.”


Mr Dominello said Linking Hearts would provide culturally-appropriate services for individuals at risk of homelessness, including women and children escaping domestic and family violence and refugees requiring crisis care accommodation. “We’re one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world, so it’s important that we have specialist migrant homelessness services - where the staff understand the culture, speak the language and have strong links to the community,” he said.

Ms Joumana Harris, President of the MWA, stated "The MWA is excited to be leading this initiative.  Linking Hearts draws together a number of agency providers to work together to bring a better outcome for our clients.  We are pleased to be able to leverage off our strong interagency relationships to deliver a key platform of the Going Home Staying Home reforms."


Working with the MWA on this key initiative will be our key partners:

  • BaptistCare NSW and ACT
  • Creating Links (NSW) Ltd
  • Southern Sydney Women’s Therapy Centre Inc
  • Domestic Violence Service Management
  • Metro Assist Inc.


Ms Maha Abdo, Executive Officer of the MWA, stated, "The need for emergency and crisis support in the community is growing and crosses cultural and social barriers.  For the first time, through Linking Hearts, we have a support service that also crosses these very same boundaries."


The MWA, with over 30 years experience in supporting the community, is excited to be leading this evolution of support services in NSW.


To read the ABC News article on the Linking Hearts launch please click here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:35

MWA Media Release 1st October 2014

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Muslim women shocked at attacks on religious dress


The Muslim Women Association notes recent comments by several members of the Australian parliament that once again place the spotlight on Muslim women’s dress.


The Muslim Women Association finds these comments exceptionally offensive as they imply that Muslim women’s dress is associated with criminal elements in society. Worse still is that such statements imply that Muslim women’s dress is “not Australian enough” to be accepted in public.


“Such statements are at best ignorant and at worst a deliberate attempt to target the Australian Muslim community. It is extremely disturbing that the Prime Minister has not shown real leadership on this issue.” said Ms Abdo.


To read the media release please click here.


{Book} Islamic Family Law in Australia

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The Muslim Women's Association (MWA) was honoured to have been part of the launch of Dr Ghena Krayem's book entitled "Islamic Family Law in Australia: To Recognise Or Not To Recognise" on Wednesday 14th of May 2104 at NSW Parliament House.

The book was launched by the Hon. Diana Bryant AO, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and the event was hosted by the Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Citizenship and Communities, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

Over 100 people attended the book launch and listened to inspiring speeches by the Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, and the author of the book Dr Ghena Krayem, who is currently a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney.

This book explores the issue of the ways in which Australian Muslims deal with family law and is based on the first empirical study of its kind in Australia. This is an extremely significant publication for the Australian Muslim community as well as the academic community.

"Through the words of religious and community leaders as well as ordinary Australian Muslims, the book questions the assumption that accommodating the needs of Australian Muslims requires the establishment of a separate and parallel legal system." (MUP Academic)

Dr Krayem has generously donated all profits from the book to the Muslim Women Support Centre.

Further details on Dr Krayem's book are available from Melbourne University Publishing.

A short video (< 5min) of the launch is available here.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 11:30

SBS Radio Interview with MWA Executive Officer

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Below is a summary of an interview with MWA Executive Officer Maha Abdo on SBS Radio Arabic on 27 May 2014


The Muslim Women Support Centre (MWSC) has been providing support services to Muslim women and their families who are experiencing domestic and family violence for the last 25 years.


However, the sector is currently undergoing some changes and about six months ago we submitted our prequalification application for all services within the domestic and family violence support area. We then submitted our service model application, and we are still waiting to hear back from the government if we will be approved for funding for our service or not.


This is after 25 years of providing this service specifically supporting Muslim women experiencing domestic and family violence. The whole sector is actually quite perplexed at the current state.


There is a need to do a mapping exercise within the broader NSW area so that we can see exactly which areas need the most support and specifically what type of support is needed.


We need to ensure that those who are funded to support children and young people are developing and implementing appropriate programs that will have an everlasting effect.  We need preventative measures, as opposed to bandaid solutions.


Our concern is with the families that may no longer be supported, where are they supposed to go if everything is streamlined and they don’t have a Muslim specific service with years of experience to cater for them, and understand their specific needs?


We hope there is cooperation between the existing organisations and the government to ensure the best outcome for those directly effected by domestic and family violence, the women and children.


I also participated in the Walk for Respect, in Lakemba last Saturday the 24th May and was truly a walk of unity. Different races, colours, religions, and walking together with the clear message of strength in unity. It was an action of true respect, a sense of respect with sincerity for those around you. It was a beautiful day, a truly Australian experience, with real respect for our indigenous community, a buzzing and vibrant family atmosphere and all walking strong and united, with a sense of peace and community.



The complete interview can be found on the SBS Arabic Radio Website:


Please Note: The interview is in Arabic


MWA Media Release 3rd April 2014

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The Muslim Women’s Association has expressed outrage at the actions of an anti-Islamic hate group which posted a photo on its social media page on April 1 of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and captioned it with extremely negative and derogatory comments.

The woman was photographed by a person sitting opposite her on the train as she was on the way to work. She was unaware that she was being photographed. The person then posted a photograph of the Muslim woman on a Facebook page belonging to a group whose main aim is to instigate hate against Australian Muslims.. The caption of the photograph was not only extremely offensive and insulting but also vilifying of the woman in the photograph as well as Australian Muslim women more generally.

To read the media release please click here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 April 2014 22:22
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