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15 November 2012

Stereotypes debunked in exhibition at Dalhousie

An exhibition created by Muslim women to challenge negative preconceptions about the role of females within the Islamic faith will go on display at the University of Dundee this weekend.

'I Speak for Myself' was first shown at the Scottish Parliament earlier this year, and will open at the University's Dalhousie Building on Saturday, 17th November to coincide with a major interfaith conference being held at the venue on that date. It will then open to the public from 19th-23rd November as part of a Scotland-wide tour.

The exhibition was created by the Amina Muslim Women's Resource Centre in response to a consultation which showed that a large percentage of schoolchildren in Scotland applied negative labels such as "terrorist", "oppressed" and "uneducated" to Muslim women.

The organisation engaged with more than 300 Muslim women from across Scotland to allow them to tell their own story. 'I Speak for Myself' exhibits more than 100 of the messages captured during the roadshow and aims to tackle misconceptions and common stereotypes about Muslim women, thus reducing inequality and sexual discrimination not only within the Muslim community but also in the wider society.

Nadia El-Nakla, from Amina MWRC, said, "We are passionate about empowering and inspiring women, spreading knowledge of women's rights and promoting positive images of Muslim women.

"We're very excited as this campaign is the first of its kind. We're passionate about empowering every Muslim woman to stand up to negative stereotypes and be able to say to everyone in Scotland - 'This is who I am'."

"It will engage with stereotypical and negative images that unfortunately exist and allow the wider public to promote greater understanding and a better perception of Muslim women who contribute so much to our multi-cultural Scotland.

"The messages we gathered were so powerful that we wanted to not only share these with our fellow Scots but we also wanted to help more women, men and young people to get involved."

The conference being held at Dalhousie is organised by Interfaith Scotland, and is open to young people aged 16-35 of all faiths and none. The theme of this year's event is 'Faith in Peace Building' in recognition that interfaith dialogue can be a powerful tool for positive social change on both a local and global level.

A variety of speakers and workshops will examine themes such as conflict resolution, peace and human rights education, dialogue skills, and combating negative stereotypes. The event is free, and vegetarian lunches will be provided.

More information is available from Frances Hume, Interfaith Scotland Development Officer, on fhume@scottishinterfaithcouncil.org or 0141 420 6982.

More information about the campaign is available at www.ispeakformyself.co.uk.


For media enquiries contact:
Grant Hill
Press Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384768
E-MAIL: g.hill@dundee.ac.uk
MOBILE: 07854 953277