This profile was last updated in 2005
Founded in 1992, the Muslim Women’s League (MWL) is a non-profit organization “working to implement the values of Islam and thereby reclaim the status of women as free, equal and vital contributors to society.” Its main goal is to increase awareness of women’s rights as guaranteed in the Qur’an, and to dispel stereotypes of Muslim women that contribute to discrimination against them. MWL relies on the Islamic ideals of freedom, justice, respect, and honor as the basis for change, and seeks to aid Muslims as they heed God’s call to seek justice on behalf of the oppressed.
Programs, Projects and Resources
The range of programs, projects, and resources provided by the Muslim Women’s League is indicative of its holistic approach to Muslim women’s empowerment. From personal spiritual growth to public media outreach, MWL seeks to eradicate women’s oppression in all spheres of life. MWL sponsors spiritual retreats, study groups, and dialogue sessions; hosts conferences, symposia, and other educational forums; seeks media outlets for informing the public on Muslim women’s perspectives; publishes articles and position papers that express members’ varied understandings of Islam; networks with grass roots, civic, and religious organizations; and participates in global women’s initiatives.
As part of its outreach, MWL Spokesperson Dr. Laila Al-Marayati recently joined the US delegation to the Conference on Human Dimension Issues of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where she spoke on religious freedom. Other MWL speakers have been invited to the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, the Skirball Institute of American Values, the State of the World Forum, and the SALAM group in Sacramento. MWL also sent a delegation to the UN Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995 and spearheaded the Women’s Coalition Against Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992.
Local Community Involvement
In its own community in California, the Muslim Women’s League sponsors summer sports camps for girls and partners with a free clinic to improve the reproductive health of Muslim women. Past events held locally by MWL include a luncheon to honor women in the media, a panel for Muslim lawyers and Islamic law scholars to speak about Muslim and American family law, and a symposium for journalists and politicians called, “Islam: Beyond the Stereotypes.” At various functions, MWL has hosted renowned speakers such as Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, Dr. Amina Wadud Muhsin, and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Current projects include the development of a sex education and human development curriculum for Muslim children ages 11-14, the publication of health brochures that focus on women’s health issues from an Islamic perspective, and continued involvement in projects that raise awareness about the problem of domestic violence in Muslim communities.
Increasing Awareness and Struggling Against Injustice
Former MWL Secretary Tiffany Horton remarked, “We’re taking on different projects, hoping to increase awareness about Islam, but in different types of perspectives; in our community as well as outside our community.” Acknowledging the realities faced by many American Muslim women, such as illiteracy, poverty, violence, and exclusion, MWL encourages interested parties to organize similar efforts in their own communities, and to participate in local Muslim and non-Muslim efforts that struggle against these injustices.