Our meeting in early October was something rather different.
Whilst on a visit last year to the Ipswich Mosque, we met Shoomi Chowdhury, a Human Rights law graduate and Muslim who works as an Education Officer for Amnesty International. She said at the time she would like to meet up with us again, and she agreed to come to one of our meetings to answer questions about Islam and the position of Muslim women in today’s world.
Shoomi began by dispelling any common misunderstandings we may have had concerning the Muslim faith. These included the meaning of the word “Islam”, the number of gods that Muslims believe in, the non-oppression or otherwise of women, forced marriages and the wearing of the hijab. Then she led an open forum with questions on any subject from the floor.
What followed was a frank series of questions, many of them posed by those amongst us who merely raised what the rest of us were probably nervous about voicing. Shoomi fielded them all without dodging any, and helped to shed light on many things hitherto unknown or confusing to us. It was a lively and good-humoured evening, and we intend to keep up the contact with Shoomi and the Ipswich Mosque.