Chicken and Daal with Watford Muslim Womens Group

Arriving at the Watford Multi Cultural Community Centre, I was amazed at the large number of Muslim ladies taking part in the exercise class. There were at least 20 ladies there. The playfulness and the camaraderie were immediately apparent. This was a place which felt friendly, safe and fun. It was apparent that it was a place where people came to meet and chat freely and easily with each other. Everyone who popped in was welcome to join the group.
After the session, they sat down to eat and generously invited me to join the group for food. We had chicken, daal and salad – it was delicious. I watched carefully how the others behaved and ate before I dared eat – not wanting to appear like the outsider.
After lunch, the ladies all helped to clear up and Sharifa, the chair, invited those that were interested in the project to join me at another table. I was so pleased to see that nearly all the ladies came to join me. We talked about their community, why they enjoy the Muslim Women’s Group, how funding has helped them, their sense of belonging, how they are perceived by others. Their willingness and openness to share and talk to me was amazing. These were educated, articulate ladies, who are not always perceived that way in the outside world. They talked about how if a muslim does something wrong, they tend to all be clumped together as ‘muslims’,  when really there are good and bad in all societies. They mentioned the various inter-faith activities they take part in, their fundraising activities and their wish to continue with the group and how it helps the whole community. It was a real privelege to have met these strong, passionate and articulate ladies who continue to do good in the community not only for themselves but for others too.

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