Welcome to Inspire, an independent non-governmental counter-extremism and women’s rights organisation. Almost ten years old, Inspire has been at the forefront of empowering women, championing gender equality and countering extremist narratives. In 2008, frustrated with the lack of concern and will from many so-called representative Muslim organisations (who were typically male-led) in addressing both extremism and women’s rights, Inspire was founded. Since that time, some of our work has included:
- Delivering highly successful gender equality and counter-extremism sessions to thousands of Muslim women in over 25 cities including to many marginalised and hard to reach women who are unable to speak English.
- Delivering campaigns such as our 2011 Jihad Against Violence campaign http://www.commongroundnews.org/article.php?id=30055& and our 2014-15 anti-ISIS campaign Making A Stand http://www.wewillinspire.com/making-a-stand/mas-wall/
- Organising events which challenged the narrative of Islamist extremists in our country who sought to sow division in our country http://www.wewillinspire.com/british-muslim-women-pay-respects-to-soldiers-who-have-laid-down-their-lives-for-their-country/
- Providing training to over 5000 teachers across the country and delivered positive sessions on human rights directly to thousands of pupils. Inspire has also delivered training and presentations to think-tanks, government departments, law firms, and public bodies.
- Organising ground-breaking conferences on gender equality in Islam with leading theologians such as Professor Khaled Abou el Fadl and activists such as Mukhtar Mai http://www.wewillinspire.com/speaking-in-gods-name-re-examining-gender-in-islam/
- Were one of the very few Muslim organisations in challenging discriminatory guidelines aimed at Muslim women, as advocated by Universities UK in 2013 (for gender segregation) http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/segregating-men-and-women-at-university-events-wont-lead-to-equality-8962984.html and by the Law Society in 2014 (for sharia inheritance wills). http://www.wewillinspire.com/inspire-statement-on-the-withdrawal-of-the-law-societys-practice-note-on-sharia-wills/
- Produced online counter-narrative videos for young people some of which have been watched hundreds of thousands of time
- Have had an active media policy and have spoken on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, The Andrew Marr Show, BBC Newsnight, BBC Question Time, BBC HardTalk, BBC Sunday Daily Politics, CNN Amanpour, ITV’s Loose Women, This Morning, Good Morning Britain etc. We have also written many comment pieces and op-eds for British and non-British newspapers
- Contributed to reports providing analysis on Islamist, Salafi and Barelvi inspired extremist groups and individuals operating in the UK
- Spoken at countless national and international conferences
This is just a flavour of some our work. Remarkably we have never had more than 2 full time and 1 part time employee in carrying out such cutting edge initiatives and projects. Our funding has included donations from the public and private philanthropists, support from foundations and charities including Sigrid Rausing Trust and Barrow Cadbury, and in the case of our anti-ISIS project, the Home Office. (For clarity sake we have never received core funding from the Home Office, nor received any funding from them for over 2 years since the end of our Making A Stand campaign.)
Yet now more than ever, the work of Inspire is critical. As we witness the rise of all forms of extremism and the threat this poses to women’s rights in particular, the increasing polarisation and division in our society, Inspire’s aims which include defending our shared values and challenging hate is vital.
Which is why we would like to inform you that Inspire is currently undergoing a stage of transformation and transition. Over the next few months we are pleased to say that we are in the process of restructuring the organisation. Our aim is to become bigger and better. This is an exciting time for us, but we ask you to please be patient with us during this time. We are going to be very busy behind the scenes building Inspire. While we will still be operating and working on a number of important projects, we are temporarily unable to resume many of our current services but please still contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a particular request and we will try our utmost to meet your needs. If you want to reach out to Sara Khan directly, you can contact her at email@example.com.
Over the years, the positive response we have received from ordinary members of the public (both Muslims and non-Muslims) has been incredible. We have received hundreds and hundreds of emails, phone calls and other messages. Many Muslims tell us that our work is essential in challenging the regressive, fundamentalist and anti-human rights Muslim lobbies who claim to speak on behalf of all Muslims. Both Muslims and non-Muslims tell us that we are a voice of reason and that we demonstrably provide a vision of how it is possible for Muslims and non-Muslims to live together, on the basis of shared values, in this country we all call home. The words of support (and donations) from the British public who urge us to continue and to never stop doing what we do, is a heavy responsibility we take seriously and profoundly. Which is why we are looking to expand Inspire over the next few months.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters over the years and all those who continue to donate to us. We would not be here today without your solidarity.
We look forward to updating you on our work and organisation over the next few months.
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