Women from an anti-radicalisation programme came together yesterday at Bradford City Hall to recognise their success stories in an award ceremony, also marking International Women’s Day.
The Empowering Mothers Against Radicalisation (EMAR) programme by Empowering Minds Consultancy, is a month-long course to help mothers notice signs and prevent radicalisation and grooming in their children.
The programme does this by helping develop critical thinking skills in mums to challenge misconceptions, fake news, and protect young people who may be vulnerable to dangerous ideologies.
In their fourth awards ceremony and the first one since the pandemic hit in 2020, women were given awards for their participation in the course.
The founder and director of Empowering Minds Consultancy, Sofia Mahmood MBE said: “It was our first event for the Mothers Against Radicalisation project since the pandemic, so it was nice to bring the women together to celebrate their success.
“We have worked with several schools in Manningham and across Bradford district to undertake a four-week programme of understanding radicalisation and ideology, talking about how we safeguard our children from vulnerability and extremist ideology.
“Those women took part in a four-week programme, and some of the other women at the event, are our EMAR ambassadors, who meet monthly to tackle issues in the community around segregation, racism, and equality.
“The EMAR ambassador scheme has built the confidence of some of these women and wider understanding of what ideology, radicalisation, and safeguarding is, as well as developing women who can then help safeguard young people in the education establishment and other sectors.”
Currently, fifteen EMAR ambassadors are working across the Bradford district. Some of the women have gone into paid employment, working within schools to tackle radicalisation and grooming.
She added: “It is really important that women have the understanding that their voices are valued, and they have a key role within the community, even in a time where people think women’s voices are quiet. Women work together regardless of religion or ethnicity; they work together to safeguard communities.
“During the pandemic, a lot of misinformation went out which gave people a chance to be exposed to certain things, because they didn’t have the opportunity to ask questions. We were lucky we had built a rapport with our women so that whenever they saw fake news come in that created racial tension, for example, they were able to reach out to each other.
“Yesterday was more so about as a woman, as a sister, as a daughter, and as a friend, we can continue to challenge what we face as women and become united in our common goal to become equal, and to make sure this extremist ideology doesn’t fester in our community.”