The Muslim Women’s Association (MWA)

The Muslim Women’s Association (MWA) was founded in 1962. It held its meetings at the Regent’s Park Mosque, and in 1981 established the Madina House project in its vicinity.

This digital archive has been deposited by Mrs. Unaiza Malik, who joined the MWA at its founding and served as President 1999-2001 (click here for her inaugural speech), and subsequently re-elected in 2004. She has provided this background to the institution:

Within Britain in April 1962 there was very little knowledge about Islam and hardly any support groups for Muslims. The Secretary of the Islamic Cultural Centre and Regents Park Mosque, Mr Riad El-Droubie, invited a group of women to form what he named the Muslim Women’s Association, as a society bringing together  educated women associated with the Regents Park Mosque,  representing Islamic thought and providing  support for the less privileged.

The first meeting took place at the Regents Park Mosque on 21 April 1962.  Elections were held at its second meeting on 5 May 1962. Its newsletter, The Muslim Woman, was launched in 1969 and published regularly until 2001.   A constitution was adopted on 8 October 1972. Amendments were made in 1996 and 1998.

The orphanage project – later named Madina House – was initiated by Begum Ayesha Jan in 1964, then President of the MWA. It was not until many years later that the dream was realised.  It was made possible partly by a lot of hard graft on the part of the women of the Association themselves who collected small amounts painstakingly through fund-raising bazaars and sales of home-made cakes etc. This however would never have been enough if it had not been for the larger donations – there were several personal donors,  including those from members of the MWA. The main institutional donors were the Embassies of Muslim countries whose ambassadors also formed the Board of the Regents Park Mosque. Donations were sought and received from as far apart as Khartoum, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Egypt for the good cause.

Premises located at 146 Gloucester Place London NW1 were purchased in 1981 and named ‘Madina House’. It is believed that it was purchased for under £100,000. The children’s home offered residential child care to children within the framework of a Muslim way of life. Mrs. Nisa Ali, wife of Mr. Ashraf Ali, a community worker at the Regents Park mosque, and also the first secretary of the association, was a paid member of staff. The House closed around 1999 and the premises sold in June 2005 for £950,000. It is believed that a portion of this sum was subsequently transferred to a charity in Wales. The current trustees of the Madina House Trust are: Karimunisa Mustafa, Saleem Kidwai OBE, Dr. Zenub Khan, Dr. Merajuddin Hasan (source: Charity Commission website accessed November 2019).

A. MWA – first Constitution
B. Madina House project 1964, The Guardian cuttings
C. Madina House brochure
D. Silver Jubilee, 1987

Click here for an archive of the MWA newsletter The Muslim Woman