Four Decades of Determination A Story of Muslim Women's Agency and Perseverance

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Nuzhat Jafri


The Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) is one of the oldest national Muslim organizations in Canada.  It was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1982 by the late Dr. Lila Fahlman and a group of determined Muslim women who sought to channel their passion for faith-centred social justice work and create a more inclusive Canada for all.  CCMW promotes Muslim women’s identity in the Canadian context and encourages mutual understanding between Canadian Muslim women and women of other faiths.  CCMW is a national not-for-profit organization with 17 chapters across Canada comprised of Canadian Muslim women and girls of diverse race, age, ethnicity, sexuality and ability.   This paper chronicles the experiences of CCMW to continue its work and thrive on the strengths of its volunteers and commitment to improve the lives of Canadian Muslim women and girls.  The need for an organization like CCMW continues to grow as Islamophobia and gender-based violence become more pronounced. Raising funds for causes that focus on issues facing Muslim women has been challenging, yet CCMW has survived while many other Muslim organizations have come and gone. The paper will share CCMW’s experiences in seeking and acquiring grants to carry out projects without charitable status and plans for long-term sustainability. Through the case study of CCMW’s Lila Fahlman Scholarships as a philanthropic endeavour, the paper will illustrate successes and struggles to raise funds specifically for Muslim women and girls.  The paper will share CCMW’s journey in applying for charitable status and insights on the application process.

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How to Cite
Jafri, N. (2022). Four Decades of Determination : A Story of Muslim Women’s Agency and Perseverance. Journal of Muslim Philanthropy &Amp; Civil Society, 6(2). Retrieved from