Soon after listening to Diane Abbott MP speak about her upbringing, politics and gender this morning at the 1st Annual POLSIS Student Conference at the University of Birmingham, I checked on Facebook to see that Karima Hamdan had published a post on UmmahPulse decrying the attempts of those women who were seeking to promote the rights of Muslim women.

Comparing their plight to Sisyphus (does anyone else find it pompous when others refer to Greek mythology…?), a king from Greek mythology who was punished to push an immense boulder up a hill only to see it roll back down again, Hamdan could have been supportive in suggesting that this was scale of the task facing those Muslim women who were openly challenging the actions and practices they believed to be wrong.

Sadly – and without ever really explaining the relevance of the analogy – Hamdan preferred, as Word Play described it in their blog, to wage a war of words against Inspire, the individuals behind Inspire, and the conference, Speaking in God’s Name.

Whilst lazy and to a large degree unfair – does it matter that one the women work or who another is married to? – it does provide Inspire with a further example of what they will need to overcome on the journey ahead.

Realising this, I was drawn to something that Diane Abbott had said in her speech about what an individual had to do when they truly believed that something had to change. As she put it:

“Even when it’s not popular, you’ve got to keep on saying it”

So relevant was this comment that I posted it on Facebook in the hope that it would strengthen the resolve and determination of those seeking change: whether that be Inspire or anybody else.

So as Diane Abbott inferred, you need to keep pushing that boulder up the hill because one day it might just stay there.

And that, is exactly what those such as Hamden have to fear…


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