In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur'an:
I"f you disclose your Sadaqaat (almsgiving), it is well; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, that is better for you” [Surah 2 Ayah271]
Additionally, there is the Sahih Muslim hadith which says that among the seven whom Allah (swt) would give protection with His shade on the Day of Judgment is the person who gives charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the right hand does not know what the left has given.
Since 2011 the BAML has been coordinating the collection of donations and packaging and distribution of Ramadan Hampers to families and individuals within the Muslim community in Barbados. It is always difficult to reconcile the statements above with the need to publicise requests for contributions. But Alhamdulillah, this year, our Muslim brothers and sisters once more stepped up to the plate to give Sadaqaat by donating towards the hamper items.
We will not speak of the extent of those items save to say that they comprise primarily of non-perishable food items. What we will share however, is some of the co-ordinating elements which arise for consideration when engaging in this type of venture.
Technology is a wonderful resource in this type of venture - spreadsheets that automatically update totals and balances, apps that convert columns of a spreadsheet into a non-editable graphic, apps and emails that facilitate dissemination of information, telephones and websites that seek information on pricing, apps that convert into balance sheets.
And that most useful resource of all - the Muslim brothers and sisters who from within Barbados and outside of Barbados contributed their time, financing, physical assistance, and prayers, who assisted with the distribution of information, who consented to hosting collection barrels, who called wholesalers and retailers, who bought, delivered, collected, counted, picked up, prepared, packaged, sealed, beribboned, lifted and clustered, and delivered.
The members of the BAML are grateful to Allah (swt) for His favours and for His blessings and express their appreciation and gratitude to all those persons who contributed in one way or another towards the Ramadan Hampers. Jazakallah khayr - May Allah (swt) reward you with good.
Author: Sherica Mohammed Cumberbatch
In Barbados, the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Act 2017 came into effect on December 15, 2017. Its purpose is to make provision for the protection of employees from sexual harassment in the workplace.
What is sexual harassment?
'Sexual harassment' is defined in the legislation as:
a) the use of sexually suggestive words, comments, jokes, gestures or actions that annoy, alarm or abuse a person;
b) the initiation of uninvited physical contact with a person;
c) the initiation of unwelcome sexual advances or the requests of sexual favours from a person;
d) asking a person intrusive questions that are of a sexual nature that pertain to that person’s private life;
e) transmitting sexually offensive writing or material of any kind;
f) making sexually offensive telephone calls to a person; or
g) any other sexually suggestive conduct of an offensive nature in circumstances where a reasonable person would consider the conduct to be offensive.
What is the workplace?
'workplace' is defined as:
a) any location or place where persons work and includes any other location or place where an employee is required to conduct the business of the employer; or
b) any location or place to which that person is sent by the employer for the purpose of receiving training or attending a conference on the employer’s behalf.
Who is an employer?
'employer' is defined in relation to an employee as the person by whom the employee is employed, and in a case where the employment has ended, the person by whom the employee was employed.
Who is an employee?
'employee' is defined as an individual in the service of another person under a contract of service and includes:
a) an apprentice;
b) a person on probation;
c) a full or part-time employee; and
d) a person who is remunerated by way of a commission.
What must the employer do?
Establish, present and explain a Written Policy Statement.
By May 2018, employers must ensure:
a) that there is a clear written policy statement against sexual harassment within the workplace for which that employer has responsibility;
b) that a statement of that policy is presented to each employee already in employment with the employer; and
c) that procedures are put in place to assist every employee in understanding the policy statement.
(New employees are to be given the written policy statement upon commencement of employment.)
Investigate a complaint
Decide, discipline, remedy, notify
Where an employee alleges that he/she has been sexually harassed by an employee or client, employers must follow the procedure set out in the Act within the time frames set out in the Act:
a) where the complaint is made against the employee, inform him in writing of the complaint and its details within two workdays;
b) in the case where the complaint is made against the client, take such action as he considers appropriate in the circumstances to bring the matter to the attention of the client; and
c) commence investigation of the complaint within 14 days of the complaint being lodged and shall complete the investigation without delay.
After the investigation is conducted by the employer:
a) if the employer finds that sexual harassment has been committed by the employee, the employer shall take such disciplinary action as is appropriate;
b) if the employer finds that sexual harassment has been committed by the client, the employer take such action as he considers appropriate in the circumstances to remedy the situation.
c) if the employer finds that sexual harassment has not been committed, the employer shall notify the complainant and the respondent in writing of his decision and the reason for his finding.
What is in the Written Policy Statement?
The policy statement against sexual harassment referred to in section must contain the following provisions:
a) a definition of sexual harassment that is substantially the same as the definition in section 3 of the Act;
b) a statement to the effect that every employee is entitled to employment free of sexual harassment;
c) a statement to the effect that the employer will make every reasonable effort to ensure that no employee is subjected to sexual harassment;
d) a statement to the effect that the employer will take such disciplinary measures as the employer deems appropriate against any person under the employer’s direction who subjects any employee to sexual harassment;
e) a statement explaining how complaints of sexual harassment may be brought to the attention of the employer;
f) a statement to the effect that no person shall disclose the name of a complainant or the name of the respondent or the circumstances related to the complaint to any person except where disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating the complaint or taking disciplinary measures in relation thereto;
g) and a statement informing employees of the provisions in the Act which gives them a right to make a complaint where sexual harassment is committed against them and the relevant authority to whom the complaint must be made.
An employer is prohibited from suggesting to an employee that the prospects of wording conditions of that employee are contingent upon the employee's acceptance or toleration of sexual advances.
There are rights of complaint to the Chief Labour Officer and the Employment Rights Tribunal, and the a Judge in Chambers.
The Act prohibits victimization of employees who:
a) reject an act of sexual harassment
b) lodge a complaint under the Act
c) testify or participate in any investigation or proceedings or hearing
d) makes or proposes to make a complaint
e) furnished or proposed to furnish information or documents.
No one may publish a report of, or any information relating to, any proceedings under this Act.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not to be construed as the giving of legal advice.
Author: Sherica Mohamed-Cumberbatch
Allah (glory be to Him) states in Ayah 11, Surah 13 of Al Qur'an:
"……..And indeed Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves."
Activism can be defined in many ways, but in essence, it is the taking of action to effect social change. It is not limited to activists as has been defined in the classical sense but extends to all persons who take action in whatever way he or she can. Islam recognises and encourages righteous action in all of its adherents, regardless of gender, and in all spheres of life, including, but not limited to - devotional, moral, spiritual, social, economic.
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (RadhiyaAllahu ‘anhu) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) say:
“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. It was initiated some 1400 years or so after the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) brought gender equality and women's rights protection in the mid-sixth century.
This year, International Women’s Day 2018 echoes the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and aims to draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women
"who till the lands and plant seeds to feed nations, ensure food security for their communities and build climate resilience."
In Barbados, women have been involved in food security from kitchen gardens to fields and hills of cane, root vegetables and ground provision, to roadside stall, market stalls and supermarket shelves, for centuries. All while child bearing, child rearing, schooling, and supporting themselves and their extended families, and reinvesting in social and economic changes, in what was for the earlier part of the 20th century, almost a matrifocal society. In addition, their investments were not limited to plants, but included livestock. These women were activists - agents who actively engaged in efforts to reshape their identities and their communities.
Allah (glory be to Him) states in Ayah 54, Surah 20 of Al Qur'an:
'Eat (therefrom) and raise your livestock for these are proofs for those who possess intelligence.’
and in Ayah 71-73 of Surah 35 of Al Qur'an:
‘Have they not seen that we created for them, with our own hands, livestock that they own? And we subdued them for them; some they ride, and some they eat. They derive other benefits for them, as well as drinks. Would they not be appreciative?’
Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.”
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“If the end of the world approaches and one of you has a seedling (or plant) in his hand, if he can plant it before the end comes let him do it.”
Plant a seedling? Really? Yes. Even when death approaches, we are encouraged to do something. Therefore, this International Women's Day we encourage all women, not only to recognize and celebrate the contributions of those women before and amongst us, but also to recognize our own potential and ability to make even the smallest action of activism impactful.
Article by Sherica Mohammad Cumberbatch
World Hijab Day (WHD) is celebrated annually on February 1st.
On this date, the World Hijab Day Organization asks global citizens of all faiths to experience wearing the Hijab (head-covering) for a day in solidarity with Muslim women worldwide.
"The overall mission of WHD is to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other. The day focuses on fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women. This is most crucial in these times where Hijab is being banned in some countries while in other countries, Muslim women are being targeted and harassed verbally and physically."
Every year BAML coordinates outreach efforts to inform, educate and engage the public on Hijab. We are excited to share our activities leading up to this date, below.
Activities for WHD 2018:
World Hijab Day Information Table
DATE: Saturday, 27TH January 2018
LOCATION: Queen's Park, Bridgetown, Barbados
TIME: 3:30 PM- 5:00 PM
Find out more information about WHD, why Muslim women cover and get a FREE Hijab!
Wear a Hijab for a day!
DATE: Thursday, 1st February, 2018
Show solidarity by adorning the Hijab for a day. Get your free Hijab at our Information Table OR by contacting us!
Social Media buzz
Leading up to WHD on February 1st, BAML's social media accounts will be filled with interesting content on the Hijab and this year's theme #StrongInHijab. Follow us, like and share our posts to keep the message going!
Exactly one week ago on Sunday 3rd December, 2017 the Barbados Association of Muslim Ladies (BAML) welcomed guests to our much anticipated Website Launch event. Set against the beautiful landscape of Christ Church’s coastline at the Regional Police Training Centre, BAML presented its website for the first time.
The agenda for the evening included an opening and closing prayer, a welcome by our Mistresses of Ceremony Miss Zaeema Motara and Miss Saamiya Cumberbatch who did an excellent job at energising the guests, a Nasheed sang beautifully by the talented Miss Ayesha Clarke and the main treat, the countdown and balloon drop to signify the launch of the website, led by Mrs. Sumaiya Chauhan.
In her opening remarks Vice-President Mrs. Sakina Bakharia described in great detail the projects, programs and opportunities BAML offered to Muslim females and families in Barbados - ranging from grants for post-secondary study, participation in regional conferences, career guidance to Ramadan hampers and social activities.
President, Miss Firhaana Bulbulia further expressed that the website made information about these opportunities more accessible to more females. In continuing she stated:
“Muslim females have a wealth of talents and skills that are often not realised, we hope that through the Website’s features such as our Blog and Muslimah of the Month Series we can highlight the talents, skills and exceptional contributions Muslim females are making to Barbadian society and highlight the true beauty of Islam.”
Ms. Sumaiyah Patel - who holds the position of Assistant Secretary-Treasurer and was one of the lead designers of the website - explained that the website can be used to acquire information about (and apply to) the BAML Educate Girls Fund, request Career Mentorship and also to sign up for Membership. She strongly encouraged persons who are interested in volunteering or pursuing a more active role in the organisation to complete our online Membership Form.
In closing the formal programme, Secretary Ms. Ferozah Kothdiwala offered a poem of gratitude to those who made not only the launch event a success, but those who continue to support the work of the BAML through their prayers, generous donations, time, resources and guidance.
To conclude the event, guests were treated to a scrumptious array of refreshments and our Launch cake specially prepared for the occasion by Halalicious Sweets & Treats, while enjoying snapping pictures at our colourful photo booth!
BAML would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our guests for sharing this occasion with us and invite all persons to utilise the features of the website!
Have more to share about our Launch event? Comment below or tag us in your posts on Instagram @BAML_bb using the #BAMLWebsiteLaunch