New Year Honours 2019: Muslim Women's Network director appointed MBE

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Image caption, Faeeza Vaid said understanding culture and faith helped the charity support Muslim women

The director of a charity dedicated to raising the voices of Muslim women and "fighting for equality and justice" has been appointed an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours.

Faeeza Vaid, from Birmingham, helped set up the Muslim Women's Network UK (MWN) helpline four years ago.

It has helped more than 1,700 women escape from problems including forced marriage and honour-based violence.

Ms Vaid said more bespoke services for marginalised communities were needed.

"I call myself a Muslim feminist," Ms Vaid said. "My faith tells me I need to stand for equality and justice.

"I see it as my life's work to speak for those who may not have a voice."

Ms Vaid, 34, joined MWN in 2008 and became the charity's executive director in 2011.

'Shame and honour'

The charity's helpline supported almost 800 women in 2017, the majority of whom called about domestic abuse.

"The top issues Muslim women face are the same for other women," she said. "Muslim women may face additional barriers and are less likely to report things - shame and honour is a big factor."

Her work also involves raising awareness of women's issues with men and the older generation in Muslim communities.

"We need to make sure our boys and men are on the same page," she said. "For us to just speak to women wouldn't go far enough in challenging attitudes towards gender."

Other honours recipients from Birmingham and the Black Country include:

  • Malcolm Dick, the director of the centre for West Midlands History at the University of Birmingham, who is appointed OBE for his services to history
  • Carol Lyndon, a volunteer counsellor at Birmingham's Childline, who is appointed MBE for her services to vulnerable children
  • Joshua Johnson, the founder of a nationally recognised karate club in Wolverhampton, who is appointed MBE for his services to karate
  • Mandeep Kaur, Sikh Chaplain to the armed forces, who has been appointed MBE for her services to armed forces personnel.

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by domestic abuse or violence, you can find help here.

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