The Coalition of Muslim Women (CMW) of KW works to enhance communication and foster understanding between racialized Muslim women and the larger community. Part of our mandate is to create and provide opportunities to racialized Muslim women for personal and professional growth, and leadership development. We also endeavour to engage and support racialized Muslim women as active participants and leaders in the Muslim and larger community.
The Hate or Discrimination Documentation and Reporting Service is offered under CMW’s core program, Together Against Islamophobia (TAI), which uses bridge-building activities and trainings to counter Islamophobia, racism, xenophobia, and gendered Islamophobia at societal, structural, institutional, and interpersonal levels.
Executive Director, CMW
Fauzia Mazhar has more than 18 years of experience in the local social profit sector, much of it in leadership and management. She holds a Master of Social Work degree with a specialization in community, policy, planning, and organizations (CPPO), and a post graduate Leadership and Management Certificate from Wilfrid Laurier University. Fauzia has also completed Community Leadership Training by Leadership Waterloo Region. Her work experience includes managing a neighbourhood-based community centre and a large-size service hub, as well as leading community collaborations and social change initiatives.
Fauzia has worked at House of Friendship, The Working Centre, Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre, and Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region. She has served as the President of Pakistan Canada Association, Council Member and Chair of the Belong Group for Immigration Partnership Waterloo Region, and as a member of the Board of Directors of Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery.
In 2010, Fauzia joined hands with a handful of women in K-W to start the modest initiative to empower Muslim women to be leaders and change makers, able to address stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslim women through community outreach and bridge-building. The initiative grew to an organization, which is now known as Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo. Fauzia has provided consistent leadership to CMW since its inception, overseeing strategic planning, program/service planning, coordination, financial planning, funds development, volunteer recruitment, engagement, outreach, and alliance building.
Fauzia has a big-picture outlook and a growth-focused mindset. She is a community builder and an engaged citizen, passionately bringing people and groups together to build a welcoming, inclusive, and safe community. Fauzia is also an optimist who likes a good laugh.
Director of Programming and Services, CMW
Sarah started out with the CMW as a volunteer and member. Over time, she became the supervisor of Together Against Islamophobia and Youth Leaders 4 Change programs. Sarah is deeply engaged in the community as a member of the Interfaith Grand River and as a member of Waterloo Region’s Crime Prevention Council. Having received her Doctorate in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame, USA, she is currently teaching at Martin Luther University College, Wilfrid Laurier University, as adjunct faculty. Sarah grew up in Pakistan and considers herself to be a bridge between her childhood home and Canada.
Coordinator, Together Against Islamophobia Program
Mifrah Abid has a post-graduate degree in English with a gold medal from the University of Pune, India. She was a college lecturer for several years before immigrating to Canada in late 2017. She earned a diploma from the London Language Institute to become a certified ESL trainer. Mifrah worked closely with several refugee and immigrant ESL learners, many of whom were Muslim women. She has a significant corpus of volunteer work in various community initiatives like Halton Environment Network, Recycling Revisited, Islamic Relief, and the Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo.
Mifrah hosts and produces the podcast, ‘Across Her Table’ which celebrates Canadian Muslim women with immigrant roots. She has volunteered at the Tazkiyah Academy, Milton, teaching Muslim children. Mifrah has also served on the city of Kitchener’s Heritage Committee. She believes that societies are stronger when their diverse communities understand each other better.
Coordinator, Anti-Hate Services
Maryam did her Master’s in International Women Studies and then worked as assistant lecturer at University of Karachi in Pakistan. She then worked as a community research coordinator at Shirkat Gah, a Karachi-based women's resource centre, where she focused on women empowerment, domestic violence, and family law.
Maryam has also worked as a manager in the food and beverage industry for over five years.
She now lives in Kitchener with her family and enjoys interior designing, photography, and spending time with family and friends.
As a core CMW program, TAI is designed to counter Islamophobia, racism, xenophobia, and gendered Islamophobia at societal, structural, institutional, and interpersonal levels. The program addresses complex race-related issues, such as gendered Islamophobia through a multipronged strategy, relying on community outreach, public education, bridge building, and advocacy.
TAI’s Major Goals
Empower Muslim Community (with a focus on women and youth) through education and connections
Engage the larger community in the discussions about Islamophobia and how to be an ally
Encourage connections between Muslim community and the larger community through acts of kindness
Advocate work for systems level change
TAI activities promote peace and raise knowledge about Muslim diversity using a bridge building, education/awareness, advocacy, training, and service (B.E.A.T.S.) model.
Our flagship programs, such as Tea and Tales with Muslim Women and Brace Circles, provide culturally safe platforms for Muslim women to share their narratives and interact with people. The aim is to generate conversations and break down perpetual misperceptions and stereotypes about Muslim women and their roles in society. Tea and Tales offers this interaction in a social setting, in which diverse Muslim women serve as hosts, inviting visitors to learn more about their cultures. Brave Circles relies on panelists sharing their experiences in a safe space in which audience members can also ask tough questions about Muslims and their faith.
Our Anti-Islamophobia training, developed in-house, is regularly provided to organizations in Waterloo region. The training helps organizations, municipalities, and corporations come up with individual and systemic frameworks addressing hate and discrimination that racialized Muslim women experience due to their intersectionality.
One of the main services offered under the TAI banner is the Anti-Hate Services, launched in April 2021. At that time, the reporting line was one of its kind in the province. Its success has laid the grounds and provided framework to other organizations in Ontario to follow suit.
Our Anti-Hate Services address the gap in the need for a support system for those experiencing hate-related, racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic (anti-immigrant) incidents that largely go undocumented. The service offers victims and witnesses an opportunity to record cases anonymously. If residents are uncomfortable having the conversation themselves, someone else can record the case on their behalf. If there is a language barrier, CMW has multilingual staff that can clearly communicate in various languages, not only with those affected by hate incidents but also with service providers.