Muslim dads are critical to healthy families and a balanced community, a leading Islamic scholar tel

21 November 2006

Not for publication before 00.01 Thursday 23 November 2006
Contact: Jack O’Sullivan, Fathers Direct 01608 737125/ 07779 655585

Shaykh Dr Umar Abd-Allah, a leading authority on Western Islam is speaking at the ‘Searching For Dad, Exploring Muslim Fatherhood’ conference, organised by the An-Nisa Society, Fathers Direct and Q News magazine in London.

The conference will hear from Muslim fathers and will see the launch of two important publications: a guide for people working with Muslim dads and a special booklet ‘Connecting With God and Your Child’ which combines an annual prayer timetable with practical advice on being a Muslim dad.

Shaykh Dr Umar Abd-Allah said:

“It is time to understand better the issues that Muslim fathers in Britain face today. Migration, generational differences, the changing roles of men and women, new economic and social realities, all create great challenges and opportunities for carving out a relevant and authentic understanding of Muslim fatherhood.

“We have a generation of Muslim fathers who are keen to do the best for their children. We must help facilitate an open conversation on these issues and support them to find their way in what can be confusing times.

Humera Khan, author of the two guides and co-founder of the An-Nisa Society, a Muslim women’s group, said:

“These guides are intended to bring out the real issues that Muslim dads face, inform the services supporting their fatherhood and acknowledge the importance that both Islam and fatherhood play in their lives.”

Duncan Fisher, chief executive of Fathers Direct, the national information centre on fatherhood, which is co-hosting the conference, said:

“To support the passion that dads feel about being fathers, it is vital to understand their faith as well. That is why we are delighted to publish these two guides and co-host this conference so we can throw light on an often hidden aspect of modern fatherhood.”

Notes to Editors:

· The ‘Searching for Dad’ conference is held on Thursday 23 November 2006 at Paddington Hilton Hotel, Paddington, London 9.30am to 5.00pm. To receive a press invitation to the event, contact Jack O’Sullivan 07779 655585 or

· “Working with Muslim Fathers, A Guide for Practitioners”, can be obtained from Fathers Direct, Tel 0845 634 1328, price £4.95 + p&p

· “Connecting With God and Your Child, A Fathers’ Guide to Prayer and Praise” can be obtained from Fathers Direct, Tel 0845 634 1328

· Shaykh Dr Umar Abd-Allah is Chair and Scholar-in-Residence at the Nawawi Foundation, an innovative non-profit educational foundation based in Chicago. He is teaches and lectures across the United States and Canada, while conducting research and writing on Islamic studies and related fields.

· An-Nisa Society is an organization managed by women working for the welfare of Muslim families. Since 1985 the group has been at the forefront of dynamic and groundbreaking projects and initiatives from a faith-based perspective. These include the development of Islamic counselling, supplementary Muslim education, Islamophobia and religious discrimination, sexual health, gender, marital issues, parenting, and fatherhood. The Society’s other main streams of work are around raising awareness of the Muslim community and Muslim issues, supporting other Muslim groups and influencing policy development. Our work helps to inform decision makers and service providers in better understanding the Muslim community so that they can develop approaches that are faith sensitive.

· Fathers Direct is the national information centre on fatherhood. We help Government, employers, services for families and children, and families themselves to adapt to changing social roles of men and women. We help institutions to base their work on the evidence from research on the impact of fathers on child welfare. Our vision is a society that:gives all children a strong and positive relationship with their fathers, supports co-operative parenting, provides greater support for mothers as carers and earners, supports the role of men in caring for children.

· Q-News is Britain’s leading Muslim magazine, providing outside-the-box analysis of current affairs, culture, ideas and spirituality. With a potent and engaging mix of humour, faith and unconventional wisdom, Q-News has repeatedly set the agenda, rather than react to it. Our unique combination of provocative writing, stylish design and editorial independence has made Q-News the standard in Muslim journalism.