Fellow Since 2006
This profile was prepared when Mohammadi Siddiqui was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Mohammadi is bridging the perception gaps within Nepal’s small Muslim community and between that community and the rest of society by educating and preparing role model Maulanas and women leaders. Instead of fighting the system from the outside, she is transforming it from within. Mohammadi is organizing Muslim women’s groups to educate and make other women aware of their rights in order to advocate for the practice of “actual” Islamic law, ensuring social justice for women. She intends to change the generally held opinion in Islam that women are inferior to men. To ensure the whole community and Muslim women in particular, are able to understand for themselves what is written in the Koran, she makes it available in their language. Such access will create an awareness about women being educated and that violence against women is forbidden. Mohammadi believes that the appropriate way to decrease violence against all Nepalese women is by harnessing the religious teachings of the Koran. With her organization, Fatima Foundation, she choose to first address issues in her Muslim community, but her board, women’s groups, services and advocacy programs are not confined to Muslims. Fatima Foundation welcomes all religions, castes, and ethnic groups. Mohammadi’s work has started a powerful ripple effect with the potential to spread from her home region to West Nepal and the rest of the country; including the larger, more conservative Muslim communities in India.