In 1993 a group of women, from all phases of life, different social backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, and Sufi and spiritual affiliations, got together and became the foundation of the Sufi Women Organization, headquartered in Northern California.
Their first creation was East Bay Sufi Women and their first appearance was in the Annual Sufism Symposium 1994. They established themselves as an organization of strong and knowledgeable women when SWO founder, Seyedeh Dr. Angha, sat in the inner circle of zikr side by side with her Islamic and Sufi brothers, leaders from around the world, from Kuwait to Ghana, from Turkey to Canada, from India to Algeria, and many lands in between, and led a zikr. SWO made its point, right there. Women are leaders, too.
Their second appearance was in March 1995 at the second annual Sufism Symposium, where many Sufi women stood side by side with their brothers and led the conference, and then spoke on a panel, with a packed conference hall, where many even stood outside the conference hall to hear what the women of SWO had to say.
In 1997 SWO then established the sufiwomen-dialogue, an email group, as a complementary service to (Sufi) women. We became a close family with sisters from around the world, people we had never met before, and together we created a trustworthy friendship.
We wanted to connect with all women, including those from other faiths, who were dedicated to women's rights. So we organized our first Interfaith women's conference in September 1999, a two day conference, dedicated to Interfaith, and dedicated to Islam/Sufism. What a weekend! Even our Indonesian Chapters came to stand for the rights of women.
Here are some of the topics we have discussed, actions we have taken, letters we have written, and connections we have made since our establishment in 1993:
Involved with movements such as:
- Global Women's Peace Petition
- Amnesty International
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights
- United Nations NGO/DPI
- Parliaments of the World's Religions
- United Religions Initiative
Organized events and programs such as:
- SWO Art Show
- SWO Quarterly Luncheons
- Chocolate Box contribution
- Save the Iraqi Children
- Sufi Women "Working Retreat"
- Hijab in Turkey and Afghanistan
Published books such as:
- Code of Ethics
- The Veil: Hijab
- Women's Wisdom: Women in Action
- SWO Cook Book
- Sufi Women: Journey Towards the Beloved
We are sure there are so many goals that we have accomplished, but nothing has been as magnificent as our coming together to become a family. Alhamdullelah.