Recipient of the 2010 Compass Award
Nurah Amatullah is Executive Director of the Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development (MWIRD), which is dedicated to building capacity of the new immigrant community in the Bronx and to developing leadership of Muslim women.
Based in the Southwest Bronx – home to an estimated 20,000 African immigrants – MWIRD runs a food distribution program and provides referrals to social services. MWIRD also works to facilitate networking, share resources, engage in and conduct research in all matters impacting the daily lives of Muslim women with specific focus on those western in culture or living in the Western World. Toward this end, MWIRD organizes events where Muslim girls and women can support and learn from one another.
In 1997, MWIRD launched the first food pantry to supply the needs of Halal, the Islamic diet. Thereafter, MWIRD set up a similar program at another Islamic center in the Southwest Bronx, which currently distributes food to 3,500 people monthly, primarily low-income African and Latino immigrants. MWIRD makes referrals to job training, housing, health services and provides assistance in processing immigration documents. MWIRD also advocates for the needs of Muslims, Africans and other new immigrants as a member of several citywide coalitions.
MWIRD encourages interfaith dialogue among women and has organized several symposiums that have examined the status of Muslim women in New York and played an important role in educating and building bridges with other religious communities.