A PROJECT which aims to help women from across Bradford spot the signs of radicalisation, identify fake news and engage in “open conversations” about each other’s cultures was the subject of an awards ceremony yesterday.

Empowering Mothers Against Radicalisation, a project by Empowering Minds, celebrated its success stories at the event in City Hall.

The project, which aims to bridge the gap between different communities, has helped to “empower” its participants, and it will still “continue” in other forms, according to Empowering Minds founder Sofia Mahmood.

“This was our first face-to-face event since lockdown, so it was nice to get our women together and celebrate their achievements”, she said.

“We had key speakers looking at misogyny – following International Women’s Day – and at how woman can continue to break biases, challenge harmful ideologies and use their voices to safeguard communities.

“We want Empowering Mothers to help women identify fake news, and to stop kids getting radicalised.

“We asked one white British lady we worked with about radicalisation, and she automatically thought it was just about Muslims. But she later realised she was wrong, and that radicalisation can come from other groups too.

“She realised she had thoughts she needed to challenge, and asked ‘how do you change 25 years of thinking?’

“But she now has a wider understanding and knows that everyone has a responsibility to address radicalisation.

“Today we see a lot of quieter groups in the background, going online and creating division.

“So there’s always going to be a need for people to have open discussions about race relations, child sexual exploitation and inequalities, because these issues divide communities.”

Sofia added that women’s safety has become an even more important issue for the project recently.

“We’ve got a rise in women having voices, and a rise of masculinity being questioned”, she said.

“Men have felt unvalued to the extent they blame women. If incels are unable to connect with a woman, they say it’s feminism’s fault.

“It’s worrying when people have these ideologies – recent terrorist attacks have resulted from that. So it’s also important to give men a platform to understand their emotions.”

Sofia added that the event was all about “unity”.

“We can’t blame one community for these issues – we all have a voice and need to empower each other”, she said.

“The more women you empower, the more opportunities you create.

“I’m excited to see what will now come from this project.”