Cassandra Balchin’s untimely demise is a huge loss to the causes of women’s and human rights, particularly in areas of equality within Muslim law and against religious fundamentalism more broadly. After completing her graduation from the London School of Economics, Cass (as she was known to friends and collaborators), moved to Lahore, Pakistan in 1983 to work as a journalist. In 1991 she went on to work as a staff member at Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre in Lahore, focusing on their publishing programme. In 2000, Cass returned to the UK to set up the international coordinating office in London of Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML). She also finished a Master’s degree under the guidance of the feminist sociologist and activist Nira Yuval-Davis.
In recent years, she served as Chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, a UK-based organization that connects a diverse set of Muslim women and seeks to represent their voices in public policy. She was also a founder-member of Musawah, a global movement launched in 2009, to work towards justice and equality within Muslim families worldwide. Continue reading