Glasgow Girls (activists)

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Glasgow Girls
TypeHuman rights group
FocusHuman rights
Women's liberation
Key people
  • Amal Azzudin
  • Roza Salih
  • Agnesa Murselaj
  • Ewelina Siwak
  • Toni-Lee Henderson
  • Jennifer McCarron
  • Emma Clifford
  • Euan Girvan

The Glasgow Girls are a group of seven young women in Glasgow, Scotland, who highlighted the poor treatment of asylum seekers whose rights of appeal had been exhausted. In 2005, the group campaigned against dawn raids, raised public awareness and found support in the Scottish Parliament. Their story has been told in a musical and a film.


The group all attended Drumchapel High School in Glasgow and formed in 2005 with the support of their teacher Euan Girvan, in response to the detention of one of their friends, Agnesa Murselaj.[1][2] The name came from two of its members, Amal Azzudin and Roza Salih.[3] Pupils at the school signed a petition, then 26 MSPs signed a parliamentary motion praising the pupils' actions. [4] By September 2005, their efforts had gained national attention.[5] The girls challenged the then First Minister Jack McConnell on the matter and publicly voiced their concerns as more children at their school were being dawn raided, detained and deported.[6]

After visiting the Scottish Parliament twice, The Glasgow Girls obtained cross-party support on the issue.

The group won the Scottish Campaign of the Year Award in 2005 at the annual Scottish politician of the year ceremony for their hard work. However, it did not stop them from demanding to know just what had happened to the "protocol" that Jack McConnell had promised to obtain from the Home Office that social services, education services, and the Immigration police would be consulted before any decision was made on the removal of a family.

Two documentaries have been made by the BBC about their campaign- Tales from the Edge won the Nations and Regions Award in the Amnesty International UK Media Awards.[7]

It took until September 2008 for the Murselaj family to be granted permanent leave to remain.[8] Salih gained a place at Strathclyde University and studied law and politics.[9] In 2014, the university announced scholarship funding for three asylum seekers to enable them to study there.[10] In January 2017 Salih announced that she would stand as an SNP candidate in the local elections later that year.[9]

Depiction in popular culture[edit]

In 2012, the National Theatre of Scotland presented a modern musical at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow depicting the life of the Glasgow Girls.[11][12] The musical then had a run at Stratford East Theatre in London[13] and returned to the Citizens in 2014 as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.

BBC Scotland created a new musical television drama which aired on BBC Three on 15 July 2014.[14] It won an award for drama at the Royal Television Society Scotland Awards 2014[15] and best TV drama at the BAFTA Scotland awards in November 2015.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MAN BEHIND THE GLASGOW GIRLS". Evening Times. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  2. ^ Stewart, Catriona (17 June 2012). "Now it's Glasgow Girls: The Musical". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  3. ^ Allan, Vicky (11 December 2005). "15 -year-old Amal Azzudin formed the Glasgow Girls, a group which campaigns on behalf of asylum seekers. Last month she criticised Jack McConnell for making empty promises over the treatment of children during dawn raids". The Sunday Herald. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Kosovan family back home after temporary release". The Herald. 26 March 2005. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Reprieve for Belarus family at the Glasgow Girls strike again". The Herald. 7 December 2005. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  6. ^ Henderson, Damien (24 September 2005). "Glasgow girls who shamed our first minister into asylum U-turn Executive forced to take action over policy on immigration". The Herald. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  7. ^ "'McConnell–bashing' cut from dawn raids film". The Herald. 23 June 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Glasgow Girl says it's so good to be staying". Evening Times. 24 September 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  9. ^ a b Paterson, Kirsteen (24 January 2017). "Glasgow's girl: Asylum seeker's bid to thank city". The National. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Glasgow Girl helps secure asylum seeker student funding". BBC News. 9 October 2014.
  11. ^ McLean, Pauline (31 October 2012). "Glasgow girls' protest inspires musical". BBC News.
  12. ^ Fisher, Mark (7 November 2012). "Musicals: Glasgow Girls – review. Citizens, Glasgow". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  13. ^ "True Glasgow Girls story inspires London musical". BBC News. 12 February 2013.
  14. ^ "Glasgow Girls, review: 'more like a teaching aid than a gritty drama'". Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  15. ^ Stewart, Catriona (21 May 2015). "Television stars honoured at top awards". Evening Times. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  16. ^ Ferguson, Brian (15 November 2015). "Bafta Scotland awards: Barney Thomson scoops best film". The Scotsman. Retrieved 25 January 2017.

External links[edit]