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European-Muslim Cultural Dialogue - Germany Confrence

European-Muslim Cultural Dialogue - Germany Confrence

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Published by Noora
Germany has not focused much on the idea of integration, and only now does the country face the problems arising from this decision. On trying to fix it, the country has focused on superficial issues and had not engaged the Muslim immigrants' descendants in this process and this has created many misunderstandings.

On the 24th of May 2004, women from 18 different countries (Afghanistan, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudia Arabia, Sudan and Syria)have been invited for a discuss with the Institute of Foreign Relations in Germany about the role of women in the Islamic world and in Germany.
Germany has not focused much on the idea of integration, and only now does the country face the problems arising from this decision. On trying to fix it, the country has focused on superficial issues and had not engaged the Muslim immigrants' descendants in this process and this has created many misunderstandings.

On the 24th of May 2004, women from 18 different countries (Afghanistan, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudia Arabia, Sudan and Syria)have been invited for a discuss with the Institute of Foreign Relations in Germany about the role of women in the Islamic world and in Germany.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Noora on Aug 02, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/09/2014

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Conference
Women in the Islamic WorldMuslim Women in Germany
Berlin 24 May 2004
European-Muslim Cultural Dialogue
documentation
Role
modelsPositive
 
Preface
The question of how to deal with Muslim neighbours in European socie-ties continues to be a burning issue as recent events have clearly shown.Throughout Europe people are struggling to define their relationship withMuslim communities here as well as with neighbouring Muslim countries. InGermany, too, everybody is discussing Islam. However, one of the problemsof this debate both in Germany and Europe is that much time is spent dis-cussing Islam but not very much talking to people who are Muslims and whorepresent Islam. In Germany we tend to focus on superficial issues such asthe headscarf and emphasise aspects that are felt to be alien. This results inan unduly one-sided debate and produces a stereotype image of Muslimwomen. But is it not important to hear also the views of those who are thesubject of this debate? Muslim women in Germany and elsewhere – womenwith commitment, women who assume responsibility in many areas of pub-lic life, in politics, business, the media and civil society – are entitled to con-tribute to this debate. The example set by these women can inspire othersto follow in their footsteps.What is needed here are networks and fora that enable such women tomake their voices heard more clearly. That is why I invited a number of Mus-lim women active in a variety of fields in May 2004 to share with other parti-cipants and myself their hopes and expectations as well as their experiencesand views of the challenges and difficulties they face.The conference fostered contacts and established networks that enableparticipants to maintain a frank and open dialogue also over the years tocome.Dialogue with Muslims and on the teachings of Islam must not be used asa pretext to water down human rights obligations. Given the various inter-pretations of Islam in the individual Muslim countries and communities –whether traditional or modern, liberal or conservative – it is misleading toassume a priori that the teachings of Islam and equality for women are in-5
 
compatible. Many reform initiatives on the Wider Middle East are currentlyon the agenda. For Germany and for Europe, it is important that the Arabworld and other Islamic states take their problems into their own hands andproceed down the road to reform in line with their own ideas and possibili-ties, including women empowerment.I was impressed to hear the opinions and approaches to life of Muslimwomen who show commitment within their own society, who fight theirown struggle to find their role and place in their countries. They work, theypursue careers, they face similar problems to European women when itcomes to combining career and family. The fact that they are practisingMuslims does not prevent them from being conscious of the need forchange in their societies, nor from chosing their personal way of life in animpressively self-confident way.The exchange and dialogue with Muslim women from different parts of society continues to form a crucial part of the discussion about the ability of »Islam« to adapt to modern life. By the same token, the western countriesneed to learn how to accommodate the lifestyle and how to integrate thecultural contributions of Muslims living within their societies. An importantlesson learnt during the conference is that there will be no socio-economictransformation of traditional Muslim societies without integrating theother half of the population, women, into the reform process.
Kerstin Müller
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