Women Empowerment at Doha Forum Finale

hot debate of women's empowerment in the Muslim world dominated closing session of the US-Islamic World Forum with participants divided whether Western women should be a role model for their Muslim peers

Women Empowerment at Doha Forum Finale

"Women empowerment and liberalization do not mean that we should follow the western model. We are first Muslims, and we can't give up our identity," said Mariam Bibi, an educationist who is running various schools in Pakistan.

"I am a liberal woman, but I can't be like French. I can't forego my indigenous identity," Bibi said.

Bibi said Muslims as a whole had lost trust in western culture, which in fact was totally different than theirs.

"When Muslims watch western movies, which are full of violence and sex, then they think that there would be naked women all over on the streets in America or Europe, and that the west wants to introduce the same culture in the Islamic world," said Bibi.

"Being a working woman, I have this firm believe that our women can't digest the western model of liberalization as after all we are Muslims, and we have our own

"We while working for women rights must not challenge the local culture, rather we should make inroads for us with our indigenous cultures, otherwise the people
will never accept any change, no matter it is positive," she added.

Held this year under the slogan "Confronting What Divide Us", the US-Islamic World Forum is organized by the Qatari government and the American Brookings Institution.

The three-day forum, which closed Monday, brought together more than 230 dignitaries from the US and more than 34 Islamic countries to discuss a plethora of issues that expanded this year to cover problems facing Muslim minorities in the West.

Western Ideology

"It is not Islam that prohibits women empowerment, but this is the current despotic political system in all over the world," said Mahdi. (IOL Photo)

But Rola Dashti, Chairperson of Kuwait Economic Society, sees western ideology as far as women are concerned is the best way to empower women in the Muslim world.

"We, the women rights activists, are considered anti-Islam, and anti -patriotic because we are bringing the western ideology of active women participation in the public life," she said.

"Though, we have won the war against extremists in Kuwait and various other Arab countries as women are now educated and advanced there, however, I fear if women are not empowered and provided equal share in the policy making process, they will loose the war they have won," she added.

Rola said Islam was being misused by extremists who believed that women had no right in nation building, and they were only meant for raising kids, sex and staying back at home.

"I don't understand why religion is being included in every matter. If we have to advance and progress, we have to stop the inclusion of Islam in politics and
government affairs," she added.

However, Sadiq Al-Mahdi, a former Prime Minister of Sudan, said Islam should not be blamed for women's disenfranchisement.

"It is not Islam that prohibits women empowerment, but this is the current despotic political system in all over the world whereby even men are marginalized. Only a group of exploiters, whether men or women, is empowered," he said.

Veteran journalist and Al-Hayat's columnist Jihad Khazen, said women advancement and their education was the only achievement in the Arab world during last ten

"I don't agree with those who think that Arab women are totally neglected and deprived," he said.

But he said one cannot force women to be "liberal" or engage in politics as they should do it their ways.

"Many women who were studying with me at (Egypt's) Cairo University used to wear mini-skirts, but now they ask their daughters to wear hijab or veil and don't work," he said. "What can governments do in this regard. We can't force them."

"This could be surprising to us but we should think that why those women who used to wear mini-skirts, don't prefer that for their own daughters."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16