November 30, 2006

Author: Naila Tiwana

Source: Muslim Wake Up!

In early November of 2006, the present day modern, cosmopolitan city of Barcelona, with its parallel Andalusian character, exuding undeniable cross-culture vibrancy, buzzed with the intellectual powwow of “Islamic Feminism”.

The Congress of Islamic Feminism was founded as a movement by the Islamic Board of Catalan. The Islamic Board of Catalan is the Spanish federation of Islamic institutions. It was born out of the need to have a unified organisation which could look into matters of import facing the Muslim community in Spain and also in the world at large. Its main aim is to adopt a significant social approach, which it deems, will promote better social behaviour. It wows to struggle against the biases and misconceptions plaguing Islam. It nurtures a multi-cultural and multi-religious approach to promote a peaceful understanding of Islam, so vital for the lifeline of humanitarian values to be kept intact.

The Congress of Islamic Feminism called together voices from all over the globe to express solidarity with its cause the first time last year. The resounding success that it encountered after its first congregation led to the second one now in November in an expected course of many successive ones to follow. The organizers candidly admitted not having envisioned such a snowball effect in its popularity. The phenomenal response that it received just goes to show the intensity of its need and relevance today. The head of the Islamic Board opined, “The denial of women’s rights leads to the necessity of Islamic feminism. Islamic feminism is a movement within the framework of Islam.”

The multi-cultural voice of Islam was represented by an equal diversity of ethno-cultural representation in the form of speakers at this forum. From the Americas in the West to Indonesia in the East, the cream of academics in the field of Islamic issues, came together to deliver, debate, and analyze related theories and practice in the greatest and widest of perspectives. The only driving need to do this in the words of Naeem Jeenah, a South African scholar and human rights activist, is “Why do we do Islamic Feminism? We do it for Allah. For many of us it is not just an academic struggle; it is for the sake of the suffering of fellow-Muslims. People want Islamic answers.”