Muslim Women from Around the World Join a Leadership Program in Washington

July 23, 2007

Author: Mohamed Elshinnawi

Source: VOA News

A group of Muslim women from around the world is participating in a summer leadership program at the U.S Congress and George Washington University. The program is designed to educate the participants about legal issues and conflict resolution techniques with the aim of empowering Muslim women to promote peaceful change in their communities. Mohamed Elshinnawi has more.

At the opening of the program, 25 Muslim women from various countries listened to presentations about how Islamic law provides for principles such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to own property regardless of gender.

Seyyed Hossein Nasr -- a renowned scholar of Islam at George Washington University -- told the audience that violations of women's rights in many Muslim countries should not be blamed on Islamic law, but on undemocratic governments.

But he also said there needs to be a new conceptualization of the role of women in Islamic countries. "What we need is a kind of Islamic feminine movement, not feminist, to clarify, first of all, what are the Koranic and Hadith rights of Muslim women. Secondly, how Islam sees the function of women. They do not have to be like in the West. Nobody said that American women are very happy to be superwomen, doing ten things at the same time."