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Muslim Women Gather for Muslim Feminists Conference


Muslim women from around the world are gathering in Spain Friday for a three-day conference focusing on the problems of Islamic law and family codes in the Islamic world. The Muslim Feminists meeting aim is to promote the rights of Muslim women.

The Barcelona meeting marks the second international conference of what organizers are calling Islamic Feminism.

The participants come from around the world, and many of them are well-educated women, versed in the Koran. They argue that the Muslim holy book and Islamic sharia laws do not put women on a lower footing than men. Rather, they argue, the religious doctrines have been misinterpreted by men, who offer a chauvinistic take on the texts.

The participants are particularly concerned about acts against women, such as domestic violence, discriminatory family laws and polygamy, which they argue have no place in the Muslim world. They will also talk about restrictive dress codes, family planning and female leadership.

Participants such as one woman, interviewed by France Info Radio in Barcelona, say the cause is all the more powerful, because these feminists are coming from the Islamic world - rather than the West.

The woman said the discourse of Muslim feminists like herself scares traditionalists far more than that of Western feminists, whose calls for equal rights can be dismissed by some Muslims as coming from another culture. Its more disquieting she says, when Muslim women are calling for fairer treatment.