Logo SAVE - Sisters against violent extremism

23. Oktober 2007

Gruppenfoto Muslims and the West © E. Griedenbacher

f.l.t.r.: Ed Husain, Amr Khaled, Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Elisabeth Kasbauer, Parvin Ali, Edit Schlaffer, Zümrüt Gülbay, Farah Pandith, Ambassador Susan McCaw, Dato Seri Shahrizat Binti Abdul Jalil, Haifa al Kaylani

Muslims and the West: Living together but how?

A Women without Borders conference in cooperation with the US embassy Vienna and the US Mission to the EU.

The post 9/11 world is one of heightened awareness. From North America to Southeast Asia, populations of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds are more conscious of each other’s presence, and age-old fears of the ‘other’ have been revived. But these age old fears have no place in a world in which we work and live so closely together. Muslim populations of the US and Europe are no longer a minority.

But how involved are Muslim women in terms of numbers? How can Muslim women confidently participate and contribute to their societies and operate as a visible force for positive change? How can young Muslim males find their place alongside their female counterparts in a transforming society?
Encouraging the active participation of Muslim women in the public sphere will be one of the pressing challenges of the next decade.

With all these challenges, questions and hopes, we begin our expedition into the future, and notice that the waters upon which we sail can be rough.
This expedition begins at a crucial point in history. Only a few days ago, prominent Muslims went public in voicing their fears of the future, urging Christians to join them in establishing a world in which the two religions can peacefully coexist.

But are calls for mutual respect enough?

We also must consider the younger generation: the future. We should enable them to formulate their own solutions which they can identify with. Such competent young adults can help to shape an integrated, productive and peaceful Europe in the future.

So with this said, we set sail on the expedition. In order to travel safely, our tools must be words, not weapons.

We need to sharpen and polish these tools and must begin with asking the right questions.

This is why we are here today; to listen with an open mind, and to discuss critically, but fairly. If we fail to do this, feelings of frustration and exclusion will prevail and parallel societies will become the norm.

We have created a female-dominant panel because we believe women are bringing about change through words and meaning, not violence and weapons. Women have created a different landscape across the world and if Muslim and non-Muslim women are ready to build a sustainable alliance, they will be the driving forces of change in our societies. From Riyadh to New York, from Amsterdam to Ankara, the knowledge society becomes female. We must appreciate and make use of this new female talent pool – whether she travels in miniskirts, business suits, abayas or hijabs.

We cordially thank our speakers!

Shirin Tahir-Kheli; US State Department, Senor Adviser, Women´s Empowerment, Washington
Dato´ Seri Shahrizat Binti Abdul Jalil, Minister of Women, Kuala Lumpur
Haifa Al Kaylani, Arab International Women´s Forum , London
Ed Husain, author "The Islamist", London
Farah Pandith, US State Department, European and Eurasian Affairs, Washington
Parvin Ali OBE, FATIMA Network, Leicester
Zümrüt Gülbay, professor, German Muslim Summit, Berlin
Amr Khaled, Right Start Foundation,  Islamic Preacher, Birmingham
Manal Omar, OXFAM, Oxford

A detailed conference report will follow shortly.

Please click on the links below for some media reports:

"Zusammen leben, aber wie?" - "Living together, but how?"  Kurier - german
"Für Frauen-Power in der muslimischen Welt" - "For female power in the muslim world" Der Standard - german
The gender agenda - Ed Husain in the Guardian
One Man, Two Cultures. A British Islamist Steps Out.  From Edit Schlaffer
"Ich bin eine mediterrane Preußin" . "I am a mediterranean German" - Kurier


« Back to overviewSend a friend Print article