Women are not second class citizens

Brussels, 3. May 2017 - Conference on "Are women's rights in Islam compatible with modern society"


Brussels, 3. May 2017 - The European Human Rights Organisation IOPHR has attracted the attention of numerous womens rights organisations and policy makers with this event inside the European Parliament. The conference on "Are women's rights in Islam compatible with modern society" was sponsored by Spanish MEP Esteban Gonzáles Pons (EPP), British MEPs Julie Ward (S&D) and Anthea McIntyre (ECR) and Spanish MEP Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea (ALDE). We have compiled a series of interviews after and catches of some of the speeches during the event, which will be linked at the end of this article.

Speakers at the conference were Human Rights activist Mattie Heaven, MEP Julie Ward, former Scotland Yard Chief Detective Superintendent Gerry Campell, MEP Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea and the religious scholar Dr Mostafa Azmayesh. Keynote was delivered by MEP Pons who stressed the importance that women should be empowered to talk about this subject but men still need to support this cause. Mattie Heaven gave a personal report about how she grew up as a Muslim woman in the West. She experienced unequal treatment of men and women because of some misconceptions about "Islam" but living in the West still gave her the opportunity to find what the authentic and basic source of believe of Muslims, the Quran, said on the subject instead of believing in what clerics and religious authorities had made up, which she discovered were aspects of a patriarchal world opposing the principles of the Quran.

Discussion with the audience showed two lines of interest. One was the right interpretation of the Quran in contrast to what Muslims experience as Islam in their communities. The second was the question how to bring the authentic prinicples of the Quran into those communities that mistake their patriarchal life style and the values and traditions preceding the Quran as Islam and contribute to violence and extremism associated with Islam. 

Jonathan Lark, Edinburgh