Islam and violence against women. Thorny questions

22 February 2016

EFD Senior Fellow Valentina Colombo writes about "Aisha", a project denouncing violence and discrimination against women, promoted by the "Coordinamento delle Associazioni Islamiche di Milano Monza e Brianza (CAIM)", an Italian Islamic organisation ideologically linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and coordinated by Sumaya Abdel Qader, head of the department Youth & Students of the Federation of Islamic organisations in Europe.
While the initiative is commendable per se, Colombo argues, it is legitimate to cast doubt on the ideological mind-set of the organisers with regards to women’s rights and equality with men. The organisers' theological references are the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the International Union of Muslims scholars, which has issued misogynist fatwas and condemned the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against women (CEDAW) as prohibiting what is provided by Islamic rules, such as polygamy, authority of men over women, the right of husbands to use violence against his wife to impose such authority, et al.
The same concepts are repeated by Hamza Piccardo, a member of the European Muslim Network (directed by Tariq Ramadan), together with his son Davide, who is also the coordinator of CAIM. In his commentary on an Italian edition of the Quran, Piccardo reiterates that lapidation, polygamy and authority of husbands over wives (even enforced through violence) are indisputably part of Islamic law, and that women are not equal, but "complementary" to men.
Given these premises, Colombo concludes that one cannot but wonder which principles will inspire the Aisha project, which risks to turn into a "ghetto" for Muslim women where their rights will only be granted according to a conservative interpretation of Islam, thus excluding those who search for full protection outside the boundaries of religious law.

The article is in Italian and can be read here.