Are Women second-class citizen in Islamic countries?

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Women in Islamic countries remain, second-class citizens – unless there is a real revolution. Mona Eltahawy urges in her book ““Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution”, and in her lectures,  ( held worldwide to induce this revolution. She has traveled through the Islamic countries of North Africa to the Middle East collecting the life stories of women with different backgrounds. Mrs. Eltahawy wants to eliminate or at least continually lessens this “toxic mix of religion and culture” which infuses the whole Islamic world and continues her fight for Muslim women around the world despite the physical and psychological threat. Eltahawys points out in her new book that the repression of women is increasingly brutal: Humans in the name of Allah are abused, exploited, held without rights – simply because they are female, see,

Remarks from the Author:

Many years ago my neighbor was a young Muslim couple and the neighborhood voiced suspicion that the husband beats his wife. However, I could observe that the woman (she had no headscarf) was wearing the pants at home, and she screamed without being touched by her husband.By another Muslim couple (he Shiite and she Sunnite) the man forced his wife to wear a veil completely covering her hair and body and did not allow that a man was shaking her hand. Later I met her again without a headscarf and smartly dressed with much confidence. Because of the aggressive religious behavior of her husband she left him and joined an Austrian man from Tyrol. She told me that she feels now much worthier and has a better chance to get a good job. I know about two women, one with an elegant headscarf and the other without, –  but both always dressed elegantly-, enjoyed a higher diplomatic status in the Egyptian politics than their spouses, but it didn’t matter. During business trips and holidays in Egypt, I realized that not a few women are managers and among others supervised in hotels the cleaning staff including men. Many modern young women born in Austria, mostly well educated, didn’t wear a headscarf before, but now changed their mind: they want to emphasize their identity. My conclusion is that the problem is not the toxic mix of culture and religion alone, but the missing tolerance, empathy, and ethical education: Can it be learned in a short time to speed up the integration of young Muslim men?

The gender equality is an important goal of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and correlated with the other 16 SDG goals. I propose the dimension “culture and religion” to position as the fourth dimension in the middle of the “Triple Bottom Line“ triangle to indicate the relationships between this four dimensions.

Roland Leithenmayr VfV

ISIS Militants selling women and girls

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The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura reports about the inhumanity of ISIS militants selling women and girls as sex slaves to sheiks and fighters. Bangura told the that one girl who refused an extreme sex act was burned alive. Suicidal girls are stripped of their headscarves so they can’t hang themselves. Source: The world at a glance, The Week, June 5, 1015, Issue 722.

Sheik means for Austrians a man of vast power and nobility! So we suspect that the Sheiks bought the women and girls on the slave market to free them from fighters. The UN NGO Committee on Sustainable Development in Vienna/Austria would like to cooperate with those “Sheiks” to redeem the women and girls from inhumanity.

Austrians respect all religions and strive to understand their values and to build bridges. “On the ethical level, there are constants that make such bridge-building possible: … Thus, in all religious, philosophical, and ideological traditions there are simple ethical imperatives that remain of the utmost importance to the present day: You shall not kill – or torture, rape. Or in positive terms: have respect for life. Its a commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life. You shall not commit sexual immorality – or humiliate, abuse or devalue your partner. Or in positive terms: Respect and love on another. Its a commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women. Kofi Annan said in his Global Ethic Lecture in Tübingen in 2003: “But if it is wrong to condemn a particular faith or set of value because of the actions or statements of some of its adherents, it must also be wrong to abandon the idea that certain values are universal just because some human beings do not appear to accept them” (Hans Küng).

For me (the Author) applying the Golden Rule is useful for making any decision: What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others (human, animal, environment, etc.).  

Roland Leithenmayr VfV

Hans Küng, The Three Abrahamic Religions”, page 15, Bridging the Divide, Religious Dialogue and Universal Ethics, Papers for The InterAction Council, Foreword by Helmut Schmidt.